How I Got Approved for the Lufthansa Miles & More Card After Two Calls to Reconsideration

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Update 12/17/13: The 50k mile offer is dead. All Lufthansa card links in this post go to the following offer:

  • Earn up to 35,000 award miles with qualifying transactions
  • 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
  • Complimentary Companion Ticket after first purchase, then annually thereafter
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members

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Last week, I applied for the The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard.

I had never paid too much attention to the Lufthansa Miles & More program until a few weeks ago when this card temporarily bumped up its sign up bonus from 20,000 to 50,000 miles. After a quick look, I identified Six Great Uses (and Two Bad Uses) for the 50,000 Mile Sign Up Bonus.

But when I went to apply for the card, I was not instantly approved online. I know the drill when not instantly approved. I called Barclay’s reconsideration department. The first agent declined my application. I called back, and I was approved!

Why This Card

A card with a 50,000 mile bonus offer grabs my attention. When I learned I could use the Lufthansa miles for flat bed business class on US Airways or LOT to Europe without fuel surcharges or within the US on United and US Airways, I knew that the card would be worth my while.

Making the card doubly worthwhile was the fact that the card is put out by Barclay’s, which doesn’t have many good rewards cards–though at the moment has three worth getting.

If you haven’t already seen my Miles & More primer, here is the best introduction to the program anywhere.

Application

When I apply for a card, there are two possible outcomes in my mind: an immediate approval or an immediate call to the bank’s reconsideration line. I’ve said before that I believe that “reconsideration line” is a bit of a misnomer. Most of my calls last only a few minutes and require simply re-answering questions already on the card application.

To prove how easy they can be, here’s a video of Rookie Alli calling Citi to get approved for the Hilton Reserve card.

These are the numbers I’ve successfully used for reconsideration calls:

American Express (866) 314-0237
Barclay’s (866) 408-4064
Chase (PERSONAL) (888) 245-0625
Chase (BUSINESS) (800) 453-9719
Citi (800) 695-5171
US Bank (800) 947-1444

I applied for the Lufthansa card and, getting a Pending message, immediately called the card’s issuer: Barclay’s.

The agent was very polite. He reviewed my income and a few other questions from the application, then he placed me on hold to check my credit report. He came back and told me that my credit report showed a high number of inquiries related to new account openings and asked me why that was.

I explained that I had recently moved, so I had wanted to open a few cards related to the airlines and hotels I was newly loyal to. Since I assume his worry was that I was opening a lot of cards to max them out and not pay, I pointed out that my usage of my credit lines was low and that I always paid in full every month.

He thanked me for my answer, then asked about my history with Barclay’s. He noted that I had very little spending on my US Airways card. (He didn’t note that until recently I had two US Airways cards, both with very little spending.) I responded that I didn’t think the US Airways miles were very rewarding because right after I got the card, US Airways announced its miles couldn’t be used to redeem for Lufthansa First Class. For that reason, I wanted the Lufthansa card to fly Lufthansa First Class.

He thanked me for my answer, but he said that at the moment Barclay’s couldn’t extend me any more credit. Translation: application denied!

I’m a solutions person ;) so I said I didn’t need more credit. I would be interested in moving some credit from my US Airways card’s credit line or closing that card entirely.

He said that wasn’t possible. He thanked me for my business and suggested I would have a higher chance of success in the future if I generated more of a history with my US Airways card of spending on it and paying it off.

At this point, I made my best decision of the day: I thanked him and hung up.

I didn’t argue. I wasn’t rude. I didn’t say I was never going to use Barclay’s again, and that I was pulling out my $10,000,000 deposit from his bank. I didn’t want him to notate my application when I suspected another agent might see more value in my business.

Then I applied the number one advice related to frequent flyer miles: “hang up; call back.”

On my second call, I got another friendly agent. He asked me the same exact questions. I gave the same answers. He put me on hold to look at my credit report and came back with the same questions about recent inquiries and my usage of my US Airways card. I gave him the same answers.

And voila! I was approved for the Lufthansa Miles & More Card.

There are a few lessons:

  1. Hang up; call back. That’s not just for redemptions. It works for any situation where an agent has power.
  2. Reconsideration agents have power to approve or deny your application.
  3. If you plan to hang up and call back, make sure you end the failed calls politely.
  4. Barclay’s (and US Bank) are the strictest banks about not liking to see recent inquiries on your credit report in my experience.

Now that my card will arrive in the mail any day now, I just have to spend $5k in three months to amass 55,000 Lufthansa miles! What will I do with them?

I’m not sure. It will depend on future needs, but the likely options are:

  • Three one way flights on lie flat beds from New York to Los Angeles or San Francisco on United.
  • A roundtrip in business class on LOT to Poland using a Mileage Bargains deal with no fuel surcharges.
  • Get a few more miles to fly Lufthansa First Class out of Frankfurt in order to enjoy the First Class Terminal.

Have you had a similar experience with reconsideration calls? What tips do you have for success?

Recap

It took two calls, but I was approved for the The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard with 50,000 bonus miles!

Application Link: The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard

 

28 Responses to How I Got Approved for the Lufthansa Miles & More Card After Two Calls to Reconsideration

  1. After being denied for the World Arrival card, I called reconsideration line yesterday and was denied, despite 20+ year positive credit history and score of 820 (which Barclays nicely included on my denial letter). I asked for no new credit, only that credit be moved from my one existing Barclay’s card. Inspired by this post, I just called again. DENIED AGAIN! So frustrating!

  2. Using the rules that MMS posted today, it seems this award would only cost 35k for economy:

    SJO-DFW (Stop)
    DFW-ANC (Destination)
    ANC-DFW (Stop)
    DFW-ANU (Open Jaw)

    I live in DFW so I’m essentially getting a OW from SJO and a OW to ANU for an additional 10k (since a domestic RT is 25k). For the purposes of this example I ignored the segment restrictions. Also, I still have another Open Jaw to use.

    Our vacations are usually limited to long weekend trips because of work so we like to limit travel time and something like this seems great for us.

    What do you think?

  3. Also, I have had the US Air card since last June. I was about to cancel the card but I want to apply for another US Air card before the merger. Should I keep my original card or cancel before re-applying?

    Also, do you think I could get the Lufthansa card if I applied on the same day? I know you use to be able to churn the US Air card pretty easily and apply for multiple Barclay cards on the same day but it seems the data points are not consistent lately.

    Thanks!

    • Jessica, I just passed my anniversary with USAir card #1, and hadn’t even seen the AF yet (thought the 10k miles posted). I apped for a 2nd card and was instantly approved last week.

  4. So how many recent inquiries did you have? To me, that’s the key piece of info – and the rest of the post is effectively useless without it.

  5. I was asked the same question on my last round of apps. I was still approved, but it made me wonder if I should space my apps out a little more than 91 days. (I’ve only done 2 rounds of apps…still new to this) I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one being asked questions and how to deal with it if I’m turned down.

  6. That FCT terminal is going to cost you an arm and a leg in surcharges and miles. And it is not all that , specially when you have old German businessmen looking down on you….like you dont belong there !

  7. Darn! My husband and I got approved for the Lufthansa card, but I just realized a hotel we’re staying at soon is a member of the Choice program and Barclay’s has a good Choice credit card. We were both denied for that one because we’ve gotten the Lufthansa cards so recently. Spouses might want to split these two.

  8. I want to apply for the Lufthansa card that expires at the end of June but I just got a Barclays US Airways on 03/01/2013. When I got it they only gave me $600 of credit. My present credit score is 743. In your expert opinion should I apply​?

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  10. i was denied the frontier card a few months ago. i only have two other cards with barclays and 700+ credit score. they said the same things to me as they did your first call (too many inquiries, not enough barclays spend). i was very polite and hung up and tried back. i’m pretty sure i got a different voice the second time, but rep #2 mentioned outright that i had just called and been denied and that wasn’t going to change. i pretended i had just forgotten to say something about why i wanted the card but they weren’t having it.

    i was shocked by this; i’ve never had trouble with reconsideration in the past, so this was very discouraging. now i’m scared to apply to another barclays card…

  11. @Stephen– this morning my wife applied and was instantly approved for the Lufthansa card. She applied for and was approved for the US Airways March 10, so similar time parameters as what you were looking at. However, for purposes of the data point, keep in mind March was her first real batch of applications so she has no more than 4 inquiries over the last 6 months, though 4 over the last 3.5. She also has been putting more spend on the US Airways card this past month to meet the targeted 15k offer.

  12. My husband applied for the US Airways card and was approved for it. He did not receive the 30K Bonus Miles because he had already a US Airways card for less than a year which he used very little. When I called, the agent explained that he had already received the 30K Bonus Miles on his first US Airways MC. Is there a way round it?

    • I haven’t heard of this happening. I have only heard of people successfully getting two cards. I’m sorry to hear this, and thanks for sharing. As for your question, I don’t see a way around what the agent said, but you can always try calling again.

  13. Pingback: Hurry, The Lufthansa Card 50,000 Mile Sign Up Bonus Ends Today | milevalue.com

  14. I applied for my husband for the Lufthansa Miles and More credit card with Barclays. He was denied while mine was reconsidered and granted . I called for reconsideration for his LH card and was told he had applied and had cancelled too many credit cards with Barclays (2 currently open and 2 closed over the years.) I called back the next day and spoke to a different agent who gave me the same answer, plus he knew I had called the day before and had spoken to a different agent.
    The same happened to me with my US Airways MC application. The Barclay agent knew I had opened and closed 4 US Airways credit cards since 2007 and that I currently had one US Airways Business MC card, one Princess Cruises Visa card and the LH card. Same thing, I called back the next day and was told that I had spoken to “Agent Sarah” the day before, and there was nothing the agent could do to grant the US Airways MC despite a 780 credit card score.
    Should I call a third time? They do seem to have records how often you call for reconsideration. I hate to lose the 50,000 LH Bonus Miles for my husband or the 40,000 US Air bonus miles for myself. Any words of advice?

    • If they have records of the previous call, the chance of success looks slim. Calling can’t hurt though.

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  18. I am right in the middle of this now and would like your advice. I have a US Air World Elite card with a credit limit of $32,500, credit score of 820 – never a late payment on any accounts. There is only one credit inquiry on my report with Chase for a United Card back in July. At that time, I was denied because I had to put down only my income which is part time. That was because of the CARD Act and its repercussions for spouses who do not have enough income to qualify on their own. I researched it and realized that although that law was amended, credit card companies had 6 months to legally comply – Nov. 4th – so I waited until now to apply for another card. In the meantime, United devalued their awards so opted not to apply for Chase card.

    With US Air exiting Star Alliance and current Miles & More offer, decided to apply for Miles & More card, but was not given instant approval. Per advice, I called the reconsideration line, but the application hasn’t hit the system, yet. I inquired as to why I might not have been immediately approved and was told it could be due to having US Air card with high limit. I asked if it was possible to have both cards and redistribute the credit between the two. She said that might be something they would consider, but also I might have to close US Air card. I really want to keep both, if possible, but more importantly I want to be approved as I don’t want to have two inquires on my history without a new card. She suggested I call back within the next day or so.

    I got nervous when I read another post about someone who was denied with a similar FICO score and history. Why would that happen and how do you suggest I handle this to maximize my chance of getting card? My husband recently applied for a store credit card and was immediately approved and when I applied for the Miles and More I put our combined income, as did he with the store card. Any thoughts? Suggestions?

    • You have a good chance to be approved. Call back Monday and see if they have the card in the system. Say similar things to what I said in this post.

      • I just got off the phone with them and they still can’t see my application. They encouraged me to go online and reapply, but at this point I’m not sure I’m still interested.

        I am inclined to pass on it and wait until a better offer comes along, but I am concerned that this might show up on my credit report and look like it was declined. The rep at reconsideration said it didn’t look like the application went through because I applied on Friday and it should have showed up by now. However, to me it looked like it did, but then said I wasn’t immediately approved.

        What do you think?

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  20. Thanks, I guess what I was asking is whether it was still worth getting the card. I’m looking for another Star Alliance card and can’t decide whether to dive back into this or switch and look at United. Both carriers leave from my airport which is currently a US Air hub. I’m looking for a program that offers one way awards and a card that has no foreign currency fees. Can you comment on this?

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