LifeMiles 100%-120% Bonus On Purchased Miles Through May 29, 2015

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Avianca’s LifeMiles program has just announced that they’ll be offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles through May 29, 2015.

LifeMiles-Bonus

LifeMiles is actually offering a total of 120% bonus if you have an account registered outside of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, or the United States. If your account is eligible for the promotion, you should automatically see the increased offer showing up in your account.

LifeMiles-Promo

How much are LifeMiles to purchase?

Through the US version of the promotion (with the 100% bonus) you can purchase a maximum of 75,000 LifeMiles (plus the 100% bonus), at a cost of 1.65 cents per mile all-in. With the 120% bonus you’re paying 1.5 cents per mile.

LifeMiles-Promo-1

Up until last year the cost to purchase LifeMiles with a 100% bonus was 1.5 cents per mile, though as of September 30, 2014, LifeMiles raised the cost per purchased mile by 10%. This is only the the second promotion under the new pricing scheme.

The promotion is only valid for those that were members of the LifeMiles program prior to May 5, 2015. You can purchase a maximum of 150,000 LifeMiles per calendar year.

LifeMiles-Promo-2

How does this compare to past promotions?

To put this promotion into the context of past promotions, LifeMiles has alternated between 100% bonuses on purchased and shared miles several times a year for quite a while now:

In other words, they’ve offered a 100% bonus on purchased miles three times per year, and a 100% bonus on shared miles three times per year. That being said, they seem to be going at a slower pace this year. The terms have always been more or less identical, though now the cost has gone up by 10%.

Unfortunately not only have they raised the cost of purchased miles, but LifeMiles also devalued their award chart for bookings made as of October 15, 2014. The increases are substantial, though could have been worse, in my opinion.

For more information on the LifeMiles program, check out my post about Avianca LifeMiles Award Chart And Redemption Basics. That post isn’t updated to reflect the new award chart, though.

Is this a good deal?

As I’ve mentioned in the past, LifeMiles are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite mileage currency. The things I love about LifeMiles include:

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 block quite a bit of Star Alliance award space, including Lufthansa first class space

Still, given United’s award chart devaluation and US Airways no longer being in the Star Alliance, there aren’t many ways to economically book premium cabin Star Alliance awards anymore. LifeMiles is one of the best programs for those awards, even with the higher cost to purchase miles and devalued award chart.

So while I personally wouldn’t speculatively purchase LifeMiles, with a specific use in mind they can be a great value.

For example, LifeMiles charges 90,000 miles for first class between the US and much of Asia, so at 1.65 cents per mile, that’s like paying ~$1,500 for a one-way first class ticket between the US and Asia on ANA or Asiana.

Asiana-Award

Asiana-A380-First-Class-001
Asiana A380 first class

ANA-first-class-1
ANA 777-300ER first class

Which credit card should you buy miles with?

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. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since they offer the following bonus miles for airfare spend:

Bottom line

I’d say if you have an account that’s eligible for the 120% bonus on purchased miles, it could be worth taking advantage of this promotion even speculatively. With just the 100% bonus, I think it could be worth taking advantage of the promotion with a specific use in mind, or at least a short term use in mind.

At the end of the day there aren’t many good ways to redeem miles for Star Alliance premium cabins anymore, so LifeMiles remains one of the best options, despite the increased cost of purchased miles and devalued award chart.

If you’re looking to fly first class on one of the top Asian Star Alliance carriers, this promotion is probably your best bet.

Do you plan on purchasing LifeMiles through this promotion?

(Tip of the hat to @jooliang1982)

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Comments

  1. Austrian business class space is wide open since March 2015. The biggest blow is SQ business and first class space which is completely blocked except on a couple routes with very sparse award space. This in my opinion is not a good promotion and I’m still sitting on 160k miles I’m trying to get rid of so if any one is interested let me know!

  2. hi
    i am a resident in Saudi Arabia… want to purchase miles for Turkish airlines… but when i tried to purchase… no additional miles offered to me… feeling sad…

  3. @AirCanada881

    LifeMiles has access to SQ biz award at around T+3, at least on JFK-FRA route.

    also, didn’t they have a black friday promo last year, 125%? or am I imagining it? Maybe it was only for credit card holders? (which i still am for some reason… lol)

  4. If you buy United miles, does that count as airfare spend? I know earlier this year some airlines took over that function instead of leaving it up to points.com. I may need to buy some for an award booking I’ll need to make this month.

    Btw, I had trouble accessing the ‘Ask Lucky’ page, not sure if it’s down or if it is an issue with the browser I’m using.

  5. @Lantean T+3 is not a very good window, I have access to a scanner and the only route I see consistent award space on is NRT-LAX-NRT, Last year I could book all sorts of routes from Europe and SIN-NRT for a bargain 30,000 miles, all these options are gone now, LM has lst all its value, yes you can fly First class with OZ, NH and TG but these aren’t worth it to me, if anyone wants to purchase my miles I’m selling them at 1.4 US cents each, contact me through here:

    https://www.facebook.com/HighFlyerW

  6. @ Kenny — Yep, United processes mileage purchases directly, so that counts as airfare spend for the purposes of your credit card.

  7. @ BILAL — Were you a LifeMiles member before this promotion was launched? If so, you should be eligible.

  8. Hi Ben,

    I need to go to Singapore later this year. Is Life Miles the best FF to book first? My home airport is NYC. If I book through Life Miles, I can do NH (JFK-NRT-SIN) for 99,000 all in first. I guess I can also transfer miles to SQ for JFK-FRA-SIN. I believe it’ll be 110,000. I can also do CX for JFK-HKG-SIN for 67,500 using AA miles. I’ve done first in CX and NH but not SQ. What other great options do I have that will not cost a gazillion miles?

  9. @John you won’t be able to do JFK-FRA-SIN with Lifemiles on board SQ, FRA-SIN is blocked for booking in business class, JFK-NRT-SIN is however possible and wide open.

    Of all the choices you listed SQ would be my preference if you can book them, followed by Cathay and then ANA.

  10. @BILAL how you tried entering 68,000 as the number of miles to purchase? This would be the max number you can purchase to get 20% extra miles

  11. @AirCanada881

    yeah, i know it’s not a good window… but it’s something.

    also, NH F is absolutely fantastic… and you can fly it all the way North America-NRT-SIN… it’s a phenomenal deal for 99k LifeMiles. I agree that OZ and TG are not really worth it, maybe OZ on A380 if nothing else is available.

  12. @AirCanada881

    What routes are Austrian airways space wide open? I’ve been searching for ORD-VIE or JFK-VIE and nothing is available for the next 3 months.

  13. @AirCanada881

    actually ATM SQ biz is available on JFK-FRA on 5/12 and 5/19… so the window may actually be T+14 but probably only flights with a light load. it’s still something…

    i’ll check FT after lunch. 😉

  14. @Grant haven’t done an extensive search in the US I am more interested in Asian destinations which offer longer flights but a quick search shows EWR-VIE On 9th May in Business Class.

  15. @Lantean good to know but you will not find anything from C2-C3 🙁 Except SOMETIMES from CPH or IST but nothing from Western Europe where the A380 runs.

  16. @AirCanda 881 – What do you mean having access to a scanner? Is there some way of searching for SQ award space more quickly/efficiently than day by day on their website? The space they release to partners is really sparse in business class and seems mainly limited to mostly undesirable routes for North American travelers as far as I can tell.

  17. Have enough LM to last for a bit so not biting. But nice to see 100% promos still being offered.

  18. @Lantean C2 is Europe and C3 Asia, ie you will find 0 availability from CDG, ZRH, BCN, LHR, AMS, MUC, FRA to SIN. IST and CPH sometimes show availability but very sparse and uninteresting aircraft.

    @Tom the scanner is privately programmed and not shared publicly.

  19. @ Lantean — it’s the FD terminology 🙂

    C1 – North America
    C2 – Europe
    C3 – Asia
    C4 – South America
    C5 – Africa
    C6 – Oceania
    C7 – Antarctica

  20. @ AirCanada881 — I find that using SQ KF is the best way to go. In the US, at least, they are partnered with a bunch of programs that you can transfer points out of – SPG, Amex, Citi…

  21. @AirCanada881

    aha. well, the problem with this is that FRA-JFK flight departs at 8 AM Frankfurt time… there simply aren’t many flights that would get in to FRA between 2-8 AM (i believe that’s the max connection time LifeMiles allows, not 100% sure).

    so your best bet is looking for flights in the other direction… JFK-FRA-Europe there are tons of connecting flights, no problem booking this at all. something like: JFK-FRA (SQ), FRA-FCO (LH).

    hope this helps.

  22. @Lantean My username is probably misleading, I live in Europe and am interested in flying SQ from Europe to Asia. My gripe is that there is no availability in that direction 🙁 FRA-JFK et LAX-NRT seem to be the only open routes in J on SQ that are of interest.

  23. Thank you so much Ben, I’ve been looking at tickets to Hong Kong for awhile and paying just a little bit more for First class makes my trip more bearable than Y.

  24. @ John — LifeMiles is a great option for ANA first class, though I’d say all three of your options are fantastic. ANA, Cathay, and Singapore are three of my favorite airlines in first class.

  25. Lucky,

    For a trip from Asia to the US and back which is better to but miles on – this or AAdvantage?

  26. I don’t know why people are obsessed with SQ biz seat. Yes I agree it is a good product and it is a shame that LM lost the ability to book most of it’s A380/77W J seat. But there is no other *A FFP that will get you access to it anyway. It is not LM’s fault, but rather I believe SQ blocked it. This happened pretty much immediately after the KF-VA joint venture that allowed the transfer of points. I think it is reasonable that SQ is now reserving those seats for the potential increase in competition from VA members.

    At least there is still LAX-NRT and the odd JFK-FRA, I think we should be grateful.

    At the moment we still have access to the wide open inventory of NH and OZ first class at a very competitive rate (definitely better than UA) and I think it is still good value. I personally just redeemed LAX-NRT-SIN on NH first class for 41000 miles + $913.78 in total! That’s a real bargain for 19 hours of ultra luxury! Best thing is, it’s on the date that I needed it (I am not as flexible due to my work situation).

    KF would have charged 93500 miles + $1180(!) in YQ + taxes.

    LM is actually very useful for us poor Aussies:

    1. LM is good between AUS and North America. It allows you to route through Asia with OZ and CA award space is wide open, and the occasional UA and AC. AA on the other hand only has QF (with virtually no award space) and the relatively inferior Hawaiian and Fiji products.
    2. Australia to north Asia at 40K in J and 50K in F.

  27. @ Jonathan — All depends on availability. Both can be a great value, depending on what’s available for your dates and what kind of a product you’re looking for.

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