Full Review of Miles & More World Elite Mastercard
Strong one-time offer
Companion tickets after first purchase and on card anniversary
0% APR balance-transfer offer
$89 annual fee
- Strong One-Time Offer: With this card, you can earn 50,000 Miles & More bonus miles as a new cardholder, provided you spend $3,000 in the first three months after opening an account and pay the $89 annual fee. With those miles worth a 2.16 cents each, by our valuation, the bonus is valued at about $1,080 when redeemed for airline tickets on Lufthansa or its Miles & More partners.
- Companion Tickets After First Purchase and on Card Anniversary: You get a complimentary Economy Class ticket for a companion after making your first purchase on the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard, and on every card anniversary after that. You must, however, pay the taxes and fees on these complimentary tickets, which can be steep. Also, the accompanying cardholder must purchase their ticket, rather than using miles to redeem.
- 0% Balance Transfer Offer: The card comes with an option to pay 0% APR for 15 billing cycles on balances transferred to the card. This is a relatively strong offer, even if purchases are not also eligible for the rate, as with some cards, and you must pay the customary transfer fee of $5 or 3% of the balance, whichever is greater.
- $89 Annual Fee: This card offers fairly generous bonuses, and this fee is lower than some other travel credit cards. Still, its rewards are adequate at best, especially when it comes to purchases other than those on Lufthansa and its partners. This card may not be ideal for you if you travel only occasionally, or simply prefer not to pay an annual fee.
This Card is Best For
Seeks to maximize points or miles earnings across spending categories
Flies often for business or leisure
Dines out regularly while traveling or in home city
Travels outside of U.S. on occasion or frequently
The Miles & More World Elite Mastercard is best suited to travelers who want to earn rewards and bonuses on Lufthansa and its eight Miles & More airline partners, and who otherwise plan to use the card sparingly. That’s because purchases from Miles & More carriers earn two points per dollar spent, and all other purchases earn just a single point. In contrast to some other airline cards, then, the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard has no other bonus rewards categories, such as spending on other travel, gas, or groceries.
For travelers who are carrying a sizable balance on another card, the 0% APR offer provides another incentive to apply for the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard. Even after accounting for the transfer fee, you could easily save hundreds of dollars in interest if you transferred a four-figure balance to the card—and paid it off by the time the 0% APR 15-month period expired.
Miles & More World Elite Mastercard One-Time Offer
This one-time offer for the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard is 50,000 award miles. To qualify for it, you need to spend $3,000 within the first 90 days of opening their account and pay the card's annual fee.
According to our valuation, miles earned with this card are worth an estimated 2.16 cents apiece when used for flights. So the bonus could be worth a generous $1,080 in tickets on Lufthansa or its eight partners.
Rewards Earning Details
Here's a closer look at how the rewards program works for this card, including how many miles you can earn and where.
When you purchase tickets directly with the card’s nine Miles & More airline partners, you earn two miles per dollar. Those miles are unlimited, so the more you spend each year the more award miles you can earn.
Here are the current Miles & More travel alliance airlines with which you can earn 2 miles per dollar spent for purchases on the card:
- Air Dolomiti
- Austrian Airlines
- Brussels Airlines
- Croatia Airlines
- LOT Polish Airlines
- Swiss International Airlines
You can also earn one mile per dollar on all other purchases, regardless of the category or merchant. These miles are also unlimited.
Rewards Redemption Details
Miles earned with this card can be redeemed for award flights and upgrades with the integrated Miles & More airline travel partners listed above. That includes regular award travel and special award flights.
We value miles earned with this card at 2.16 cents each when used for flights. As examples of the cost of award flights, an economy flight between European destinations starts at 35,000 miles. But you'd need a minimum of 60,000 miles to book an economy ticket between Europe and North America.
At the higher end of the spectrum a First-Class Round the World fare could require as many as 500,000 miles.You may also use miles for hotels and rental cars, although offers seem to be focused on Europe and the few disclosed rates are high—like Porsche rentals in Germany “starting at 83,000 miles per day.” You can also buy gift cards from such retailers as Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and The Gap, but as with most credit cards, these appear to offer a poor redemption value—with miles worth only about a third of a cent each.
Miles & More offers a miles calculator you can use to determine how many miles you'll need to book an award flight.
You also have the option to convert award miles earned by flying (not from bonuses) to status miles at a 5 to 1 ratio, to a maximum of 25,000 award miles per year. This option could allow a Miles & More flyer who, say, falls 12,000 status miles short of earning the 35,000 such miles required for Frequent Traveller status (the lowest elite tier) to trade in 4,000 award miles earned from flying to reach that status. That elite tier allows you to earn additional miles per dollar spent as well as other benefits.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
Maximizing rewards with this card begins with ensuring you spend the $3,000 in the first 90 days that’s required to earn its one-time offer of 50,000 miles. After that, use the card for all purchases from Lufthansa and the eight other small carriers on which you earn the best rewards on this card.
Here are two scenarios to give you an idea of how many miles you could earn with the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard, and what those rewards might be worth.
This assumes you’re a fairly frequent traveler on Lufthansa who, due to its modest rewards on all other purchases, uses the Miles & More World Elite Mastercard only to purchase flights. Your total spending is $5,000 a year, on which you'd earn 10,000 award miles (at the rate of 2 miles per dollar spent). At 2.16 cents each, these miles rewards could be worth $216 in travel value.
Now, let’s instead assume you’re a road warrior who flies twice as much as our average traveler, again on Lufthansa, and uses the card for non-flight spending as well. You charge $10,000 in airline tickets per year, then, and also use the card for $10,000 in everyday purchases. That spending would earn you 30,000 rewards miles: 20,000 from receiving 2 miles per dollar spent on the Lufthansa flights and an additional 10,000 from the everyday spending, from receiving a mile per dollar spent on those purchases. With each mile worth an estimated 2.16 cent when used for awards flights, those rewards would be worth $648 (30,000 miles times $0.0216 per mile). You also meet the minimum spending requirement to qualify for the introductory bonus as a new cardmember.
Neither scenario includes the card’s bonuses. The first year, you’d receive 50,000 bonus miles worth $1,080 in flights if you spend $3,000 in the first three months with the card. You’d also earn a complimentary companion certificate after making your first purchase with the card. That companion-pass benefit—easily worth hundreds of dollars—will also recur every year after you pay the card’s annual fee. The same applies to the card’s two annual complimentary passes to Lufthansa Welcome Lounges, which are worth $35 each.
Miles & More World Elite Mastercard’s Outstanding Benefits
- Complimentary lounge access: Receive two complimentary Lufthansa Business Lounge access vouchers each anniversary year.
- Companion ticket: Receive a complimentary companion ticket each anniversary year (taxes and fees apply).
- Achieve status faster: Convert award miles to status miles at a 5 to 1 ratio, to a maximum of 25,000 award miles per year.
- Hotel and rental car discount: Receive up to 15% off eligible hotel and rental car purchases made with your card.
- Chip technology
- No foreign transaction fee
- Account alerts
The Miles & More World Elite Mastercard is issued by Barclays, which received a rating of 806 in J.D. Power's 2019 U.S. Credit Card Satisfaction Study. That puts in line with the average satisfaction rating for national carriers, which was precisely 806.
If you need help with your card or have questions about your account, customer service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can get help by phone or manage your account online and through the Barclays mobile app.
This card has the standard security features you'd expect in a travel rewards card. That includes chip technology and the option to set up account alerts to monitor card activity.
The Miles & More World Elite Mastercard is likely the best bet out there for charging flights on Lufthansa, and perhaps the card's other travel partners, too, which are small European carriers. The card has an $89 annual fee, but that can be justified—and more—by the value of the complimentary annual companion ticket, which essentially allows you a buy-one/get-one-free option every year. In addition, the initial companion certificate you get from using the card for the first time, plus the 50,000 points you receive by spending $3,000 in the first 90 days, add value that can further justify carrying this card.That said, this card is a dubious value if you don’t often fly to Germany or some of the countries where Lufthansa’s other partners for this card are based, which include Austria, Croatia, Poland, and Belgium. You’d be better off choosing a domestic co-branded airline card that provides international destination options that potentially rival those of Lufthansa. Alternatively, you could choose a general travel card on which you might earn more on a range of purchase types, and have greater flexibility and value when it comes to redeeming those reward points for international travel.