LifeMiles New Subscriptions Let You Buy Miles Even Cheaper Than Before, Waive Change Fees

The new LifeMiles U.S. credit cards are interesting, especially their premium $249 annual fee card that offers an initial bonus of up to 100,000 miles and comes with a LifeMiles+ subscription.

The Avianca LifeMiles American Express Elite Card product normally costs $20 per month, or $240 per year, and gets you:

  • 10% discount on partner flight redemptions
  • 10% – 25% off Avianca (paid) flights
  • 500 bonus miles per month
  • Double miles earned on each card statement, up to 1,000 bonus miles per month
  • Extended mileage expiration (24 months), “access to exclusive reduced mileage campaigns, qualifying miles, and up to 40% discount in hotels/car rentals”

You can earn 18,000 extra miles per year and get 10% of the miles redeemed back with can be tens of thousands of miles – or more. That makes the subscription and card worthwhile for those who use LifeMiles.

This is only the lowest of four subscription levels, however. And cardmembers can use the $20 monthly Lite+ subscription cost as a credit to upgrade to the higher subscription tiers where things get pretty interesting.

For $200 per month ($180 for cardmembers) you get 10,000 miles per month and also a doubling of miles earned on the card up to 10,000 miles in addition to the other benefits of the program. If you’re using the card that’s 20,000 more miles for $180, which is 9/10ths of a cent per mile. However if you view the card as worth it to get (bonus) and worth it to keep (benefits) but it isn’t seeing much spend then the math won’t make sense on the top tier.

But what I love is that for every tier except the first one fees are waived for changes and refunds on award tickets.

  • Changes normally cost $150
  • Cancel/redeposit miles runs $200 (for premium cabin long haul), but can be as low as $50 (short haul coach)

An incremental $30 per month for the second tier gets you 2,000 miles, plus up to another 2,000 miles using your card, and waived fees. Even if you’re just getting 2,000 miles for $30 that’s 1.5 cents apiece and you’re coming out ahead on the deal with a single award ticket change in a year.

Obviously, if you subscribe, you’ll be bought into the LifeMiles ecosystem. It’s valuable. Many card issuer points transfer to them, they generally have reasonable award pricing and no fuel surcharges – and they’ve been investing in better customer service, too.

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, 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. “You can earn 18,000 extra miles per year and get 10% of the miles redeemed back with can be tens of thousands of miles – or more.” (sic)

    Are you using cheap voice dictation software? These kind of nonsensical statements are a weekly occurance now. They did not use to be.

  2. Too many negative experiences with LifeMiles + very little award availability means this is a “no” for me.

  3. You have to spend $30k to get the 100k bonus – that’s only 3x on spending for the bonus itself. Yes I get there are multipliers for monthly spend with caps you can navigate if you want to plan it, but compare that to say $10k or even $15k for 100k and it’s a watered down bonus.

  4. I have 84,000 miles that I need to pay the $200×2 redeposit fee from a flight I didn’t take last month. If I sign up today, will I be able to avoid that fee?

  5. I signed up a few days ago and called today to cancel an award booking. The agent tried to have me pay a cancellation fee, and once I informed her that I was a Lifemiles + member she informed me their system was not yet set up to handle a no fee cancellation. She advised me to call tomorrow. Here we go!!!

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