In the interest of full disclosure, One Mile At A Time earns a referral bonus for anyone that’s approved through some of the below links. These are the best publicly available offers that we have found for each card. Please check out our advertiser policy for further details about the partners we work with. Thanks for your support!
First of all, a quick reminder that four opportunities to purchase points at a discount are ending today:
- Purchase Hilton HHonors points with up to a 100% bonus, bringing the cost down to 0.5 cents per point; see my post for analysis on this value
- Purchase IHG Rewards Club points with up to a 100% bonus, bringing the cost down to 0.575 cents per point; see my post for analysis on this value
- Purchase Starwood Preferred Guest points with up to a 35% discount, bringing the cost down to 2.275 cents per point; see my post for analysis on this value
- Purchase Avianca LifeMiles with up to a 135% bonus, bringing the cost down to ~1.4 cents per mile; see my post for analysis on this value
Which offer did I end up taking advantage of?
I didn’t end up buying Hilton points, since I have a decent balance of them, and don’t find the currency to offer outsized value, given that it’s the closest thing to a revenue based hotel loyalty program on the redemption side.
I also didn’t purchase IHG points, since the extent of my stays at IHG properties are my annual free night certificate that I get through the IHG® Rewards Club Select Credit Card (which is an incredible value, but I don’t love the brand beyond that).
I also didn’t purchase Starpoints since I have a balance of 500,000+ of them, or else I might have, as it’s a great way to pick up a variety of airline mileage currencies for ~1.8 cents each.
However, I did end up buying Avianca LifeMiles. I was on the fence about it with the 125% bonus, but when I saw the increased 135% bonus, I couldn’t help but take advantage of it.
This first required registering through this link, and then waiting for the email from LifeMiles inviting me to buy miles with an extra 10% bonus.
In order to achieve the best cent per mile cost you have to purchase at least 101,000 miles, so that’s exactly what I did. That meant I purchased 237,350 LifeMiles at a cost of $3,333.
That’s a cost of 1.4 cents per mile. However, I purchased the miles using my Citi Prestige® Card, which offers triple points on airfare (and with LifeMiles, mileage purchases qualify as airfare). I value that return at ~5%, bringing down the cost per purchased mile to ~1.33 cents.
Why did I buy LifeMiles?
Of course I don’t like spending that much cash, especially since I already have millions of miles. That being said, in this case it seemed like the best option. This is the first time LifeMiles offered a bonus on purchased miles this year (they offered a bonus on shared miles earlier in the year, but not on purchased miles).
While I don’t like buying miles speculatively, I don’t know when LifeMiles will next offer a bonus on purchased miles, and am also not sure it will be as high as 135%.
The value of LifeMiles did increase for me significantly a while back, now that LifeMiles can once again be redeemed for Lufthansa first class, and given that they can finally be used for mixed cabin awards, meaning you can combine first class and business class on one award.
My balance of LifeMiles was getting low, and for the past couple of LifeMiles awards I’ve booked I’ve chosen to purchase ~50% of the miles needed at the time of booking at a cost of 1.5 cents per mile. Since my balance was getting low I figured I might as well buy the full amount needed to get the lowest cost, and I’ll simply pay for the tickets entirely with miles I already had, rather than using the Miles + Money option.
I’m hoping to fly some more Star Alliance premium products in the coming months, and LifeMiles continues to offer among the best value, given their lack of fuel surcharges, reasonable redemption rates, and low cost of purchased miles.
Did you purchase LifeMiles through the current promotion?