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Through April 30, 2014, US Bank is offering an increased sign-up bonus on the Avianca LifeMiles Visa Signature Card. The sign-up bonus on the card is ordinarily 20,000 miles, though has been increased on a promotional basis.
At the moment the sign-up bonus is 20,000 LifeMiles after the first purchase, and then an additional 20,000 LifeMiles after spending $3,000 within 120 days of card opening. The annual fee on the card is $75, though is waived for the first year.
The card isn’t actually especially compelling for everyday spend, as it just offers one mile per dollar spent. That being said, the card does offer a 6,000 mile renewal bonus on your account anniversary each year, which as of now I do value at more than the $75 annual fee.
LifeMiles frequently sells miles for 1.5 cents each, and I’ve taken advantage of that promotion several times. So I guess I do value LifeMiles at around 1.5 cents each, making this sign-up bonus worth roughly ~$600 to me.
As I’ve mentioned in the past, LifeMiles are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite points currency. The things I love about LifeMiles include:
- They allow one-way awards at half the cost of a roundtrip
- They don’t impose fuel surcharges on award redemptions
- They have competitive redemption rates (you can find their Star Alliance award chart here)
- They don’t block any partner award space, unlike US Airways
- 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 1.56 cents per mile
And then there are things I hate with a passion about LifeMiles:
- Their call center is HORRIBLE, so if your redemption requires servicing over the phone, you might as well forget about it
- They don’t allow mixed cabin awards, meaning if you book a business class award all segments have to be in business class
- They have a history of devaluing their program without notice, as I posted about here and here, so I’d only recommend buying miles with a short term use in mind
Since the United MileagePlus devaluation I would say the relative value of LifeMiles has gone up quite a bit. Star Alliance premium cabin awards are almost out of reach with MileagePlus, US Airways blocks quite a bit of partner award space and is leaving the Star Alliance on March 30, and Aeroplan imposes fuel surcharges on many carriers.
So this is definitely an offer I’ll consider in my next round of applications. Ultimately I think the Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature Card (affiliate link) is still the most compelling product from US Bank, but for those that have that card already, this is a nice secondary US Bank Card.
(Tip of the hat to Gary)