The Barclaycard-issued Miles & More World Elite Mastercard has the same rewards structure as many other co-branded airline cards. It pays 2 award miles per $1 on flights booked directly with Miles & More airline partners. This includes Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Swiss, and all 28 Star Alliance airlines. Although the card has an annual fee of $89, if you fly a lot within Europe this could work out well for you.
The card’s annual companion is good for a round-trip Economy class ticket departing from the U.S. to either Europe, the Middle East, Africa or the Far East on any Lufthansa-operated flight. It’s a guaranteed two-for-the-price-of-one ticket abroad every year (although you do still have to pay taxes and fees like with any other companion fare offer). Sounds wonderful right?
While the companion ticket could save you hundreds of dollars each year, you’ll have to allow for some flexibility. For one, you can only book a paid flight with a fare base code of H, M, Y, & B class to be eligible to use the companion pass. Not every economy class ticket will fall under one of those fare codes and you could possibly end up paying more for your ticket than someone who books a ticket under a different fare class. Further complicating matters, you can only book your paid ticket and the companion fare by calling Lufthansa’s Miles & More Companion Ticket Service number.
The sign-up bonus with this card is where it really shines. Earn up to 50,000 award miles – 20,000 bonus miles when you make an initial purchase and pay the annual fee, and an additional 30,000 award miles after you make $5,000 in purchases in the first 90 days. Round-trip economy award flights start at 50,000 miles and a one-way upgrade from economy class to business is also 50,000 miles, so this bonus could be worth several hundred dollars depending on how you use it. You can use the miles on any of the Miles & More airline partners.
It’s important to note that the companion fare ticket cannot be upgraded using miles.
At Bankrate we tend to favor cards that offer more flexible rewards. Cards like the Barclaycard Arrival Plus, the Capital One Venture, and the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card offer similar annual fees but far greater flexibility in earning and redeeming miles. They don’t offer a companion fare every year so you’d have to crunch the numbers to see what best fits your travel patterns.