Update: It appears that not everyone is seeing this offer on their account. I’m working on investigating, though see no reason it would be targeted, so I’d recommend being patient.
LifeMiles has just launched their latest major promotion on purchased miles, which is available for four days only. The LifeMiles program is offering up to a 140% bonus on purchased miles through Monday, November 12, 2018.
Through this promotion, LifeMiles is offering a tiered bonus on purchased miles, as follows:
- Buy 1,000 to 50,000 miles, get a 115% bonus (1.535 cents per mile)
- Buy 51,000 to 100,000 miles, get a 130% bonus (1.435 cents per mile)
- Buy 101,000 to 200,000 miles, get a 125% bonus (1.375 cents per mile)
LifeMiles ordinarily charges 3.3 cents per mile, so if you purchase at least 101,000 miles (pre-bonus) you’d end up paying 1.375 cents per mile.
Note that when you click the above link you won’t actually see the correct offer promoted. It seems they’re using an old banner accidentally. However, when you enter how many miles you want to buy (in the “other” box), you should get the correct pricing.
This offer is about as good as you’ll see on the purchase of LifeMiles. Typically when there’s a promotion, LifeMiles offers a 125% bonus. Then sometimes they’ve offered a 140% bonus on a targeted basis, or to readers of OMAAT. Here they’re offering everyone a 140% bonus, so that’s great.
Furthermore, LifeMiles has temporarily increased the cap on how many miles you can buy from 150,000 to 200,000, pre-bonus.
Should you buy LifeMiles?
When it comes to redeeming LifeMiles, Avianca is in the Star Alliance, so check out the Star Alliance award chart for redemption rates. To give a few examples of one way premium cabin redemption rates (there are no fuel surcharges on any awards):
- US to Europe in business class costs 63,000 miles
- US to Europe in first class costs 87,000 miles
- US to Southeast Asia in business class costs 78,000 miles
- US to North Asia in first class costs 90,000 miles
With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be a great value, especially for first class travel on ANA or Asiana. ANA first class between the US and Japan for ~$1,240 one-way is a pretty darn good value, if you ask me.
Or business class between the US and Europe will just run you ~$870, which is an excellent value as well.
Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.
The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to all the same space that other Star Alliance programs do. So you’ll want to do an online search to make sure the type of redemption you’re looking at is available. However, they have access to more space than in the past, so I don’t find this to be as big of an issue as it used to be.
Buying LifeMiles counts as airfare purchase
LifeMiles processes mileage purchases directly, meaning that buying miles with them qualifies as airfare spend. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since they offer the following bonus miles for airfare spend:
|Card||Points earned on airfare spend|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|American Express® Gold Card||3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Citi Premier℠ Card||3x ThankYou points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
So while the cost to purchase LifeMiles is as low as 1.375 cents each, if you used The Platinum Card® from American Express you’d earn 5x Membership Rewards points. I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so to me that’s the equivalent of an additional 8.5% return, bringing down the “real” cost to ~1.26 cents per mile.
A 140% bonus on purchased LifeMiles is typically as good as it gets. It’s tough to go wrong buying LifeMiles for 1.375 cents each (and potentially even less when you consider the value of the points you earn for credit card spend).
I book LifeMiles award tickets all the time, and love that they allow one-ways and don’t have carrier imposed surcharges. Just remember that the availability they have doesn’t always match what other programs see.