Update 6/30/2014: The current welcome bonus has been reduced to 35,000 miles. All links in this post go to the following offer:
Application Link: Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®
- Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchase or balance transfer
- Earn up to 15,000 award miles with balance transfers (1 mile per $1 transferred) within 30 days of account opening
- Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners
- Earn 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
- Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
- $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members
There is only one week remaining to sign-up for two limited time bonus offers: the Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®® 50,000 mile offer and the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express 30,000 point offer.
Both of these offers are ending on June 30, 2014 and only come around once or twice a year, if you don’t apply for them now you will likely have to wait until the next time they come out later this or next year.
50,000 Mile Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®
Until June 30, 2014 the Lufthansa Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first 90 days. This offer is among one of the only credit card offers that is worth a free round trip flight to Europe!
The welcome bonus is normally 30,000 miles on the Miles & More® Premier World MasterCard®, but currently you can earn 50,000 miles. Over the last several years, Barclays has increased the welcome bonus on this card twice a year, once in June and again in October. So, if you don’t apply now you will likely have to wait until the Fall for the higher bonus to be offered again.
This is a great credit card to get for anyone that wants to book awards with stopovers, since Lufthansa has some of the most generous stopover and open jaw rules.
Best Ways to Use the 50,000 Lufthansa Miles
Lufthansa’s award chart has some sweet spots that make using these miles even more valuable.
In short, the 50k Lufthansa miles are worth 2 round trip economy flights within the continental US, 3 First Class one-way flights on United within the continental US, a one-way Business Class flight to Europe from Dallas for 55,000 miles, or a round trip economy flight to Europe from the US for 50,000 miles.
You’ll also get access to much better First and Business Class award space on Lufthansa, Austrian and SWISS, but it costs a lot!
1. 2 Round Trip Domestic Economy Flights for 25,000 Miles Each
You can fly entirely within one country (continental US) for 25,000 miles round trip in economy. You won’t pay any fuel surcharges when you fly on United within the Continental US or Canada.
If you want to fly to Hawaii it only costs 40,000 miles round trip in economy, which is also a great use of the miles and 5,000 miles cheaper than using United miles.
2. 3 One-way First Class Flights within the US for 35,000 Miles
It’s only 17,000 miles and only $2.50 in taxes (no fuel surcharges) to book a First Class one-way flight within the US on United. This includes flights from the mainland US to Alaska, but excludes Hawaii and the Virgin Islands. This means you can get a First Class one-way flight on United’s flat bed premium service flights between LAX/SFO and JFK.
This is 7,000 miles cheaper than using United miles. You get booked on United First Class when you book a Business Class level award for 35,000 Lufthansa miles, which makes using Lufthansa miles for flights within the US a valuable proposition.
3. 1 Round Trip Economy Flight from the US to Europe for 50,000 Miles
A round trip economy class ticket originating in the US to Europe is only 50,000 miles. This is 10,000 miles cheaper than most other US-based carriers, including American Airlines and United. You can fly on Lufthansa, SWISS or Austrian, but you’ll pay more in fees than booking on Polish LOT (no fuel surcharges!).
Remember, you can book one-way awards with Miles & More and you get a stopover in each direction. This means when you book using one-way awards you can visit 3 European destinations on one round trip for 50,000 miles. Plus you can add an open-jaw.
4. 1 Round Trip Economy Flight to South America for 60,000 Miles
You can book a round trip economy ticket to South America for 60,000 miles. When you book flights on TAM, TACA, and Avianca you won’t pay fuel surcharges. You also have the flexibility of adding stopovers in each direction, but you cannot stopover in another region.
Get More Lufthansa Miles by Transferring SPG Points
Lufthansa Miles & More is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest. You can transfer any Starwood hotel points you earn from the Amex SPG personal and Amex SPG business credit cards to Lufthansa. If you need to top off your account remember you’ll want to transfer in increments of 20,000 points so you get the 5,000 extra bonus miles.
30,000 Point Starwood Preferred Guest American Express
Right now the welcome bonus on the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express card is 5,000 points higher than the normal 25,000 points. Currently the offer is for 30,000 SPG points after you spend $5,000 within the first 6 months. American Express tends to offer this increased welcome bonus once a year during the summer.
If you have been thinking about getting this card, it’s a great time to apply and earn an extra 5,000 points above the standard bonus offer. The current rule with Amex is that you can only earn the welcome bonus once per card, so if you have had either the personal or business version of this card you can still apply and earn the bonus on the other card offered.
Also remember that if you currently have an Amex SPG card you can refer a friend and earn 5,000 Starwood points for each friend that signs up for the card.
Best Ways to Use 30,000 SPG Points
Starwood points are among the most valuable hotel points, and you can get a huge value from them for both hotel stays and flights. You can transfer Starwood points to many valuable airline programs at a 1:1 ratio.
The SPG award chart starts at 2,000 points per night for a weekend award night at a category 1 hotel. This means with the 30,000 points you could get a maximum of 15 free nights when used for weekend stays.
On the other hand if you want to stay at a top-tier property the welcome bonus could be worth a one night stay at a category 7 property at 30,000 points per night.
The Bottom Line
There is only one week left to apply for the increased offer on both the Miles & More Premier World MasterCard and the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express. Both of these cards are offering a limited time welcome bonus that will end on June 30, 2014.
You can earn 50,000 Lufthansa miles with the Miles & More Premier World MasterCard from Barclays and use the points for a round trip economy flight to Europe or two round trip economy flights within the US! Plus, Lufthansa miles offer some of the most flexible stopover and open-jaw rules which can add a ton of value to your award flights.
Likewise, the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express is offering up to 30,000 points after spending $5,000 within 6 months as a welcome bonus until June 30, 2014. Both the personal and business versions of the card are offering the increased bonus. This is a great time earn 5,000 additional points above the standard 25k point offer.
Starwood offers an incredible value for hotel stays or transferring the points to airline programs. The award chart offers great value for weekend stays and award redemption at lower category hotels.
If you want to add more miles to you Lufthansa miles account you can transfer the 30,000 Starwood points to get 35,000 Lufthansa miles. Grabbing both of these cards is a easy way to earn 85,000 Lufthansa miles to go towards a great award!