Lufthansa Miles & More Diners Club and MasterCard Review
With the loss of the MBNA Miles and More credit card back in July, I thought it would be useful to explore the alternative ways you can continue to earn Miles & More miles (Lufthansa’s loyalty programme) and whether sticking with a branded Lufthansa credit card or switching to an alternative card provider gives best value. As you may have read in the press recently Lufthansa recently launched a new credit card.
Let's break this post down...
The Old Lufthansa Credit Card
If you previously held the MBNA-branded Lufthansa Miles and More card you will likely have been switched across to the new Horizon MBNA credit card instead (reviewed here). With MBNA concerned that they are going to lose a significant number of card users, the benefits of the Horizon MBNA card are good to say the least. You’ll receive:
- 0.5% cashback on all spending
- No foreign exchange fees
- Free cash withdrawals
This is all very well but unfortunately won’t allow you to take to the skies and experience that world-renowned, first class Lufthansa experience.
If you’re new to Miles and More and didn’t manage to sign up to the previous Miles and More Card Lufthansa or you’re looking to replace that historic MBNA Miles and More credit card then you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out why you may actually be better off with an alternative to the recently launched Diners-Club-branded Lufthansa Miles and More credit card.
The New Miles & More Global Traveller Card
Ok, so let’s start by looking at the new recently released Miles and More credit cards. These have been issued by Diners Club, a brand which has been in the credit card industry for a long time but in recent years has had limited presence in the UK market. As a result there are very few places that accept Diners Club cards.
Note that these cards are charge cards and as such must be repaid in full at the end of each month. The Diners Club and MasterCard Miles and More card combo comes with an annual fee of £79.
Sign-Up Bonus – Lufthansa Credit Card
The new cards come with a reasonable, current sign-up bonus of 10,000 Miles & More miles which is triggered on first payment. This drops down to 5,000 miles from 31 December 2018.
Another reasonable perk with the new Miles and More credit card combo is that you’ll receive one voucher to access a Lufthansa lounge. Note that this is only a business lounge pass so unfortunately you won’t be able to try out the exceptional offering at Lufthansa’s flagship Frankfurt First-Class lounge.
Other Benefits of a Miles and More Credit Card
The cards actually have a very good ongoing earnings rate of 1.25 miles per £1 spent which for a MasterCard (and Diners Club card) is exceptional. Only one other MasterCard earns a higher rate which is the Virgin Flying ClubReward+ Credit Card – reviewed here at 1.5 miles per £1 spent, however it comes with a higher annual fee of £160 pa.
With the Diners Club card you can also access over 800 airport lounges internationally at a cost of £15 per visit. This would be similar to the free American Express Gold Card which comes with a Lounge Club pass (£15 per visit – recently increased to £20 per visit) and with the added benefit of 2 free passes per year.
One final benefit of the new Diners Club Miles & More credit card combo is that by using this card once a month, you can actually prevent your Miles & More points from expiring. These would ordinarily expire after 3 years so if you have a large amount of points, it may be worth paying the £79 annual fee just to prevent those points from expiring. It should be noted that you need to have had the Miles & More credit card combo for at least 3 months before your miles are automatically protected.
Using Points Earned from a Miles and More Credit Card UK
Opportunities to redeem Lufthansa miles for flights within Europe are poor to say the least. An example of this would be a return flight from London to Frankfurt which with BA would use 9,000 points and cost £35 compared with a staggering 35,000 points and £80 from Lufthansa.
So why would you want to earn Miles and More miles? Well where Miles & More tends to excel is with long-haul Business-Class and First-Class flights. Business-Class flights between the UK and say Miami would set you back about 110,000 Miles & More miles per person, however it’s possible to redeem for half this amount if you use the deals page (found here). That said, even 110,000 points for a couple is a significant amount of miles and as such the new Miles and More credit card UK is really only suited to high spenders (£10k+ per month) or those who already have a high balance of Miles and More points. If you’re looking to earn enough points to redeem a First-Class flight with only a low average spend per month you may find my First Class review interesting.
Best Alternatives for the UK Lufthansa Miles & More Credit Card
I thought I’d break this section down slightly.
Ok, for those who have decided that they would like to move away from a Lufthansa Miles and More card but would still like to earn Miles and More miles, what’s the best option?
- The only alternative option offering a decent earnings rate to a Miles and More credit card would be the Starwood Preferred Guest American Express credit card (reviewed here). The card allows you to earn 3 Starwood points per £1 spent, which can then be converted directly to Miles & More at 3:1. If you transfer in chunks of 60,000 points you get a further 5,000-mile bonus making the earnings rate on this alternative Lufthansa Miles and More card approximately 1.25 mile per £1 spent. There is also a decent sign-up bonus of 30,000 points or 10,000 Miles & More miles – this can be increased to 11,000 miles by using this link. The card comes with a roughly similar fee to the Diners Club Lufthansa card at £75 pa.
- Another alternative and free method, would be to sign up to the American Express Gold Card (reviewed here). NOTE that this method is slightly trickier as you cannot transfer directly from the American Express Gold card to Miles & More. You will earn 1 reward point per £1 spent on the Amex Gold card and a further 10,000 point for signing up (or 12,000 if you use this link). These can then be transferred to Starwood Preferred Guest at a rate of 2:1 and then onward to Miles & More. As such you’ll only be getting 0.5 Miles & More miles for every £1 and a bonus of 5,000 miles. HOWEVER, it should be noted that this card is free for the first year and as such could provide a possible alternative for those who would rather use a miles-earning Lufthansa credit card UK without paying an annual fee.
How about those who don’t have a particular preference as to which airline they earn miles with?
- The best all round credit card has already had one mention in this review… The American Express Gold card (reviewed here) which is free for the first year, has an exceptional sign-up bonus of 10,000 reward points (12,000 if you use this link) and an ongoing earnings rate of 1 point for every £1 spent. You’ll also gain two free passes to 350 international lounges. Rewards points can be used with:
- Asia Miles
- British Airways
- Air France
- Scandinavian Airlines
- Singapore Airlines (my favourite!)
- Virgin Atlantic
- Regular readers may have seen some recent coverage on the new Virgin Atlantic Reward MasterCard (reviewed here) and MasterCard Plus. Similarly to the loss of the MBNA Miles and More card, the Virgin MBNA card has also been cancelled. As such, Virgin have launched high-earning free and premium cards. The free version of the card comes with a total sign-up bonus of 5,000 and a good earnings rate of 0.75 miles for every £1 spent. The Premium card (reviewed here) with an annual fee of £160 pa benefits from a 15,000 mile sign-up bonus and an incredible 1.5 mile for every £1 spent. These can only currently be used on Virgin Atlantic (KLM coming in 2019).
Summary – Miles and More Credit Card UK
We’ve hopefully established that just because the MBNA Miles and More credit card closed over the summer, Lufthansa haven’t just been sitting on their hands and have recently launched a Lufthansa Miles and More card combo comprising of both a MasterCard and a potentially unusable Diners Club card.
The new combo Miles and More Card Lufthansa comes with a strong earnings rate of 1.25 Miles and More mile for every £1 spent and a reasonable sign-up bonus of 10,000 points which offsets the annual cost of the card at £79 pa. One exceptional benefit of the cards is that on the basis you use the cards at least once per month, you can protect your existing Miles and More miles from expiring – a significant benefit if you have 100,000-plus miles.
If you’re new to collecting miles or would not spend that much on the Miles & More credit card then I’d suggest these cards are probably not the best in the market for you. If you fall into this category then I really would recommend the free American Express Gold Card which will offer both flexibility to redeem on various airlines and a great sign-up bonus of 10,000 points (12,000 if you use this link).
Please do share this Lufthansa credit card review with anyone who you think may find it useful.
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