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Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
Since early May, Avianca’s LifeMiles program has been offering up to a 125% bonus on purchased miles. It’s worth noting that this promotion expires tomorrow, Tuesday, May 31, 2016, so you have one day left to take advantage of this offer.
The bonus is structured as follows:
- 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 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.
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.
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)
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:
- This February, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
- Last December, LifeMiles offered up to a 150% bonus when you purchase miles
- Last October, LifeMiles offered up to a 150% bonus when you purchase miles
- Last September, LifeMiles offered up to a 145% bonus when you purchase miles
- Last July, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
- Last May, LifeMiles offered up to a 120% bonus when you purchase miles
- Last February, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
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:
- Citi Prestige® Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent ($250 airline credit can also be used towards this purchase)
- Citi ThankYou Premier Card – 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- American Express Premier Rewards Gold — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
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.
But if you are interested in the promotion, you have just a day to still purchase miles.
Do you plan on buying LifeMiles with up to a 125% bonus?