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Note: Some of the offers mentioned below may have changed or are no longer be available. You can view current offers here.


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

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Booking a United flight with Lufthansa miles is extremely easy. I just booked myself a one way ticket from Honolulu to Chicago for 20,000 Lufthansa Miles & More miles + $2.50 in eight minutes.

I was using miles I had gotten by opening the Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 on the card in the first 90 days. (Hurry: this offer expires June 30, 2014 and will presumably be replaced by the standard offer of only 20,000 bonus miles.)

Using Lufthansa miles to book United flights within the Western Hemisphere is one of the best uses of Lufthansa miles because those flights incur no fuel surcharges, just low government taxes from $2.50 per segment.

Plus for many routes within the Western Hemisphere–including between the mainland United States and Hawaii–Lufthansa charges fewer miles than United for the exact same flights.

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  • What United award space can you book with Lufthansa miles?
  • How did I search for the award space?
  • How did I book the award space?
  • How did I select seats on the United flight?
  • Why was booking with Lufthansa miles better than booking with United miles?

Award Search

Lufthansa miles can be used to book Saver award space on any United flight.

I searched for Saver award space on the direct flight from Honolulu to Chicago on united.com because United award space is not searchable on Lufthansa’s website. (How to search united.com.)

Remember Counter-Intuitive Truth #1: Where you search for award space is NOT related to the miles you are using to book the award.

The direct flight has plenty of economy award space in October and November (yellow days), but no business or first class space.

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Booking

I selected a date with space and wrote down the date, flight number, and cabin of the flight with Saver award space to book it by calling Lufthansa at 800-581-6400 between 8 AM and 8 PM ET.

This phone call took only eight minutes. I fed the agent the information and she informed me the flight would cost 20,000 Miles & More miles + $2.50. United would have charged 22,500 United miles + $2.50 for the same flight.

The helpful agent even let me pick out a seat on the flight. It’s rare that an airline can select a seat on a partner. This was a nice perk of using Miles & More miles. If you book a Lufthansa flight with United miles, the United agent cannot select a seat for you. It takes a separate phone call to the operating carrier of the flight.

Then the agent gave me two confirmation numbers. The Lufthansa confirmation number can be used to change or cancel the ticket, since Lufthansa is the issuer of the ticket. The United confirmation number can be used to check in on the day of the flight since United is the operating carrier.

I also used the United confirmation number to search united.com for the reservation and then to save it to my page of reservations on united.com.

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Why Book This Flight with Lufthansa Miles?

Remember Counter-Intuitive Truth #2: The miles you should use for an award are not related to the carrier you plan to fly.

Lufthansa miles are better than United miles for this United flight because Lufthansa charges fewer miles and has a lower cancellation fee.

United would charge 22,500 United miles for this flight in economy. Lufthansa charges 20,000 Lufthansa miles.

United would charge $200 to get my miles back if I cancelled. Lufthansa will only charge $60.

Lufthansa Offer Expires June 30, 2014

After meeting the minimum spending requirement on the Lufthansa card, you’ll have 55,000 miles. That’s enough for a roundtrip to Hawaii on United flights with one way in First Class (including on routes with flat beds in First Class, see this trip report.)

Premier Miles & More® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus miles

  • 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®

Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

Just getting started in the world of points and miles? The Chase Sapphire Preferred is the best card for you to start with.

With a bonus of 60,000 points after $4,000 spend in the first 3 months, 5x points on travel booked through the Chase Travel Portal and 3x points on restaurants, streaming services, and online groceries (excluding Target, Walmart, and wholesale clubs), this card truly cannot be beat for getting started!


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