Cost To Purchase LifeMiles Increasing September 30, 2014

This was actually announced a couple of weeks back, though for whatever reason I forgot to post about it. So I figured better late than never.

Since joining the Star Alliance a couple of years ago, Avianca’s LifeMiles program has been big into selling miles. While their standard cost to purchase miles is 3.0 cents each, they’ve frequently offered 100% bonuses on buying and sharing miles, which lowers the cost to 1.5 cents each.

Anyway, LifeMiles has announced that they’ll be increasing the cost of purchased miles to 3.3 cents as of September 30, 2014:

Until September 30th, 2014, the price of the block of 1,000 miles will continue to be at USD30 plus taxes. From October 1st, 2014, such price will increase to USD33 plus taxes1.

Remember that you may use the miles you purchase to fly to more than 1,300 destinations on routes operated by Avianca, partner airlines or Star Alliance member airlines. Also, use your LifeMiles with our vast partner network that includes hotels, car rentals, restaurants, stores certificates, health and beauty, among others.

LifeMiles-Price

So presumably if they offer a 100% bonus on purchased or shared miles after September 30, that will mean that LifeMiles will cost 1.65 cents each to purchase, which is 10% higher than now.

My guess would be that they’ll offer either another 100% bonus on purchased or shared miles prior to September, though I could be wrong.

One of my biggest complaints of the LifeMiles program is that they have a history of making changes to their program without advance notice.

So while of course I don’t like to see an increase in the cost to purchase miles (especially since LifeMiles are one of the best ways to book premium cabin Star Alliance awards), I commend them for giving months of advance notice.

And in the grand scheme of things a 10% increase is mild.

While 3.3 cents per purchased mile is high, they’re running a JoS A Bank-style business model on their sale of miles, whereby the non-discounted retail cost isn’t even in peoples’ minds.

(Tip of the hat to Z)

Comments

  1. The question that remains is if this will also affect the Cash & Miles flexible payment option where you can purchase up to 60% of the miles during an award redemption at appx. .016/mile? That would really be a significant devaluation for lifemiles in my book. Avianca actually did this last year without notice as the cash and miles option used to cost around .0125/mile but then suddenly increased.

  2. @ Tom — I wouldn’t assume the two are necessarily related. As you point out they changed the cost of the cash portion in the past, so I think that may very well change in the future, but probably won’t be tied to this.

  3. Cash portion will likely increase to .0165/mile, just as the cost to transfer miles will likely increase. If all of these costs do not go up, it will be somewhat strange and more than likely for a limited time frame only.

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