It’s quickly shaking up to be an exciting December on the mileage sale front. Yesterday US Airways announced a 100% bonus on shared miles through December 6, 2013, which is possibly the most lucrative promotion in the industry for generating miles.
AviancaTaca is getting in on the fun with their Lifemiles program, and offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles through December 30, 2013. Through this promotion you can purchase a maximum of 75,000 Lifemiles (plus the 100% bonus), at a cost of 1.5 cents per mile all-in. The promotion is also only valid for those that were members of the Lifemiles program prior to December 3, 2013.
As I’ve written about in the past, there are some things that are awesome about Lifemiles and some things that suck about them. The things I love about Lifemiles include:
- They allow one-way awards at half the cost of a roundtrip
- They don’t impose fuel surcharges on award redemptions
- They have competitive redemption rates (you can find their Star Alliance award chart here)
- They don’t block any partner award space, unlike US Airways
- As long as you have 40% of the miles needed for a redemption, you can purchase the remaining miles at the time you issue your ticket for as little as 1.56 cents per mile
And then there are things I hate with a passion about Lifemiles:
- Their call center is HORRIBLE, so if your redemption requires servicing over the phone, you might as well forget about it
- They don’t allow mixed cabin awards, meaning if you book a business class award all segments have to be in business class
- They have a history of devaluing their program without notice, as I posted about here and here, so I’d only recommend buying miles with a short term use in mind
Also, for what it’s worth, Lifemiles processes points purchases directly, which means for the purposes of credit card spend this should qualify as airline spend.
There are many great redemption opportunities on the Lifemiles award chart, assuming you can deal with their ridiculous routing and mixed cabin rules. While I wouldn’t purchase miles entirely speculatively, this is a program that’s tough to beat for one-way premium cabin Star Alliance award redemptions.