December 3rd, 2013
Update: The Lufthansa 50K card offer is slated to end December 15, 2013.
Several DDF members as well as commenters on this post are reporting that Barclays has agreed to waive their $79 annual fee by just calling and asking them to, so if you have gotten the card already definitely give them a ring!
Originally posted on 10/17/13:
Barclays bank has several great credit card offers. Best of all they typically pull from your Transunion credit report. Most banks pull from Experian though this does vary by state. If you are NJ or NY based you shouldn’t have almost any credit pulls on your Transunion report if you don’t have Barclays bank cards.
If you are denied you can call reconsideration at 866-408-4064.
-The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard offers 20K miles for spending $1 and another 30K miles for spending $5,000 within 3 months. This means you’ll have 55,000 miles after meeting the spend threshold.
The card has no foreign exchange fees.
What can you do with the signup miles? Lufthansa miles have a few sweet uses:
3 one-way domestic first class flights on United:
You can fly on Star Alliance partner United in domestic first class for just 17,000 miles each way with no fuel surcharges. United flies many flights between JFK or Newark and Los Angeles or S. Francisco that have lie-flat seats in business class. Plus you can still order hot kosher meals on these routes in business class! United charges 25,000 of their own miles each way for these seats, so you’ll save 8,000 miles each way via Lufthansa.
Remember to book one-way flights as a round-trip business class is 35,000 but they charge half the price and round down for one-way so it’s only 17,000 each way.
You can also always transfer 20,000 Starwood points into 25,000 Lufthansa miles if you need more miles. Which means that the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express actually can earn you more points per dollar spent than the Lufthansa card. Though the Lufthansa card is great for the signup bonus and for the lack of foreign exchange fees.
4 one-way coach tickets:
A one-way coach ticket within the US on United or USAirways will run 12,000 miles.
Business class to Europe:
Business class to Europe is 52,000 miles each way and there are no fuel surcharges on USAirways (which has a very nice lie-flat Envoy Suite in business) and Lot Polish (which flies 787s with an excellent lie-flat business class to Warsaw.)
Coach to Israel:
Coach to Israel is 40K each way and business class is 67K each way, again with no fuel surcharges nonstop on USAirways from Philadelphia.
Business to Hawaii:
Business class to Hawaii (including lie-flat seats on most flights from Houston, Newark, and Washington DC) is just 35,000 miles each way when booked with Lufthansa miles flying on United or USAirways with no fuel surcharges. That’s a 10,000 mile savings on a round-trip flight. Coach is 20K miles each way.
The only current way to book Swiss First Class is with Miles & More. I flew it a few years ago when it was still bookable with partner miles and it was fantastic. However it’s quite pricey now at 85,000 miles plus fuel surcharges each way. You’ll have to act quickly as Swiss First has to be ticketed in 2013, come 2014 it will be blocked to non-elites.
Lufthansa First Class has significantly better availability when booked with Miles & More as opposed to programs like United.
There is also better availability on other airlines like Singapore’s top-notch business class when booked via Miles & More as opposed to programs like United.
Barclays cards can be churned, so you can always start saving up for a big trip.
-The Barclaycard Arrival World Mastercard offers 40,000 points for spending $1,000 within 90 days. This is advertised as a limited time offer though the end date is unknown.
At 2.2 percent it’s one of the best cashback cards out there and it offers a nice signup bonus unlike the other cashback cards.
The card gives 2 “miles” for every dollar you spend plus a 10% refund when you redeem miles so that you effectively earn 2.2 “miles” per dollar spent. The 10% refund means that the 40,000 points signup bonus is really 44,000 points as you’ll get 4,000 of those points back after you redeem the points for a cash refund. Of course when you redeem those 4,000 points you’ll also get a 400 point refund, etc. The 10% refund posts within 1-2 weeks of making a redemption.
Miles is a misnomer, really they just mean cents with each mile being worth 1 cent. The way it works is you book travel via any booking site and then you can just go online to your Barclays account and request that the purchase be refunded using your points. You can refund any purchase that is categorized as “Airlines, Travel Agencies & Tour Operators, Hotels, Motels & Resorts, Cruise Lines, Passenger Railways and Car Rental Agencies.”
So if you spend $420 on a plane ticket and have 42,000 points from opening the card and spending $1,000 you’ll be able to get a $420 cash refund.
2.2% cash back on all of your spending is excellent, but still I personally prefer real airline miles over bank miles due to their versatility. However this card is probably the best you’ll get for bank miles and it can make sense for people who don’t travel or who redeem for coach tickets that are purchased in advance.
-The no annual fee version of the BarclayCard Arrival World Mastercard also has no foreign transaction fees which is great for a fee-free card. It has a 20,000 point signup bonus that will also receive a 10% point refund with every redemption. But it only earns double points on travel and dining purchases.
You are able to book a refundable travel itinerary to get your points converted to 2.2% cashback without actually needing to travel. After redeeming to cash out the points you can refund the itinerary and pocket the cash for your points.
-My affiliate link for the USAirways card offer 30,000 miles for spending $1 however if you go through this link without a landing page (which I have not personally tested but others have) it should give 35,000 miles.
USAirways will soon marge with American and these will be convertible to valuable American miles. In the meantime there are several sweet spots on the USAirways award chart like off-peak awards and on the Star Alliance award chart like 90,000 miles in business for a round-trip to Asia or 110,000 miles in business for a round-trip to Australia.