Should You Buy LifeMiles With A 125% Bonus?

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Avianca LifeMiles has had surprising few bonuses on the purchase of miles lately, something which used to happen every other month. Well, they’re finally back with their latest promotion.

LifeMiles is offering up to a 125% bonus on purchased miles through May 31, 2016.

LifeMiles

LifeMiles is offering:

  • 2x miles if you purchase 2,000-50,000 miles
  • 2.15x miles if you purchase 51,000-100,000 miles (additional 15% bonus)
  • 2.25x miles if you purchase 101,000-150,000 miles (additional 25% bonus)

LifeMiles-Bonus

LifeMiles ordinarily cost 3.3 cents each to purchase, so if you purchase at least 101,000 miles during this promotion (pre-bonus) you can buy LifeMiles ~1.47 cents each, when factoring in the 125% bonus.

LifeMiles-Bonus-1

Should you buy LifeMiles?

LifeMiles is a unique currency, and nowadays is a lot better than it used to be. You can redeem the miles for one-way awards, they don’t impose fuel surcharges on any award redemptions, they have competitive redemption rates, and 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 1.5 cents per mile.

There are some things to be aware of as well, though. For example, their call center is horrible, so if something isn’t bookable on their website, don’t expect it to be bookable by phone either.

Fortunately they recently improved my two other biggest gripes with the program recently. For a long time LifeMiles was blocking Lufthansa first class award availability, which is no longer the case. Furthermore, LifeMiles didn’t used to allow you to mix cabins on an award ticket, which isn’t the case anymore either.

Lufthansa-First-Class-747 - 1
Lufthansa 747-8 first class

As far as redeeming LifeMiles go, Avianca is in the Star Alliance, so check out the Star Alliance award chart for redemption rates. To give a few examples of one way premium cabin redemption rates (along with how much it would cost you at a rate of 1.47 cents per mile):

  • US to Europe in business class costs 63,000 miles (~$920)
  • US to Europe in first class costs 87,000 miles (~$1,280)
  • US to Southeast Asia in business class costs 78,000 miles (~$1,140)
  • US to North Asia in first class costs 90,000 miles (~$1,320)

With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be an incredible value, especially for first class travel on ANA, Asiana, and Lufthansa.

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

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

Of course everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.

How does this compare to past promotions?

For a bit of context on how this compares to past promotions on the purchase of LifeMiles:

As you can see, we saw some slightly better promotions last year, though LifeMiles has made improvements to the program since then, like adding Lufthansa first class redemptions and mixed cabin awards.

Buying LifeMiles counts as an airfare purchase

LifeMiles processes mileage purchases directly, meaning that buying miles with them qualifies as airfare spend. 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

Acquiring LifeMiles for ~1.47 cents each is a great deal. I suppose the catch is the quantity you have to buy to get that price, as $3,300+ isn’t an insignificant amount to spend on miles.

As I always say, everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves as to whether or not this makes sense. There are great values to be had, though I also wouldn’t be hoarding points.

Do you plan on buying LifeMiles with up to a 125% bonus?

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Comments

  1. I still haven’t been able to find any availability on LH more than the ~5 days out window (which looked like it had come back for a few days). Are you seeing long-term availability?

  2. I bought some when they had 150% bonus last year. Not sure I will buy it at 125% bonus this time. Great value though.

  3. Does anybody know for accounts with an address in the EU, out of which country will Avianca make the Credit Card Charge?

  4. I wonder if they allow to buy and spend miles to new Lifemile members with no flown segments…Any ideas?

  5. I’ve not redeemed on this program before. Do they have restrictive routing rules (a la AA) or are they more flexible? (e.g. can I fly to Asia via Europe or do I have to go TPAC?)

  6. Just bought 60k miles for $990 ($0.0165 per mile) for two Economy flights from Europe on TAP. I was able to add on the positioning flight to Lisbon for no additional miles. When I redeemed the miles on lifemiles.com, the total additional costs equaled just under $190. So in all, flew across the pond during the summer busy season for about $590 one-way.

  7. Oh and to answer others questions: I had just created my lifemiles account, never flown a segment with them. The points posted immediately. Paid with cc. Also you can search award flights only after creating an account by going to “Enjoy” –> “Air Tickets”. I had also researched Star Alliance awards with the Chrome Award Flights app/extension.

  8. Lucky,

    Been checking on LifeMiles the pass few months for ANA F availability for NRT – JFK in July and Aug..and nothing is showing up…what are the chances of it opening up last min?

  9. Just created a Lifemiles account and bought 39000 miles. The credit card has been charged but the miles are not showing in my account…. Any suggestions?

  10. Trying to search an award LAX-PVG in F, no availability.
    Trying to search in separate routes, LAX – NRT in F and NRT – PVG in C, both operated by ANA.
    Is it possible to book the mixed cabin award in 90K miles (F award to Asia) by phone?

  11. Thanks for the info Lucky!

    I know SQ barely (if any) release award business/first for their 777-300ER and A380 products but do you know if there are certain routes where they are available? I’ve been searching through lifemiles and can’t find any. Love their product and would love to try out the new business class.

  12. Are you allowed to visit Lufthansa First Class Lounges/Terminal in Frankfurt when you have spent Life Miles?

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