****50K point offer is expired. NOW bonus is 20K +15K w/ balance transfer*****
June 30th was your last chance to earn 50,000 Lufthansa Miles & More Miles before the sign up bonus returned back to the typical 20,000 point threshold. There are a number of reasons to get this card, as I laid out in my earlier post. But more importantly this is a chance to earn big points with an airline program that many US resident may have overlooked in the past.
The Miles and More Program is a diamond in the rough with its perks and rough edges, you just have to know how to navigate the program and avoid the fuel surcharges as much as possible! I’ve done some research for you and hope some of this advice will help.
Travel to Asia:
If you are going to use the Miles & More program to get to Asia, you will pay a slightly higher price in miles than other programs, but you will also have MORE award space on Award Partners to choose. United, Singapore Air, Thai, Asiana, ANA, EVA Air, Air China, and Air Canada all fly from the USA to Asia from North America. United & US Air mile programs often have difficulty booking Singapore Air tickets, especially in business class and first, but Miles & More members tend to have an easier time!
|North Asia||South East Asia|
|Miles & More||80k/135k/210k||80k/135k/210k|
As you can see, trips to Asia are slightly more costly when cashing in Miles & More miles, but if done correctly, you will also have a better experience. For example, Award winning Singapore Airlines Business Class is usually blocked to United, Aeroplan, & US Air. To search business class availability on SQ mule over Avianca’s LifeMiles website, if you see business or first class availability call Lufthansa and ask to book it. Usually Lufthansa can book anything you can view on the LifeMiles website, the same does not hold true for other frequent flyer programs.
Most Airlines Partners traveling between North America & Asia will occur a fuel surcharge between $200 and $300.
Travel to Europe
For many people, the sole purpose of the Lufthansa Miles & More program is to travel to and from Europe. With a number of airlines traveling to and from the United States who are direct Miles & More partners + a number of Star Alliance partners, Award travel to Europe has never been easier! Miles & More members have first dibs on Miles & More Air redemptions, leaving Star Alliance members the leftovers. Thus meaning, your next trip to Europe is easier than ever!
Lufthansa operates 31 routes between the USA and Canada to Europe including 17 to Frankfurt, 10 to Munich, and 4 to Dusseldorf
Swiss Air Operates 8 routes between North America & Zurich & 1 between Geneva & NYC
Austrian operates 4 routes between North America and Vienna
LOT Polish Air operates 4 routes between North American & Warsaw
|North America to Europe|
|Miles & More||50k/105k/170k|
Miles & More Gateway Cities
Avoiding Fuel Surcharges
The downside to most European Mileage programs (including this one) is the fuel surcharges, but by following a few simple steps you can easily avoid these fuel surcharges, or at least decrease them when cashing in your Miles & More Frequent Flyer Miles.
1) If traveling to Europe Avoid Lufthansa and Swiss
Both airlines offer a great in-flight experience (check out my business class trip report on the Lufthansa 747-8i or my Swiss Air business class trip report JFK-GVA) but you’re going pay for it in fuel surcharges when using the Miles & More program! Instead book a trip via LOT or US Air and enjoy low to no fuel surcharges! Not to mention US Air Envoy class is rated pretty darn good!
2) Book two one-way segments: You can save hundreds on your fuel surcharge by booking two one-way segments (especially in business class and first class).
3) Check out this Flyertalk thread regarding Miles & More Fuel Surcharges. It provides great insight on typical fuel surcharges
4) Fly via Brazil – Yes it’s a LONG ways to go to avoid a fuel surcharge, but the Brazilian government has made it illegal to charge fuel surcharges on flights departing from Brazil! But if you don’t have a Brazilian Visa already, this could negate the cost of the fuel surcharges.
It is very difficult to avoid the Fuel surcharge altogether when using the Miles & More program, but with enough research one can avoid or reduce the tariff! Million Mile Secrets has done extensive research on the Miles & More Program and gives examples of fuel surcharges on almost every Star Alliance partner. Be sure to check out his post for more examples.
Overall, the Miles & More program is a decent program with some perks (Like only 50,000 miles to Europe instead of the typical 60k!), but the fuel surcharges can be painful. Be sure to use your miles wisely and look at all options before agreeing to pay inflated fuel surcharges. In addition, if you are taking advantage of this lucrative sign up bonus and do not get an instant approval for the card, be sure to check out my Barclay’s Tip & Tricks post
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