Buy LifeMiles (Star Aliance) For Just 1.1 Cents Apiece

Reprising an offer from September and from mid-November, LifeMiles is selling miles with a 200% bonus through December 3.

You can buy up to 200,000 miles per year, and if you haven’t bought any miles yet this year that means you can buy 200,000 miles now and receive 600,000. That comes at a cost of $6600 or 1.1 cent per mile. Any purchase from 1000 to 200,000 miles will receive a 200% bonus.

LifeMiles offers miles cheap so frequently that they’re effectively the unofficial consolidator for Star Alliance airline distressed inventory, you buy seats cheap that other airlines aren’t going to sell (and so are offering them as awards) by buying miles from LifeMiles.

The frequent flyer program is a separate company from Star Alliance member Avianca, but the airline has re-acquired a substantial portion of the stake they already own. For the miles to remain valuable the airline needs to stay in business. That looks certain to happen now that they’ve received court approval to access debtor-in-possession financing in their bankruptcy case.

Avianca LifeMiles is one of my favorites. They offer domestic US flights from just 3500 miles, and transatlantic awards for as little as 13,500 miles. You can even save miles on a premium cabin award by adding a segment in a lower class of service.

They’re a transfer partner of Citi, American Express, and Capital One so you can combine points into a LifeMiles account, and you can earn their points quickly with their credit card as well.

You can fly business class to Europe for 63,000 miles each way or Southeast Asia for 78,000. And that’s before special deals or cutting the cost with lower-cabin connecting flights.

I think this is a great deal, and I think both Avianca and LifeMiles will make it through Covid times. However my advice is to buy miles only if you have a current use. I wouldn’t stock up for the future. There have long been great deals on purchase of these miles, and I’d rather pay 1.3 cents in the future while hedging risks than 1.1 cents today if I didn’t have immediate ticketing plans.

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. Was coincidentally looking at availability from HND-JFK 2 days ago and there was plenty in NH F-class… now looking almost nothing. Seems these go hand-in-hand with limiting the award availability a bit 🙁

  2. Hmm, I admit this gives me pause (have never purchased LM miles in the past – never got the numbers to work for me quite as well as other buy offers such with AA or AS).

    But – still think I’m going to pass. I hear what you’re saying Gary and tend to agree re: going under, but I just don’t trust them enough not to pull something shady last minute such as a devaluation (I’m not even talking about the chance of them going under)

  3. I might bite. I’m still sitting on a substantial stash, but have had no trouble redeeming.

    On the other thing, this discount smacks a bit of desperation.

  4. Found a good deal, but travel restrictions are in place in Japan and Taiwan. What if I just pass through those countries transferring within the same terminal on the same day? ie. never (have to) go through customs, if possible at HND and TPA? Will they prevent transfers same day/same terminal?

  5. “but I’d be happy to speculatively book for next summer for instance.” —

    are you looking to cancel booking if it doesnt fall through? There is a cancellation fee still right?

  6. I can use this promotion for next day flights. And there are some routes right now where LifeMiles is asking for less miles than usual as they are running some kind of special award travel promotion too.

  7. Gary, I just discovered a good tip that you might want to mention the next time you write about LifeMiles. My only problem with them ever has been the difficulty of getting an agent on the line when you need to cancel a ticket. Just today I called and waited on the line three times for exactly 10 minutes before the line disconnected each time. Since the flight is tomorrow I worried about not being able to cancel in time.

    Solution: I called back and chose Spanish instead of English and was connected in 30 seconds. It was a bit painful for the agent but we got it done. The key words are all simple cognates: “nombre”, “numero”, “reservacion” “ruta” “cancelar”. People who don’t know any Spanish might ask a friend to call for them.

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