LifeMiles 100% Bonus On Purchased Miles Through May 30, 2014

Avianca’s LifeMiles program has just announced that they’ll be offering a 100% bonus on purchased miles through May 30, 2014.


Through this promotion you can purchase a maximum of 75,000 LifeMiles (plus the 100% bonus), at a cost of 1.5 cents per mile all-in. The promotion is only valid for those that were members of the Lifemiles program prior to May 5, 2014. You can purchase a maximum of 150,000 LifeMiles per calendar year.


When Avianca offers promotions intended to generate miles the cost is always 1.5 cents per mile, whether it’s a 100% bonus on shared or purchased miles. To put this promotion into perspective compared to recent promotions:

For more information on the LifeMiles program, check out my recent post about Avianca LifeMiles Award Chart And Redemption Basics.

As I’ve mentioned in the past, LifeMiles are simultaneously my favorite and least favorite mileage 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)
  • 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

Still, given United’s award chart devaluation and US Airways leaving the Star Alliance, there aren’t many ways to economically book premium cabin Star Alliance awards anymore. LifeMiles is one of the best programs for those awards, and at 1.5 cents per mile it’s tough to go wrong if you have a short term redemption in mind

Lastly, it’s worth noting that Avianca processes the purchase of LifeMiles directly, so it does count as airline spend for the purposes of your credit card.

Between Alaska’s up to 35% bonus on purchased miles and US Airways’ up to 100% bonus on purchased miles, it’s shaping up to be a great month for mileage sales!

Will you be taking advantage of LifeMiles’ 100% bonus on purchased miles?

(Tip of the hat to @jooliang1982)


  1. @Jon – 75000 miles actually works out to be exactly half, $1125 !
    $2250 is the normal non-discounted rate.

  2. Does the purchase count as a foreign transaction for a US-based credit card (or do they process the transaction here in their USA offices?)

  3. Lucky – Unrelated question, do you know what is the maximum number of US miles I can purchase per calendar year?

    If the maximum is say 100k, and I need 120k miles, if I can get someone to transfer the 20k to my a/c, will that work?

  4. @ Silver — There’s no limit to the number of miles you can purchase per year, just a limit to the number of bonus miles you can earn per promotion.

  5. Just FYI that availability SUCKS right now. Cannot find ANY availability to/from IAH/AUS to Brazil, Europe or Asia. Looked 6+ months ahead and no luck. They seem to have blocked United Flights.

  6. I’m very tempted by this one! I just don´t have a trip in mind at the moment! On the other hand I’m Colombian, so been stuck with 150K LifeMiles is probably not the end of the world.

    I have a question, though: If you buy the 75,000 (plus 100% extra), can you still buy miles while booking an award (if those 150K are the 40% of what you want to spend)?, or is 75K the absolute cap?

  7. It should be noted that there are severe difficulties in seeing UA space with lifemiles. Even a simple IAH-EWR with plenty of UA saver seats open are not available through lifemiles. Anyone buying would first want to check that their desired flights are bookable through LM in my opinion. There are also issues with other carriers, albeit to a lesser extent.

  8. Thanks for your reply, Lucky. Appreciate that a lot!

    If I have AA miles, will I be able to combine them with US miles to redeem on other partner airlines?

  9. lifemiles website seems have trouble to process any united biz class segment, first class on united is ok,but whenever process with biz, there is always an error message, it has been like this for a while, any thought?

  10. Another weak point of the program is that they don’t display flights with long layovers. It’s better to search first and buy the miles later.

  11. @ Silver — Eventually they’ll allow you to combine those miles, but not as of yet, and they haven’t set a date yet.

  12. @ eminere — None should, as most “basic” itineraries should show up online. And LifeMiles doesn’t exactly allow complex routings.

  13. @ Hohn — They do seem to have some website glitches with showing United award space, so you may have to call to book it, unfortunately.

  14. thank you for answer, it is simply sfo-pek or other simple route. lifemiles website shows up availability, but whenever I click continue, the error message comes up. same date,some route first class united is ok, but not biz. I tried call center, they have the same problem, they can see the space, but they can not book it. They suggest send an email to do the booking. Are they gonna fix that or they simply don’t care?

  15. @ Hohn — Ouch, that’s tough. My guess is that they simply don’t care and probably don’t feel like they have much of an incentive to fix it.

  16. If I wanted to use LifeMiles to purchase two United, domestic (say SFO-EWR), business class round trips, I’d need 100k LifeMiles. So I’d purchase 50k LifeMiles, which would cost me a measly $750, is that right? Seems too good to be true!

  17. @ Robert F — The 1.5 cents per mile factors in the 100% bonus. So 100,000 miles (50,000 miles plus the 50,000 mile bonus) would cost you a total of $1,500.

  18. very tempted by the deal as I see some availability for EVA air biz flights between SFO-TPE-HKG

    the only thing is that preventing me from buying 125k miles right off the bat is the UA booking issue that is mentioned, true or not, I would feel more comfortable if there is basic booking issues.

    I still miss the old dividend miles days

  19. I don’t know because I have a flight in 2 weeks to IAH. I booked already DOH-DXB-MIA with Swiss in J.

    Now I have enough miles for the way back in J as well… should I jump and go for Z? is there good availability from US to Middle East? I think is off-peak in US… thoughts?

  20. Yes, thanks for posting this. I just encouraged 4 people to sign up last Monday, so they can get in on this deal too.

    Lucky, could you possibly do a piece on booking with LifeMiles. I am not talking about doing tricks to misspriced cities or boomerangs, but perhaps, what airlines generally don’t show up (United) and how you can call to get availability to show up.

    Also is it me, or is there drastically less star alliance award availability then there used to be. I was looking in October to get to Europe and its slim pickings.

  21. Is there a thread on FT that keeps track of LM issues booking awards on UA?

    I’ve been waiting to jump on this offer for a long time (even before I learned about one of the “tricks”) but since I’m Houston-based, kind of need my United flights 🙁

  22. In response to a couple of posts above:
    -I’m seeing a few dates of SIN-IAH on SQ Business 77W in August on LifeMiles.
    -Your credit card may charge a foreign transaction fee even if the purchase is USD because it is processed outside the US. Check with your card issuer.

  23. SO I had contacted Lifemiles before regarding the no availability issue. I gave the rep the route I wanted and some dates and this is what I got:

    Dear Mr Adriano,

    It is my pleasure to greet you.

    On regards to your inquiry, I must inform you that the availability shown on our website are the seats released by our partners.

    We have looked availability leaving from Austin and arriving to GRU and we have found a few available seats on different dates, however, in order for us to evaluate the process to create your reservation, it is necessary that you send us the following information:

    The frequent flyer number from where you want to redeem your miles.
    All the flight information (cabin, route, range of dates to look for availability, number of passengers).
    Phone number to contact you, please specify the country it belongs to.
    The passengers information, gender, name and date of birth according to the passport.
    The screenshots of the desired dates showing lack of availability.
    Thank you for your comprehension. We will be waiting for your response.

    Kind regards,

    Karla Tattiana Meléndez

    Support Center Representative
    LifeMiles Support

    So I will contact them back once I have a more defined dates.

    Looked up today dates form Austin,IAH,SFO,LAX to Asia or Europe and no luck. I currently have 100K miles and want to book a trip for next year to Australia and Asia and wanted to use LM. Will probably have to use my US Airways and AA miles combined.

    Anyone had better luck?

    Please post your successful findings =D

  24. so i checked for the flight that i wanted at the lifemiles site.
    it shows as available. i had 0 miles in my account. i couldn’t get past the page that displays the routing and number of miles needed.
    so i call their 800 number.
    after much arguing w the rep, i give them the exact same routing. they tell me its not available. i’m like wtf!
    i see the routing avaialbe on UA site as well.
    i had them check lax-tpe separately as well.
    i’d save a few thousand miles but is it worth risking it as i need to buy the miels and if the site still gives me errors i’m SOL.

  25. Lucky can you do a piece on UA blocking? This is a key piece of the value proposition here!!!

  26. Update guys

    It seems Lifemiles is blocking United only flights. I did a search from ORD-TPE,LAX-TPE and AUS-BKK and found availability but only in economy. The flights from Austin and Chicago had connections in LAX on United and from there to Asia via Eva Air or Thai. Now when I searched AUS-LAX on the same date, no availability.

    So we got a big problem here on United only flights.

    Have anyone else had any luck?

  27. Hi Lucky

    I’m booked on an LH flight SFO-FRA operated by UA in a few days, flying in C. Can I use these miles to upgrade to F? Is there a redemption chart for upgrades (how many miles will I need)? Do they post immediately?


  28. Hi lucky I’ve just subscribed. I love your blog. Question regarding LM. If I take advantage of the bonus deal can I book a ticket in my partners name. I won’t be travelling though.

    Thanks . Martin

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