Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
Update: This offer for the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
LifeMiles has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles, valid through May 30, 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)
With the 125% bonus (which kicks in if you buy at least 101,000 miles pre-bonus), you’re looking at a cost of ~1.47 cents per mile.
However, on top of that, some accounts seem to be targeted for a bigger bonus, apparently based on having the Avianca LifeMiles Credit Card, or based on having recently purchased miles.
When I log into my account I see the opportunity to purchase miles with up to a 135% bonus, presumably because I purchased miles during the last promotion. However, go figure I can’t actually maximize the bonus since I’d exceed the annual limit on purchased miles.
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:
- This February, LifeMiles offered up to a 140% bonus when you buy miles
- This February, 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:
- 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
LifeMiles is publicly offering up to a 125% bonus on purchased miles, and some members who purchased miles in the past or have their co-branded credit card, are getting targeted with even bigger bonuses. If you’re looking to book a premium cabin Star Alliance ticket, this could be a good deal.
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.