Last month LifeMiles offered miles at 1.2 cents apiece via a mileage transfer bonus. Now they’re offering miles for just 1.1 cent apiece through a more straightforward bonus on purchases.
September 25 (Update: Extended through September 29) you earn a 200% bonus on the purchase of Avianca LifeMiles. 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.
- Purchase 1,000-50,000 miles: 150% bonus (1.32 cents/mile)
- Purchase 51,000-100,000 miles: 175% bonus (1.2 cents/mile)
- Purchase 101,000-200,000 miles: 200% bonus (1.1 cents/mile)
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.
Right now they’re even offering up to 20% off some airline partner redemptions (HT: One Mile at a Time) Destinations are generally closed to Americans at the moment but I’d be happy to speculatively book for next summer for instance.
Deals are generally to Tokyo, Seoul, and Taipei. For instance get a 13,500 mile discount each way flying first class between New York JFK and Tokyo or 18,000 miles off first class San Francisco – Tokyo.
The frequent flyer program is a separate company from Star Alliance member Avianca, but for the miles to remain valuable the airline needs to stay in business. That looks certain to happen thanks to $370 million in loans from the Colombian government as part of the carrier’s bankruptcy restructuring.
Star Alliance frequent flyer program 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.