Editorial Review

Barclaycard Miles & More Review: Potentially Valuable for Flights Abroad

This card may offer useful benefits if you fly where Lufthansa and its Miles & More partners can take you. Just be aware of perks that come with taxes and fees.

Gregory KarpFebruary 8, 2019

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  • Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

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Our Take

3.6

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: 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.

Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

Annual Fee

$89

Regular APR

18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness

Intro APR

0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness.

recommended credit score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$89
Regular APR
18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness
Intro APR
0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness.

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness.

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • Has annual fee

  • Needs excellent credit

Alternate Pick: Greater flexibility

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Book directly or transfer points

This card earns 2 points per dollar spent on travel and dining and 1 point per dollar elsewhere. 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.

Read our review

Full Review

The Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®, Lufthansa airline’s loyalty-program card in the U.S., is full of potentially valuable benefits — if you happen to fly where Lufthansa and its Miles & More partners can take you, which generally means Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.

Notably, the card comes with an 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 high.) Add the sign-up bonus, and this card could be a strategic way for a couple to help pay for a dream vacation to Europe, for example.

But the card’s spending rewards are lacking for use as an everyday payment tool.

Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®: Key features

  • Annual fee: $89

  • Sign-up bonus: Earn 20,000 bonus miles when you make an initial purchase and payment of the annual fee, then earn an additional 30,000 award miles after you make $5,000 in purchases in 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.

  • Intro APR: 0% introductory APR on balance transfers for the first fifteen billing cycles following each balance transfer that posts to your account within 45 days of account opening, and then the ongoing APR of 18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness., and then the ongoing APR of 18.24% or 27.24% based on your credit worthiness

  • Balance transfer fee: Either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.

  • Foreign transaction fee: None.

  • Credit score required: Excellent.

Highlights of the Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®

Companion ticket: 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.

Rewards: 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 up to $1,800. You can also redeem miles for hotel stays, car rentals, merchandise and gift cards, among other redemption options.

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.

Lounge passes: Cardholders get two free one-time-use Lufthansa Business Lounge vouchers annually.

Travel discounts: Get up to 15% off hotel bookings and car rentals.

Drawbacks and alternatives to consider

Complexity: 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.

Spending rewards: 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 Lufthansa, including direct Miles & More partners: Adria Airways, AirDolomiti, Austrian Airlines Group, Brussels Airlines, Croatia Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Lufthansa Regional, Lufthansa Private Jet, Luxair and SWISS.

Other travel cards offer more: Other travel rewards cards offer larger sign-up bonuses, higher point-earning potential and simpler redemption options. Consider the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card. . Earn 2 points per dollar on all purchases, and through January 2020, earn 10 points per dollar spent on hotel stays booked at hotels.com/venture. Redeem points for any travel expenses using the card's Purchase Eraser feature. The annual fee is $0 for the first year, then $95.

The Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard® also has a hefty sign-up bonus: . Earn 2 miles per dollar on all purchases, and you can redeem points for any travel expense in exchange for a statement credit. You'll get 5% of your miles back any time you redeem. The annual fee is $89 (waived first year).

Some travel rewards cards even come with no annual fee.

Should you get the Barclaycard Miles & More® World Elite Mastercard®?

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 Barclaycard 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.