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

 

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