Avianca LifeMiles 100% Mileage Transfer Bonus Through July 22, 2015

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Avianca’s LifeMiles program has just announced that they’ll be offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles between July 8 and July 22, 2015. Obviously this is only useful if you have an existing LifeMiles balance, since you can’t transfer miles you don’t have.

LifeMiles

LifeMiles 100% transfer bonus cost & rules

LifeMiles isn’t usually very good at setting the rules for their promotions, and this is no exception. Here’s what I’ve gathered about the cost & terms of the LifeMiles 100% mileage transfer bonus promotion:

  • Per the terms of the promotion, you can transfer anywhere between 1,000 and 75,000 miles as part of this promotion; that doesn’t include the bonus, meaning that in theory you can generate up to 150,000 LifeMiles through this promotion
  • However, I don’t seem to be able to max out this promotion — even though I haven’t made a transfer yet this year, the highest number of miles I can transfer is 74,000 before the bonus (148,000 with the bonus)
  • The cost to transfer miles is 1.5 cents per mile, which nowadays is cheaper than buying LifeMiles

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LifeMiles-1

Putting the promotion into context

A few more general thoughts:

For a bit of context on LifeMiles promotions, every couple of months (or so) they seem to alternate between a bonus on purchasing miles and a bonus on transferring miles:

Is this a good deal?

LifeMiles are simultaneously among 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 generate additional LifeMiles (I have a healthy balance and can always generate 60% of the miles needed at the time of ticketing), 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 if you’re generating miles for 1.5 cents each, that’s like paying ~$1,350 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

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ANA 777-300ER first class

While I almost never recommend speculatively generating miles at this cost, there are definitely instances where it could make sense here. Why do I think it’s sort of worthwhile?

  • Nowadays the cost of transferring LifeMiles (~1.5 cents each) is cheaper than the cost of purchasing LifeMiles (~1.65 cents each)
  • For the airlines they can book, LifeMiles really offers among the most compelling premium cabin Star Alliance redemption rates, despite their devaluation last year
  • I think LifeMiles learned from back in the day when they’d devalue their award chart without notice; they provided advance notice with the last round of changes, so I trust them more than in the past

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

If you’re into Star Alliance premium cabin award redemptions and have an existing LifeMiles balance, I do think this promotion is seriously worth considering.

Do you plan on transferring LifeMiles with a 100% bonus?

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Comments

  1. I know this sounds like a dumb question, but I can’t “transfer to myself”, right? 🙂

  2. Do you happen to know if transferring miles resets the miles expiration date on the receiving account?

  3. I’m kind of confused. If after transferring 74000 miles for $1110 you get 148000 on the other account the price per mile ends being 0.75 cents right?

  4. Lucky,

    Do you know if you can transfer to another account (say, Account A to Account B – 75,000 miles in Account A to 150,000 miles in Account B) — and then transfer 75,000 miles back from Account B to Account A (to get the bonus again)?

    Thanks!

  5. @Jin:

    Yes you can, but there is a limit you can receive in your account as well, and as Lucky said, it doesn’t abide by the rule and I never could figure it out. So beware there can be a danger that you may end up with 1000 miles stuck in account B.

  6. @ Lucky

    You mentioned LM has blocked quite a bit of star alliance awards. Other than Lufthansa first class, what other awards are blocked that you are aware of?

  7. @ Michael Kao — While Lufthansa first class blocking is consistent, other than that it’s pretty flight dependent. For example, I’ve noticed that some Austrian and Lufthansa business class award seats are blocked.

  8. @ Jin — You sure can, though do keep in mind the odd “artificial” limits which seem to be in place at times. But as long as all other rules are followed that’s fined.

  9. FYI, it’s hard to find any SQ seats, for instance, from Asia to Europe. Don’t know if it’s a block.

  10. @ lautaro — You’re generating 74,000 miles for $1,100. That’s a rate of 1.5 cents per mile. Maybe you were doing the division the wrong way around?

  11. @ Mulder Su — Right, Singapore does make a vast majority of their longhaul premium cabin award seats available exclusively to KrisFlyer members.

  12. Is there any minimum amount of miles on the account thats doing the transferring? Can i transfer my entire miles? Btw if i found flight availability on aeroplan but cant see them on lifemiles, can i ask them to open the availability flight on their facebook page? Or fo you have any other suggestion?

  13. So, the scheme which has been described in ‘youhavebeenupgraded” does not work? I mean transfer 1000 miles from A to B (basically to another account which belongs to you, say in name of your friend or brother), then 2000 miles from B to A, and so on, until you have 75000 miles?

    And another question: awards on which airlines do NOT require calling their horrible call center?

  14. @ igor82j — Sure, that should work, but you still need some sort of existing balance to do that, and that’s a rather cumbersome process. Basically all awards that are bookable should also be bookable online.

  15. @ Actact — I don’t think there’s a minimum amount of time the account has to be open. As long as you stay within the transfer limits you should be fine. Unfortunately if the LifeMiles website doesn’t show the space then I wouldn’t count on being able to book it.

  16. I am totally unfamiliar with Lifemiles, so could you clarify what do you mean by “cumbersome”?
    Is there anything specific that prohibits a recently registered account owner to buy 1000 miles? Thanks!

  17. Hey lucky, thanks gor respond, i was asking about minimum amount of miles an account has to have not minimum ammount of time an account has to have

  18. @ Actact — There’s not a minimum number of miles you need in terms of the promotion rules, though if you don’t have any miles to transfer then you can’t really generate any.

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