25% Bonus On Citi Transfers To LifeMiles, Great Deals On Star Alliance, United Awards

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Star Alliance member Avianca is useful because it has an award chart similar to (but somewhat better than) United. And transfers from Citibank’s ThankYou Rewards to LifeMiles have a 25% bonus through April 30, 2022.

LifeMiles offers a reasonable award chart and no fuel surcharges redeeming on Star Alliance partners, and a number of sweet spots (like discounting an award when a segment of a business class redemption is in coach)

They’re extremely useful if you have points spread across different transferable currencies since you can pool them in the same account. While I love them for booking transatlantic business class awards on partners like Lufthansa and Swiss (I just gave a cousin a New York to Porto business class award traveling Swiss a couple weeks back), one of the really good values is Star Alliance member Avianca’s LifeMiles frequent flyer chart for US domestic travel. And United sometimes even has good availability when fares are expensive too.

Here’s a personal example of how I’ve used LifeMiles on United. I needed to go from Austin – Washington DC at the last minute, and here’s what I found on United’s website for non-stops.

The crazy thing is that United had domestic first class saver award space. Still I didn’t want to spend 25,000 United miles one-way, even though it wouldn’t be a terrible redemption considering the ticket price.

Fortunately LifeMiles treats this as a United States 1 – United States 2 award on their special domestic U.S. redemption chart. That meant just 15,000 miles one way instead of 25,000 miles. But it gets better. LifeMiles lets you redeem cash and points, buying points at a discount at time of redemption which doesn’t count against the maximum number of miles you can buy in a year. This one way ticket would cost me all-in $176.49 and 6000 miles.

Put another way my 6000 miles saved me $592.51, or 10 cents per mile. 10 cents a mile is admirable for an international premium cabin redemption (and harder and harder to do most days). This was domestic. With a 25% transfer bonus, cents per Citibank point would be even more remarkable.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Appreciate the post and heads up
    How is award availability on United through Life Miles?
    Flying Blue for Delta domestic is non existent a terrible mistake I don’t wish to ever repeat
    Also what about redeposit fees to get the miles back should one need to cancel

  2. Lifemiles are a great currency for many redemptions like TK & LH. Just remember how difficult they can be to deal with if you need to make changes or cancel. I have had to do it enough now that I don’t use them unless it’s very close in & I’m 100% sure of my plans.

  3. Don’t do it. Cancelling a Lifemiles award is going down nightmare alley. It just can’t be done. Not on line and not on the phone. I just spend all of today trying to cancel through to an agent. Constant switching to Spanish language after I select the English button and then cut off. Its constant frustration. Just don’t do it. Their phone system is just a giant snakepit. If you do get through to speak to an agent live in English, you’ll be transferred. Then it’s endless Spanish recording and finally cutoff time. I’m afraid this 100,000 plus award will be flushed down the drain.

  4. Hi Gary,

    Wanted to highlight a problem that lots of folks seem to be having — consistently — with transferring points out of Citi Thank You to airlines. QR, EY, SQ, others, and in many cases (including mine), TK. The error message is always the same:

    “When we tried to complete your Points Transfer, we encountered a system error. Please try again or contact Customer Service for help.

    They don’t seem to be doing anything to fix this.

    Here’s the FlyerTalk forum:


    If you have a contact at Citi, might be worth bringing it up with them.

    Many thanks,


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