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The LifeMiles program has just announced that they’re offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles between July 18 and 25, 2017. Obviously this is only useful if you have an existing LifeMiles mileage balance, since you can’t transfer miles you don’t have.
LifeMiles charges 1.5 cents per transferred mile, and you can transfer up to 75,000 miles per year (before the 100% bonus). In other words, transferring 75,000 miles would cost $1,125, and you’d receive a total of 150,000 miles in the account you transfer to. So that’s like being able to generate miles for 1.5 cents each while being able to consolidate miles into a single account.
In the past, LifeMiles would consistently offer a 100% bonus on purchased miles (1.65 cents each) and a 100% bonus on transferred miles (1.5 cents each), in which case transferring miles was the better value, given the lower cost. However, as of late, LifeMiles is consistently offering more than a 100% bonus on purchased miles, in which case that can be a better value.
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.
If you do end up paying to transfer miles, keep in mind that LifeMiles processes mileage transactions directly, meaning that this would qualify 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
LifeMiles’ 100% bonus on transferred miles is a good opportunity if you’re looking to consolidate the balances of mileage accounts. If you’re just looking to outright acquire miles, you’ll sometimes see opportunities to outright buy miles for less, so this isn’t necessarily the promotion I’d take advantage of.
However, do keep in mind there’s an annual limit on how many miles you can buy, and transferring miles doesn’t count towards that limit, which is another reason this could be useful.
Do you plan on transferring LifeMiles with a 100% bonus?