Update: This offer for the Citi Prestige® Card is expired. Learn more about the current offer here.
LifeMiles has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles. While most of their promotions are valid for weeks at a time, this one is only valid for a few days, through Friday, July 14, 2017.
This seems to be a targeted promotion, where different accounts are eligible for different bonus offers. For example, one account I manage is offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles, no matter how many you buy:
Meanwhile another account I manage is offering a 125% bonus on purchased miles, no matter how many you buy:
There may be other offers out there as well.
While we’ve seen LifeMiles offer slightly bigger bonuses in the past (at least than the version I was targeted for), what makes this unique for some is that the 125% bonus applies even when buying miles in small increments. Typically LifeMiles requires you to buy lots of miles to achieve the lowest cost per mile, so that’s one advantage of this promotion.
With 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?
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 (there are no fuel surcharges on any awards):
- 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.
The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to all the same space that other Star Alliance programs do. So you’ll want to do an online search to make sure the type of redemption you’re looking at is eligible. For example, they often block awards in Lufthansa first class, Austrian business class, all Air China flights, etc.
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 May, LifeMiles offered up to a 140% bonus when you buy miles
- 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, though this one isn’t quite as good as some of the past bonuses in terms of the lower cost per purchased mile. However, the advantage here is that you can achieve the highest bonus when buying just a few thousand miles, which is great for people looking to just top off an account.
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
While the current promotion lasts only a few days, it’s an opportunity to buy miles in fairly small increments with big bonuses. You’ll want to check your account to see what kind of an offer you’re targeted for. 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.