Avianca’s LifeMiles program has just announced that they’ll be offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles through March 17, 2014.
Through this promotion you can transfer between 1,000 and 50,000 miles at a cost of 1.5 cents each. You can transfer no more than 50,000 miles between accounts per year, so keep that in mind if taking advantage of this promotion.
That means, for example, if you transfer 25,000 miles it will cost you $375, and you’ll receive 50,000 miles in the recipient’s LifeMiles account.
Avianca also occasionally offers a 100% bonus on purchased miles, and when they do it’s at the same rate of 1.5 cents per mile. So this is about as cheap as “generating” Avianca miles gets. To put this offer into perspective, the last time LifeMiles offered a 100% bonus on purchased miles was December, and the last time LifeMiles offered a 100% bonus on transferred miles was October.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, LifeMiles are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite points currency. 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
Anyway, there’s no bonus on the purchase of miles this month, so in order to take advantage of this promotion you need to have an existing mileage balance, for all practical purposes (buying LifeMiles at their normal rate of three cents each for the purposes of transferring them kind of negates the value of this offer).
Lastly, it’s worth noting that Avianca processes the purchase of LifeMiles directly, so it does count as airline spend for the purposes of your credit card. Keep in mind it’s a foreign carrier, though, so you’ll want to use a card without foreign transaction fees. I plan on taking advantage of this promotion and will be using my Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (affiliate link), since I earn 2.14 Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent with no foreign transaction fees.
Now I do have one question for the LifeMiles experts — anyone have experience transferring 25,000 LifeMiles from one account to another (meaning you receive 50,000 LifeMiles in the recipient’s account), and then transferring 50,000 LifeMiles back to the original account, for a total of 100,000 LifeMiles?