LifeMiles has just launched their latest major promotion on purchased miles
With this new offer, LifeMiles members can receive up to a 125% bonus on purchased miles between May 7 and June 5, 2019.
Specifically, they’re offering a tiered bonus, as follows:
- Buy 1,000-50,000 miles, get a 100% bonus
- Buy 51,000-100,000 miles, get a 115% bonus
- Buy 101,000-200,000 miles, get a 125% bonus
How much is LifeMiles charging per mile?
LifeMiles ordinarily charges 3.3 cents per mile, which doesn’t factor in any sort of discounts.
In order to unlock the best cost per mile, you need to buy at least 101,000 miles pre-bonus in one transaction. The maximum number of miles you can buy is 200,000 pre-bonus, so if you do that you’d pay a total of $6,600 for 450,000 miles, which is a cost of 1.47 cents per mile.
I should note that a 125% bonus is typical as far as LifeMiles promotions on purchased miles go. In the past they’ve sometimes offered extra discounts to OMAAT readers towards the end of the promotion, so we’ll have to wait and see if they do that this time around.
How to achieve an even lower cost on purchased miles
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|
|Citi Prestige Card||5x ThankYou 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 ~1.47 cents each, if you used The Platinum Card® from American Express you’d earn 5x Membership Rewards. I value Membership Rewards at 1.7 cents each, so to me, that’s the equivalent of an additional 8.5% return, bringing down the “real” cost to ~1.34 cents per mile.
Should you buy LifeMiles?
Avianca is a member of Star Alliance, which means you can redeem LifeMiles on all Star Alliance airlines (which is what makes them so great). 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
Business class between the US and Europe can be a great option as well.
Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.
Historically, LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to all the same space that other Star Alliance programs do. Avianca recently introduced a new website, which seems to have solved part of their problem with booking partner award tickets, but in the process may have created a whole new problem.
Some have reported issues using the LifeMiles site, and specifically with pulling up partner award availability that is available through other airlines. So if you are going to buy miles, I’d recommend first doing a few availability searches to make sure you can find the space you want.
It’s nice to see LifeMiles offer another bonus on purchased miles. A bonus of up to 125% is typically what they offer when they have a bonus. In the past, they’ve sometimes had further promotions for OMAAT members, and we’ll see if they offer one of those this time around, if you want to hold off.
I buy LifeMiles every year and consistently receive excellent value with them, so I think there are plenty of circumstances under which buying them could make a lot of sense.