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. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Please check out my advertiser policy for further details about our partners, including American Express, Chase, and Citi, and thanks for your support!
LifeMiles has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles, valid through February 28, 2017.
Through this promotion, LifeMiles is offering up to a 125% bonus on purchased miles. This is a tiered offer, where you get a bigger bonus the more miles you buy, as follows:
- Buy 1,000-50,000 LifeMiles, get a 100% bonus (~1.65 cents per mile)
- Buy 51,000-100,000 LifeMiles, get a 115% bonus (~1.53 cents per mile)
- Buy 101,000-200,000 LifeMiles, get a 125% bonus (~1.47 cents per mile)
However, on top of that, some accounts seem to be targeted for a 135% bonus. This seems to be for those who purchased LifeMiles recently, based on the wording of the email I received.
For example, when I go to the “buy miles” page for my account, I have the opportunity to purchase 470,000 miles for a total of $6,600, which is a cost of ~1.4 cents per acquired mile.
With “just” the 125% bonus, you’re looking at a cost of ~1.47 cents per mile.
For 2017, LifeMiles has increased the maximum number of miles you can purchase per calendar year from 150,000 to 200,000 miles. This is pre-bonus, so in practice you can acquire a lot more miles per year thanks to the big bonuses they offer.
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.
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:
- US to Europe in business class costs 63,000 miles
- US to Europe in first class costs 87,000 miles
- US to Southeast Asia in business class costs 78,000 miles
- US to North Asia in first class costs 90,000 miles
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:
- Earlier in the month, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
- Last December, LifeMiles offered up to a 140% bonus when you buy miles
- Last November, LifeMiles offered up to a 140% bonus when you buy miles
- Last September, LifeMiles offered up to a 140% bonus when you buy miles
- Last July, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
- Last May, LifeMiles offered up to a 135% bonus when you purchase miles
- Last February, LifeMiles offered up to a 100% bonus when you share miles
As you can see, most of the bonus offers are roughly in the same range. Often the biggest difference is the number of miles you need to buy in order to activate the highest possible bonus. So in general I recommend buying LifeMiles based on when you’re ready to redeem them, rather than based on the minimal differences in the bonuses.
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:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Citi Prestige® Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Citi ThankYou® Premier Card — 3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Reserve℠ Card — 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Here we’re seeing LifeMiles offer a 125-135% bonus on purchased miles, which can represent a great deal. If you’re looking to book a premium cabin Star Alliance ticket, I’d seriously consider taking advantage of this offer.
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 in general I also don’t like to hoard miles.
Do you plan on buying LifeMiles with a 125-135% bonus?