This card can offer value if you’ll use rewards to fly with Lufthansa and its partners, can capitalize on perks like the companion pass and airport lounge vouchers, and are familiar with reward limitations.
Intro APR on balance transfers
No foreign transaction fee
Has annual fee
Needs excellent credit
Compare to Other Cards
17.24%-28.24% Variable APR
21.49%-28.49% Variable APR
0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers
Recommended Credit Score
Recommended Credit Score
Detailed review: Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®
The Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®, Lufthansa airline’s loyalty-program card in the U.S., has potentially valuable benefits if you have specific needs — for example, if you want to regularly fly where Lufthansa and its Miles & More partners can take you, which generally means Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
But the card comes with significant downsides. Among them: a lack of useful bonus-spending categories, which limits how quickly you can rack up reward miles. And potentially steep taxes and fees on award tickets devalue rewards you earn.
A potential upside is the card’s annual companion ticket, essentially a buy-one/get-one deal on an economy class ticket for a traveling partner. But on that “freebie,” you have to pay the taxes and fees, which can be hundreds of dollars.
Overall, unless you have a specific need to fly Lufthansa or its partners, you might skip this card because it doesn’t keep pace with the best airline credit cards from major U.S. carriers.
Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®: Basics
Card type: Airline.
Annual fee: $89.
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 award miles if you spend $3,000 in purchases and pay the annual fee, both within the first 90 days.
Rewards rate: Earn 2 award miles per $1 spent on ticket purchases directly from Miles & More integrated airline partners and 1 mile per $1 spent on everything else.
Companion ticket: Annual economy-class companion ticket. Taxes and fees apply.
Lounge access: Two one-time-use Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers annually.
Intro APR on transfers: 0% intro APR on balance transfers for 15 billing cycles, then an ongoing APR of 21.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99%, Variable APR.
Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Foreign transaction fee: None.
Credit score required: Excellent.
» MORE: NerdWallet's best airline cards
Benefits and perks
The primary cardmember is eligible for an economy class companion ticket after using the card a first time and on the cardmember anniversary every year after. You must book by phone. The potential catch is that the companion ticket is subject to restrictions and taxes and fees, which can raise the price considerably. Besides sometimes hefty taxes, a companion pass comes with a weekend surcharge, generally $60 round trip, for example.
Book award flights on Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, SWISS, Star Alliance airlines — including United Airlines in the U.S. — and other partners. Taxes and fees are not included and could be quite costly for some redemptions. In fact, the card’s terms and conditions say taxes, fees and carrier charges could total hundreds of dollars. You can also redeem miles for hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise and gift cards, among other redemption options.
Lounge passes. Cardholders get two free one-time-use Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers annually.
Convert to elite-status miles. Convert award miles earned on purchases into elite-status miles. Once every year, you can convert 5,000 to 25,000 award miles at a 5-to-1 ratio. For example, 5,000 award miles converts to 1,000 status miles. For reference, the loyalty program’s lowest elite status, called Frequent Traveler, requires 35,000 status miles.
Travel discounts. Get up to 15% off hotel bookings and car rentals.
Drawbacks and considerations
As with most airline loyalty programs, Miles & More can be confusing and will take effort to use well. And you’re locked into using awards on Lufthansa and its partners, as opposed to awards on general travel cards, which can erase a wide variety of travel expenditures.
Far simpler is the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel. Earn 2 points per dollar on most purchases and redeem points towards any travel expenses charged on the card. The annual fee is $95.
Double miles for Lufthansa-related spending and a single mile per dollar for everything else is lackluster for use in everyday spending, such as buying groceries, dining out or filling your vehicle’s gas tank. At least the double miles rewards apply to more than just flying Lufthansa, including direct Miles & More partners: Adria Airways, AirDolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Eurowings, LOT Polish Airlines, Luxair and SWISS. Still, it’s not a line-up of airlines popular with most Americans.
No one likes to pay an annual fee, but it can be worthwhile if you get enough benefit from a credit card every year to easily compensate for it. The fee on the Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® is $89.
This card earns bonus rewards in a variety of popular spending categories, including dining and travel. You can transfer points on a 1:1 basis to about a dozen airline and hotel programs or you can use them to book travel through Chase at 1.25 cents per point. However, you won't get any airline-specific perks. Annual fee: $95.
How to decide if it's right for you
If you’ll use Miles & More rewards to fly with Lufthansa and its partners and are familiar with reward restrictions and potential added taxes and fees, the Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard® could be a valuable product to hold as a membership-type card rather than as an everyday-spending credit card.