Earn 50,000 Miles with the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard

Mar 11, 2016

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Update: The original version of this post listed Miles & More as a transfer partner of Membership Rewards. While Miles & More does partner with American Express, it’s not possible to transfer points between the programs.

If you’re looking to book a domestic premium-class award on the cheap or want to score a coveted Lufthansa first-class redemption, this sign-up bonus could be for you. Currently, you can earn 50,000 miles with the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard from Barclaycard — 20,000 miles after your first purchase and payment of the annual fee ($89), plus another 30,000 after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Read on for more information about this offer and the card’s benefits, along with an analysis of whether this option makes sense for you.

As a refresher, Miles & More is the loyalty program used by Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and SWISS. For most points and miles enthusiasts, the opportunity to use these miles on Lufthansa — especially in premium cabins — will be the main attraction.


Here’s a rundown of the Miles & More World Elite MasterCard’s main benefits:

  • 50,000 miles — Earn 20,000 miles after your first purchase and payment of the annual fee, plus an additional 30,000 miles when you spend $5,000 in the first 90 days.
  • Earn 2 miles per dollar spent on ticket purchases from Miles & More-integrated airline partners and 1 mile per dollar spent on everything else
  • Receive 2 complimentary vouchers for the Lufthansa Business Lounge annually
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $89 annual fee

TPG values Miles & More miles at 1.4 cents apiece, so earning the full 50,000-mile bonus gets you $700 in value — though, depending on how you redeem that haul, the miles could be worth significantly more.

Is It Worth It?

First class on the Lufthansa 747.
First class on the Lufthansa 747.

Not everyone needs a Lufthansa co-branded credit card, and given the relatively high spending requirement to get the full bonus, you might be inclined to skip. However, there’s a peculiarity to the Miles & More program that could make this card a good choice.

Lufthansa generally doesn’t make its first-class award space available to partners (including fellow Star Alliance member United) more than about two weeks in advance, so unless you have a ton of flexibility, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to snagging a seat up front. Having miles banked with Lufthansa’s Miles & More program makes it possible to book a first-class award further out from the departure date — and given the rave reviews this premium product has received from various members of the TPG team, it’s worth splurging for this redemption at least once. Paying out of pocket for Lufthansa first class round-trip from the US to Europe will usually run you $10,000 or more, so this is a great option for really putting your miles to work.

Make sure you build in a stop at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal if you book a first-class award!
Make sure you build in a stop at the Lufthansa First Class Terminal if you book a first-class award!

With Lufthansa’s award chart, a round-trip flight in first class from North America to Europe costs 170,000 miles, so this card’s sign-up bonus alone won’t get you a long-haul ride at the front of the plane. Lufthansa first class isn’t the only worthwhile redemption, though. With the Miles & More award chart, a domestic round-trip in business costs just 35,000 miles, so you could use the 50,000 miles to redeem for a United business award within the US plus an additional one-way award.

Finally, there are a few other nice perks, including the two annual lounge passes and an annual companion ticket eligible for economy flights. The Lufthansa Business Lounge is nowhere near as fancy as the airline’s exclusive First Class Terminal, but it’s better than nothing when you don’t have other options through your status or a premium-cabin ticket. Plus, as a World Elite MasterCard, this product offers holders a range of benefits including car rental discounts and carrier perks through the World Elite Air Program.

Bottom Line

If you’re hoping to book a first-class award on Lufthansa, having the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard can certainly come in handy. Not only does the 50,000-mile sign-up bonus give you a nice boost toward the redemption, but it also gives you earlier access to award space so it’s easier to plan a trip in advance. The bonus is also enough for a premium-cabin domestic round-trip on United, and additional benefits like two Lufthansa Business Lounge passes per year sweeten the deal.

The 2 miles per dollar on Miles & More-affiliated flights also makes this card a solid option for select airfare purchases, but you should still turn to another card such as the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.

How would you use 50,000 Lufthansa miles?

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