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Credit cards with miles

42 posts in this topic

Posted

Hello,

I'd like to know from folks who have or have had one of these two credit cards, which one is better? The annual price is basically the same...

Thanks a lot

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Posted

Rather depends which airline's routes you fly more frequently doesn't it?

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Posted

The one from the airline you fly the most.

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Posted

I continue to see point earning credit carts touted with no annual fee. Some aren't affiliated with any airline but you can redeem points with airlines.

I see the ads on UK Sky TV a lot and I just checked and United has one with no annual fee. You can use United mileage with many different airlines including LH.

It might be worth Googling to check out some of the others.

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Posted

WARNING! A good airline loyalty scheme is like a good rapist...

...better than a bad rapist ;)

Speaking only from experience, like (and not looking forwards to 13 hours sitting in a tin bus at 35,000 feet this Saturday AGAIN!)

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Posted

I see the ads on UK Sky TV a lot and I just checked and United has one with no annual fee. You can use United mileage with many different airlines including LH.

The United scheme is much more generous than Lufthansa's even though both are Star Alliance. However, you can't get a United credit card in Germany.

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Posted

Well I only got the LH credit card to keep my miles from expiring, and they regularly have good offers, for instance, getting 30% more miles for each euro you spend. I've also been able to buy miles for crazy cheap prices like 1200 miles for 35 euro.

I'm saving up for an upgrade the next time I fly home. I fly a lot in europe, but always with cheap tickets that only give me 250 miles return, so the card has been a big help, at least I get the price of the ticket as miles on top!

It's pretty straightforward how it works. Like many creditcards in Germany, they simply take the balance out of your account at the end of the month, and 1 euro = 1 mile. What can possibly go wrong with that?

Must admit I haven't tried redeeming my miles.

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Posted

I've also been able to buy miles for crazy cheap prices like 1200 miles for 35 euro.

At that price, a return flight to North America would cost €1,750 plus the usual €200 or so in taxes and fees. A return flight within Europe would cost €875 plus charges.

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Posted

Somebody's off by a factor of 10 there, STB. At 1200 miles/35 euros, he could fly round-trip Frankfurt/New York for €245 (7 x 35) and have 772 miles to spare.

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Posted

You need 60,000 M&M points to fly to North America, so that's 50x1200 = €1750.

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Posted

If you only need another 1200 miles to get a ticket, 35 euros is a cheap price though. I'm sure that's what was meant. ;)

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Posted

He's actually right Jeffo, for a flight to JFK from MUC you need 60.000 miles.

I'm not saying that you should buy 60.000 miles. But when cheap intra-european flights only give you 250 miles, you might want to think about topping up if you're near your goal. It gets cheaper the more miles you buy, for instance, 14.400 miles cost 290€. I also get some 10.000 miles from my yearly flights home, and this year I'm jumping over the pond twice.

All in all, if you fly around a lot privately like I do, it just makes sense to have the program and the credit card. In the end, what are you loosing? I still fly and pay whatever it costs.

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Posted

Sure, you just need to make sure that you're getting an OK deal. Once you've paid the taxes and fees, you're only saving around 50% off the cheapest normal-priced return ticket. If you're paying the €50 annual fee purely to collect the points and need four years to get the points, then the credit card fees will have wiped out any savings on the flight ticket. The OP should bear this in mind. The Lufthansa scheme in particular is spectacularly ungenerous. The best use of the points is to buy a normal return flight and use the air miles to upgrade to business class.

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Posted

I'm saving up for an upgrade the next time I fly home.

The best use of the points is to buy a normal return flight and use the air miles to upgrade to business class.

I've done my math, don't worry. You also forget that with the credit card you also earn miles for each purchase, so depending on your spending the yearly fee is more than offset when it comes to miles.

I agree that Lufthansa M&M is maybe one of the least generous around. What did you expect? They are German!

In any case, I love flying with them, I've had absolutely no hassle in all my years coming and going at least once a year, and 3 years flying within Europe.

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Posted

You need 60,000 M&M points to fly to North America, so that's 50x1200 = €1750.

Ah, my flawed logic at play. My mistake, sorry.

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Posted

You also forget that with the credit card you also earn miles for each purchase

Far from forgetting it, that's my main source of collecting the points. But spending €60,000 on a credit card isn't easy, especially as using a credit card is increasingly attracting additional fees, and especially in Germany where many shops don't accept credit cards. How I weep when I have to do a bank transfer for several hundred euros.

I'm not saying that it's not worth doing, but that the OP should consider whether it's worth paying for a credit card at all if it's going to take ten years of annual fees to get a free bus ride to the airport.

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Posted

In the end, what are you loosing? I still fly and pay whatever it costs.

the point of a loyalty program is to keep you away from the competition. it's pretty likely that on average people lose out: the freebies are worth less than what they could have saved shopping around. perhaps it works out in your personal case, but in general the system is geared against the players.

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Posted

Very true. But don't forget business travellers, who are the main target of these programmes. They don't care that they're being ripped off on the airfares or hotel rates because they don't pay. To the business traveller, the only concern is how many loyalty points they get.

The case of Marriott is a good one: this chain wouldn't exist without its loyalty programme. Its hotels around the world are filled with American businessmen staying there on expenses, paying €180 for a room worth little more than half that. When they get their precious 10 days' holiday each year, they fly to Barbados on air miles and stay at the Marriott there with the points earned from their business trips.

Anyone collecting Marriott points but paying the hotel bills themselves is being sorely ripped off.

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Posted

the point of a loyalty program is to keep you away from the competition. it's pretty likely that on average people lose out: the freebies are worth less than what they could have saved shopping around. perhaps it works out in your personal case, but in general the system is geared against the players.

For some reason I have a weird kind of extreme loyalty to brands that treat me well. Tried flying to and from south america with other, cheaper options and it's always been a nightmare of delays, lost connections and shitty service. Oh, the tales I could tell you about Iberia. Saved more than 400 USD on the flight but lost about 5 years of life through anger, exhasperation and frustration. The stupid thing is I did it twice! The worst flights of my life have been those two, one Air France flight to Caracas, and a flight with LTU (air berlin's long distance brand) between Miami and Düsseldorf. I've sworn never again to fly back home with anything but lufthansa. Until now, I haven't had a single problem (knock on wood).

When planning intra-european trips to visit friends, which I do with some regularity during the year, I always shop around. Only on one occasion did I decide to use something other than lufthansa, I never book too early, maybe max a month or so in advance, and by then the prices of other carriers (excluding ryanair, but I never check that one because I'm waay to lazy to go to Memmingen) are pretty much equal or maybe 20-30 euro off. If you try several sites and don't always book through lufthansa.com. Granted, I have the means to be picky and shun out of the way airports, and think about all the 'perks' of flying lufthansa.

I don't mean to evangelize. I'm saying lufthansa works for me, as invariably I end up booking with them, it makes sense to have the miles thingy so I can fly business class privately someday.

I don't book miles when flying for business, because my company doesn't allow me to use them privately. If they did, you'd have to tax them as 'geldwerter Vorteil'. Fuck that.

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Posted

I don't book miles when flying for business, because my company doesn't allow me to use them privately. If they did, you'd have to tax them as 'geldwerter Vorteil'.

Then IMHO your company is unnecessarily treating you badly. I had read somewhere in Steuertipps für Angestellte that Lufthansa pays the 'geldwerter Vorteil' tax pauschal so you don't. Thats a factor (the only one?) why you need more miles to book a flight if you are resident inside Germany than if you reside elsewhere.

I can't find the reference at the moment.

EDIT: according to Steuertipps für Angestellte 4a 8(2) ff (my quick translation): If premium miles are earned whilst travelling on business & you use them privately then this is 'geldwerter Vorteil'. Up to Eur 1080 per year is steuerfrei (§3 Nr.38 EStG). Above that the company offering the Sachprämien can pay the tax pauschal & I believe this is what LH does.

Disclaimer: this is not taxation advice

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Posted

Then IMHO your company is unnecessarily treating you badly. I had read somewhere in Steuertipps für Angestellte that Lufthansa pays the 'geldwerter Vorteil' tax pauschal so you don't. Thats a factor (the only one?) why you need more miles to book a flight uf you are resident inside Germany than if you reside elsewhere.

I can't find the reference at the moment.

That's interesting. I'll google it.

Still think it doesn't help me, because the policy is: miles earned on business trips have be kept for use by the company. You can't use them privately.

One of the bosses that regularly flies to Asia has enough miles to go around the world twice. He told me once that he's used his miles privately and nobody's ever asked, if they do, you're not obliged to show them your M&M kontoauszug detailing which miles you earned how. But then again, he's a boss and most likely can get away with it. I'm more cautious in that respect.

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Posted

Still think it doesn't help me, because the policy is: miles earned on business trips have be kept for use by the company. You can't use them privately.

I suspect they can issue that edict (check with your Betriebsrat) but no way can they deduct tax for something that is not taxable.

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Posted

I have started to transfer my Payback points and Arcor Hotel points onto my M&M account. Works ok, especially because you can collect M&M and the Arcor points on every stay.

Lets see what I can tally up in a few months. :unsure:

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Posted

Waste of money. To get a "free" (i.e. €400 in taxes and fees for a €500 seat) transatlantic return flight you need 60,000 miles, which equals 60,000 Payback points. If you converted 60,000 Payback points into cash then they'd be worth €600. One saves so little on reward flights compared to regular prices that you need to make sure you don't spend money that you'd otherwise not have spent just to get the points.

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