Update July 1, 2014:
The current offer on the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is 20,000 miles after first purchase and payment of $79 annual fee.
- 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
- Annual Companion Ticket after first purchase
- No foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines and other partners
- $79 Annual Fee, waived for SEN and HON Circle Members
For a limited time, the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® is offering 50,000 bonus Lufthansa miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. With the bonus plus the spending, you’d have 55,000 Lufthansa miles in your account.
Conveniently Lufthansa Mileage Bargains Awards allow for 55,000 mile roundtrip business class awards to Europe.
The catch is that the awards have the standard taxes and fuel surcharges that other Lufthansa awards to Europe have, so these awards are not for everyone.
- How do you search for Mileage Bargains awards?
- How do you book Mileage Bargains awards?
- What are the fuel surcharges?
- What airline partner offers the lowest fuel surcharges?
- What Lufthansa planes have the best business class?
Finding Mileage Bargain Routes
Head to the constantly-updated Mileage Bargain page. There are currently 186 Mileage Bargain possibilities.
I always sort them by the cabin I want–roundtrip economy is 30k miles and roundtrip business is 55k miles–and by airline.
At the bottom of the page, I ask for 64 results to be displayed at once for quicker viewing.
Now you can look through the list for airlines and destinations that interest you. Keep in mind:
- LOT Polish Airways has by far the lowest fuel surcharges of any Lufthansa partner at $60 each way and a great business class on its 787 Dreamliners that fly to the United States. This should be your top option, but there are no LOT Mileage Bargains right now.
- Brussels and Austrian both have fully flat business classes on all flights to the United States. Here is my review of Austrian Business Class and its onboard chef.
- Most Mileage Bargains will be on Lufthansa. Not all Lufthansa planes offer the New Business Class with fully flat beds. All 747-8s, which fly to Chicago and Washington, do. For other plane types, wait until you get to the seating map and compare it to SeatGuru.
Each of the 186 Mileage Bargains lists an acceptable origin(s), destination, date of booking, date of travel, and cabin of travel.
Those bookable right now all must originate in Chicago, New York, or Washington DC. New Mileage Bargains will be posted on June 1 with new possible origins.
When you find a Mileage Bargain that looks good, click Book.
Booking a Mileage Bargain
You will be taken to the standard Miles & More award search screen, which is fine, since the Mileage Bargains are automatically coded into results.
I searched for a September roundtrip from Washington-Dulles to Athens. I got a color coded map with the following legend, so I was looking for gray-shaded days.
Gray days were wide open in September on the route, as is usually the case with Mileage Bargain awards.
I selected dates and was given multiple possible itineraries. Again, I had to look for those with gray color coding. I selected a Thursday to Sunday 10 day trip with convenient flight times and it priced out at 55,000 miles + $994.87.
By clicking on any flight number, you can see the operating aircraft, so I could confirm that the return is on a 747-8 with flat bed business class.
The other way to confirm whether you have flat bed seats or not is to look at the seat map during seat selection.
Match up the seat map on your flight with the version of that plane on Seat Guru to see if you have a New Business Class or Old Business Class cabin on your plane.
Mileage Bargain tickets are non-refundable and cannot be changed. This is made clear during booking with the following chart.
Don’t book Mileage Bargain tickets if your travel plans aren’t set.
Are Mileage Bargains Worth the Fuel Surcharges?
For some people, Mileage Bargains are a great deal even with $1,000 out of pocket, and for others Mileage Bargains stink.
It comes down to how much you value business class, how much money you have, and what your other options are.
Value of Business Class
Say you value a roundtrip in business class to Europe at $2,000. With Mileage Bargains, you can get one for 55,000 Lufthansa miles and $1,000. That’s almost 2 cents of value per Lufthansa mile. That’s fantastic.
Say you value a roundtrip in Business Class at $1,500. A Mileage Bargain award gets you less than 1 cent of value per Lufthansa mile. That’s terrible.
To get the value for your trip, use the Mile Value Calculator. Aim for 1.5+ cents of value per Lufthansa mile.
How Much Money You Have
A lot of people got into the miles game precisely because they don’t have $1,000 to spend on a plane ticket. For those people, not matter how many cents per mile they’re getting, paying $1,000 out of pocket on a Mileage Bargain will never be a good deal.
Some people got into the mileage game because they have the money for an economy trip, but not a paid business class trip, which they’d prefer. These people should look very hard at Mileage Bargains.
What Your Other Options Are
The exact roundtrip above can only be booked with Lufthansa miles because Lufthansa doesn’t release all of its award space to partners. But to book similar trips, when Lufthansa does release space to partners, you could spend:
- 140k United miles + $152
- 105k TACA/Avianca LifeMiles + $152
United miles you can get easily from any credit card that earns them or Ultimate Rewards. LifeMiles you can usually buy for 1.5 cents each.
So depending on how much cash you have, how easily you can earn miles, and your valuation for each type of miles, the Mileage Bargain and its extra $850 in fuel surcharges could be a better deal or not.
Comparison to Upgrade
Paying $1,000 plus 55k miles for a roundtrip business class award as a Mileage Bargain kind of looks like an upgrade to me. Imagine the $1,000 was the cost of the cash ticket and the 55k miles was the upgrade fee.
That looks like a very good deal to me as an upgrade, especially compared to what other airlines charge for upgrades.
For instance, if you tried to upgrade a $1,000 roundtrip to Europe with United miles, you’d pay 40k miles + $1,100 more!
The bottom line on Mileage Bargain awards is that they are cheap with miles but expensive with cash unless you can find a Mileage Bargain that flies LOT Polish Airlines. (I sure hope such a Mileage Bargain is added next week when the list refreshes.)
For some people 55,000 miles + $1,000 for roundtrip business class to Europe is a steal; for others it’s a stretch. Do the math for your situation.
Mileage Bargains are but one way to spend the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®‘s huge 50,000 mile sign up bonus. Other great ways include surcharge-free flights in domestic First Class, to Hawaii, and to South America.
- Earn 20,000 award miles after your first purchases or balance transfer
- Earn an additional 30,000 award miles when you spend $5,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening
- Earn 2 award miles per $1 on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 on all other purchases
- Cardholders receive a companion ticket after first use of the account and annually after each account anniversary
- No Foreign transaction fees on purchases made outside the U.S.
- Redeem miles for flight awards and upgrades on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance member airlines and on other partners
- $79 Annual Fee. Please see Terms and Conditions for complete details
Application Link: Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard®