Bigger Sign-Ups for Alaska, Lufthansa, Delta, and BA

Now that wedding expenses are behind me, I’m finally free to get back into the credit card game. Several card issuers have announced bigger sign-up bonuses for cards I had considered getting. Great timing! But some of these are also expiring soon. Here are a few of the better offers I’m considering along with my rationale for applying.

Alaska Airlines – 50,000 Miles

The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® from Bank of America normally has a sign-up bonus of just 25,000 miles and occasionally goes up to 40,000, so the new offer of 50,000 miles is quite impressive. Cardholders get 25,000 miles up front and another 25,000 miles after spending just $1,000 in the first 90 days. The annual fee is $75. (HT to Canadian Kilometers)

Alaska CC 50K

This card’s main benefit is an annual $118 companion fare (including taxes) for travel in coach. It’s a bit of a downgrade from the previous benefit that was also available in first class, but it is still something I’ve used regularly. Alaska makes it easy to use the miles, too, with two classes of saver awards that in my experience offer more availability than other carriers. You can also use them to book on carriers like Emirates, which isn’t a member of any airline alliance. Note the terms on this particular offer are more restrictive. You may end up with a lower offer.

*Bonus Mile Offer: This one-time promotion is limited to new customers opening an account in response to this offer and is valid for a limited time by invitation only. This offer is not valid for customers that have applied for this product in the last 12 months.

Lufthansa Miles & More – 50,000 Miles

MilesandMore MasterCardThe Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard® is normally has a sign-up bonus of just 20,000 miles but is currently offering a whopping 50,000 miles after spending $5,000 in the first 90 days. But even though this is a European carrier, the miles can be quite valuable to Americans. Once United devalues its award chart, Miles & More will require fewer miles to book first class awards on Lufthansa while also offering better availability since partners like United typically have access to fewer seats. Awards in business class to Europe are cheaper, too, with a special discount on economy class tickets for U.S. residents.

Want to go to Hawaii or take United’s p.s. service from coast-to-coast? United codes these “first class” seats as business class on a two-cabin plane for the sake of award inventory. That means you pay Lufthansa’s cheaper business class award price with access to the same saver level award availability that United offers its own customers.

Note: This limited-time offer is set to expire on Sunday, December 15, and will probably go back to only 20,000 miles. The annual fee is not waived.

Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex – 100,000 Miles

After announcing its big expansion in the Seattle market, Delta decided to go one further and try to get us all to apply for the Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express®. Sign-up offers tend to be around 35,000 to 50,000 miles. Unless you live in Seattle and apply by December 31. Area residents can see if they’ve been targeted, like me, for a special 100,000-mile offer.

You need to spend a total of $4,000 in six months (the first $1,000 within three months), which isn’t bad. But while that $1,000 in spend can be with anyone to get the first 50,000 miles, you need to spend $4,000 with Delta to get the extra 50,000 miles. American Express is pretty good about offering long qualification periods, and the annual fee is waived the first year. I wouldn’t normally be excited about SkyMiles, which Gary Leff rightly calls “SkyPesos,” but there is a lot you can do with 100,000 of them. I do not expect to see such an offer come around again soon. If you don’t live in Seattle, you might try updating your address in your SkyMiles account profile before checking your eligibility.

British Airways Visa Signature — 100,000 Miles

This super-sized offer from the British Airways Visa Signature® comes around about twice a year, and like the Miles & More card, I don’t want Americans to overlook the hidden value of a foreign loyalty program. British Airways’ Avios points can be redeemed for award travel on partners like Alaska Airlines and American Airlines. If you do so for domestic travel, there are no fuel surcharges unlike British Airways’ own international flights. And because Avios uses a distance-based award chart, many awards are much cheaper than if booked through Alaska or American.

Consider a short flight of 650 miles or less. These cost only 4,500 points one-way. I could visit my parents in Santa Rosa, CA, at this price or go slightly further to San Francisco or Los Angeles for only 7,500 points one-way. Readers on the East Coast have many more short flights available to them out of American Airlines’ hubs in New York and Miami. Avios is also the cheapest way to get to Hawaii if you live on the West Coast. You can book any of Alaska’s many routes to Hawaii for only 25,000 points round-trip. That means a single credit card offer can get you four award tickets to Hawaii! The biggest catch is that British Airways prices these awards by individual segment. Prices go up quickly if you make a connection, which is why I’ve focused here on examples of non-stop travel.

BA CC 100K

You earn the first 50,000 miles after spending $2,000 in 90 days (the annual fee is not waived). You’ll earn another 25,000 miles after spending $10,000 in the first year and another 25,000 miles after spending $20,000 in the first year. Take a screenshot of the offer page. I got some bull from Chase about only applying for a 50,000-mile offer. They never admitted their mistake but did send a letter offering to honor the terms and conditions I described. This offer expires on December 31.

Application Recap

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature®

Spend $1,000 in 3 months for 50,000 miles

The Lufthansa Premier Miles & More World MasterCard®

Spend $5,000 in 3 months for 50,000 miles

Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card

Spend $1,000 in 3 months for 50,000 miles and a total of $4,000 in 6 months to get a total of 100,000 miles

British Airways Visa Signature®

Spend $2,000 in 3 months for 50,000 miles and a total of $20,000 in 12 months to get a total of 100,000 miles

About 

Scott created Hack My Trip while traveling on a budget during graduate school and continues to share his thoughts on better travel. He maintains elite status with American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Hyatt, and Starwood.
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  • jim

    what is the 50K alaska miles good for? any transfer partners? domestic or international round trip?

    • Scottrick

      By itself, a round-trip ticket to Hawaii or two round-trip tickets within the continental U.S. (Note that Alaska Airlines includes Alaska and the lower 48 states in its definition of “Continental U.S.”)

      You would need more miles for an international partner award. I gave the example of Emirates, which charges 90K for one-way in first-class to the Middle East or India. Cathay is 70K for one-way in first-class to Asia.

      • jim

        to get 2 round trip ticket within US, you need to be flying in alaska airlines only? I don’t think alaska flies all over the US? is there an award chart for alaska miles? thanks

  • Robert

    For the Alaska offer, what’s the chance of getting the full bonus if you didn’t get the invite?

    • Scottrick

      The usual risk is that individuals with a poor credit score will get approved for a different version of the card with many fewer miles. Assuming your score is good (typically 740+, though preferably 760+) you face a different risk: same card but possibly a different offer.

      I don’t know what BofA would do in this case. Since you can access the landing page with the better offer, I think you stand a good chance at arguing for the higher bonus. But there is a chance they would only award the current, publicly available offer of 25,000 miles on Alaska’s website.

      • shay peleg

        I got a card with 800$ limit (most of my cards 3-5k) . Chances are i did not get the better offer right? which number do i call to inquire?

        • Scottrick

          That does sound wrong. You can find more information about reconsideration contact numbers in this post:

          http://hackmytrip.com/2013/09/chase-reconsideration-numbers-banks/

          When you receive the card, it should have a notice if you were approved for a different version as well as the information BofA used to come to that decision.

          • shay peleg

            The number did not help and, they gave me the platinum card. I can’t use the number because it asks me for my account number but , i don’t have it yet. Is there a reconsideration line?

          • Scottrick

            That’s the only number I’m aware of. I would type in something at random to generate an error and hope it connects you to a representative.

          • shay peleg

            They say they can’t do anything until i get the card… What BS

          • Jrr2424

            I was just approved. However, the approval did not state which card I was approved for. I made a call to BofA and was informed then I will be receiving the AS Visa Signature w/50k bonus.

          • shay peleg

            I called in they said i would not get the bonus , because they approved me for the platinum card. I have canceled the card . This is a scam and, i want everyone to know that.

        • Ben L

          If it came with an $800 CL then you got a Preferred Visa (the lowest they offer), and are only eligible for a 3k bonus (I don’t know the spend requirement…probably 1k in 3 months). I just read the T&C to find this out myself. I doubt (based on previous experience with BofA) that I would get >5k CL on this card which is what is necessary to get the Visa Signature card that comes with the 50k offer and would therefore be stuck with a much lower bonus. Unfortunately I am gonna have to sit this one out which sucks because my next AOR is in 1-2 days.

          • shay peleg

            Anyone manage to get them to change that?

          • PJ

            @shaypeleg:disqus, it worked for me. I was approved for the Plat card. I called 866.530.9829 and asked to be bumped up to Signature (requires 5K CL). I was transferred to a credit analyst who reviewed my credit report and authorized the upgrade.

  • Corey

    The annual fee isn’t waived for the first year on the Lufthansa or the BA card.

    • Scottrick

      Thanks. Fixed. That’s a bigger mistake than I usually like to make. Don’t know where I was looking when I wrote that.

  • Mark

    Careful about the Delta offer No way I will spend $4000 with Delta in 6 months. Still the 50K is not bad. I might be able to make $2k and get it up to 75K… at least the one I got was $50,000 after $1,000 spend in 4 months. But the remainder had to be spend with Delta:

    Earn 50,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 in purchases with your new Card within your first 3 months.1† Earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 in purchases directly at Delta with your new Card within your first six months.2† Earn an additional 25,000 bonus miles after
    you make an additional $2,000 ($4,000 in total) in purchases directly
    at Delta with your new Card within your first six months.2†

    • Scottrick

      Correct. I’ve clarified my comments. 50K is still a good offer and can be reached without spending any money with Delta.

      • Mark

        Yep. I already got the $1000 spend… just waiting for my miles. Good overview this morning of some awesome offers!

  • Red

    Can you churn the BA card?

    • Scottrick

      I haven’t tried. Usually not with Chase, although it helps if it’s been a couple years since you last had one.

  • slumdog007

    I got a mail offer from AMEX for a American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card with 50K bonus miles instead of regular 25K bonus miles with only $1000 spend in 3 months. I currently dont have any AMEX cards.

    Is it worth pursuing or should I wait for a better option ( I read some folks have received a 100k bonus miles offer ) .

    • Scottrick

      I think 50K is pretty good if you think you’ll use it now. My wife and I applied when it was 50K last year. 100K and 75K offers are rare, but you could wait if you have the patience for it.