Barclays making a splash
Recently, Barclays has been trying to compete with the big boys (Chase, Amex, Citibank) by increasing sign-up bonus on the Arrival World MasterCard to 40,000 points or $440 in travel, and keeping the NFL card at $400 for longer than usual. Maybe Barclays is overcompensating for the eventual loss of the US Airways card, which seems to have constantly changing offers. Check out the sickdeals page to stay current on the US Airways card.
Competition amongst the banks is good for us. It means we will have options and, hopefully, lucrative sign-up bonuses when it’s time for an App Party or just time to add a card that fits your personal travel needs.
I like Barclaycards because it gives me a break from Chase, Amex, and Citibank, AND they usually pull Transunion during the application process. My Transunion report is pretty spotless.
The Lufthansa Premier offer
Also, the Arrival card comes with a minimum spending requirement of $1,000, the NFL card comes with a spending requirement of $2,500, and the US Airways card comes with a first purchase requirement to receive the sign-up bonus. I personally find these Barclaycards to be better options, but you may already have them or want to work towards a Lufthansa premier cabin ticket (who doesn’t).
The $79 annual fee isn’t waived, but you shouldn’t have any issue getting $79 of value out of 55,000 (after the spending requirement) Lufthansa Miles & More award miles. Good news–> you will still receive the 50,000 offer if you’re approved for the lower level Lufthansa card. There’s no bait and switch maneuver here like many other Barclaycard products. That’s a win and definitely something to consider.
There’s a link on Flyertalk for the Lufthansa 50,000 offer with a lower spend requirement of $2,500. It appears you run the risk of being approved for a lesser version that has a lesser sign-up bonus (5,000). If your credit report is low on inquiries this is a better offer.
What to do with Miles & More award miles?
Lufthansa is a part of the Star Alliance, which means you can use their loyalty program “Miles & More” award miles to fly partners in the alliance. However, they will add fuel surcharges to all airlines, except United and US Airways, while traveling within the States/Canada. If you aren’t a member of Miles & More, sign up here.
Here’s the Lufthansa award chart so you can check it out. You can fly domestic routes on United/US Airways for 25,000 points round-trip in economy or 35,000 in business/first. You would get two round-trip tickets with the 50,000 points sign-up bonus from the Lufthansa Premier card.
That’s nice and all, but I’m really only interested in flying First and Business Class on Lufthansa if I’m going to be earning their miles. Check out my last trip report in Lufthansa First. What can I say, I love their pretzel rolls.
There will be fees and surcharges when using the Miles & More award miles to fly premier Lufthansa flights, but they are worth it, in my opinion. It’s 85,000 Miles & More award miles (plus fees) to fly Lufthansa First one-way, or 170,000 miles for a round-trip ticket. Hefty, but adding 55,000 miles from the Lufthansa Premier card is a great starting point.
You can also top off your Lufthansa Miles & More account with SPG points earned from stays or the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card or Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Credit Card from American Express. You will get a 5,000 bonus for every 20,000 transferred, so you have options.
Lufthansa doesn’t release First class flights to their Star Alliance partners until a few days before departure. This won’t work for most people who have to plan their trips out months in advance. But booking with Miles & More award miles through Lufthansa’s site will give more opportunities to book those coveted First Class flights. Similar to booking Singapore premium flights through their KrisFlyer loyalty program.
I like seeing increases in sign-up bonuses. Makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. The Lufthansa Premier card won’t be for everyone, but if you’re aspiring for Lufthansa First or want two domestic flights on United or US Airways then this card could make sense for you.
Don’t forget about the other Barclaycard options out there either. One thing is for sure, Barclays is stepping up their game and that’s a good sign.
(Disclosure: I receive a referral credit for some of the cards mentioned in this post. Thank you for the support if you decide to apply through the blog.)
— Geoff Whitmore