Buy LifeMiles For 1.1 Cents Each (200% Bonus)

Filed Under: AviancaTaca, Great Deals
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LifeMiles is known for the excellent promotions it offers on purchased miles. The program has just launched its Cyber Week promo, and it’s in line with the best bonuses we’ve seen from LifeMiles.

Buy LifeMiles for 1.1 cents each

Through Thursday, December 3, 2020, LifeMiles is offering a 200% bonus on purchased miles. This promotion is publicly available, and the 200% bonus applies no matter how many miles you buy, so it’s even available if you buy only a small quantity of miles. LifeMiles lets you purchase up to 200,000 miles per account per calendar year.

LifeMiles ordinarily sells miles for ~3.3 cents each, so if you buy miles with a 200% bonus you’ll be paying just 1.1 cents per purchased mile, which is a fantastic value.

Note that while a 50% bonus posts right away, a 150% bonus posts a few hours later.

Buying LifeMiles counts as airfare purchase

LifeMiles processes mileage purchases directly, meaning that buying miles with the program qualifies as airfare spending. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since they offer the following bonus miles for airline spending:

CardPoints earned on airfare spend
The Platinum Card® from American Express5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Prestige Card5x ThankYou points per dollar spent
American Express® Gold Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
American Express® Green Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Premier® Card3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent

If you pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express then you earn 5x points. I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, that’s the equivalent of a further 8.5% return. That means that the real cost of each mile goes down from 1.1 cents to 1.0 cents, which is an even better value (this isn’t cash in your pocket, but rather points in your “pocket” based on my valuation).

Should you buy LifeMiles?

First let me address this topic more generally. Avianca is in the Star Alliance, which means you can redeem LifeMiles on all Star Alliance airlines (which is what makes the program 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

Sometimes LifeMiles has promotions and redemption rates are even better than that.

With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be a great value, whether you’re looking at traveling first class on All Nippon Airways or Lufthansa, or are looking at traveling in business class on a countless number of airlines.

I recently redeemed LifeMiles for ANA first class

Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.

Do note that in some cases LifeMiles doesn’t have access to the same award availability as Star Alliance partners, for better or worse. In some cases LifeMiles doesn’t have access to partner awards that other airlines do have access to, and in other cases the inverse was true.

That’s why I always recommend doing some “dummy” award searches before buying miles, so you can get a sense of how award availability lines up with your needs.

I recently redeemed LifeMiles for Lufthansa business class

But isn’t Avianca in Chapter 11?

In May, Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, so what does that mean for LifeMiles? It’s worth noting that the LifeMiles frequent flyer program is a separate company (even though the program is majority owned by the airline), and LifeMiles isn’t part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

I’ve written in the past about what happens to airline miles if an airline goes bankrupt, so as it applies here:

  • For now it should be business as usual for earning and redeeming LifeMiles
  • In the event that Avianca didn’t emerge from bankruptcy, it’s possible that the LifeMiles program would still live on in Latin America, given how popular it is, and given that it’s spun off
  • However, if that were to happen, don’t expect that LifeMiles would still have access to Star Alliance award space, since the program would no longer be associated with a Star Alliance airline

More specific to Avianca’s situation, the airline has received a loan worth hundreds of millions of dollars, so the way I view it, the airline isn’t in serious risk of going out of business anytime in the next few months. Of course things can always change, but that’s where things stand as of now.

Obviously there’s some risk here with buying miles, as there always is, especially with no immediate use in mind.

Bottom line

LifeMiles is offering a 200% bonus on purchased miles, which is in line with the best offers we see from the program. Best of all, the 200% bonus applies regardless of the quantity of miles you buy, so there’s no need to buy a huge quantity to get that bonus.

We’ve only seen a 200% bonus twice before, so this is fantastic. This is an opportunity to buy miles for as little as 1.1 cents each, and potentially even less when you factor in the value of the credit card rewards that you earn for buying miles.

My general take is that I wouldn’t buy miles unless you have a use for them in the next few months. That being said, if you do have a use for them, this is a phenomenal deal:

  • I purchased miles during the last promotion, and have already spent them, so I’ll be buying more here (I’ve maxed out the purchase possibilities through my account, so we’ll be buying them through Ford’s account)
  • I’m looking for transatlantic business class flights on Lufthansa, which cost 63,000 LifeMiles; at an acquisition cost of around one cent per mile, you really can’t beat ~$630 for a one-way transatlantic flight

Everyone will have to decide for themselves. There’s risk, miles can always devalue, etc., but personally I’m a buyer here. And for the record, I don’t get any sort of a kickback if you buy miles here.

Do you plan on buying LifeMiles with a 200% bonus?

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  1. Yes. I brought both my brothers over from Brazil for 50k miles each, totaling $1500 Canadian on AC business. They need to go back eventually and, at 1.5k Canadian round trip in business on AC, that’s a phenomenal value!

  2. I’d be sceptical of any such promotions as long as you as a buyer have no control of the future value of miles. Unless you plan to fly in the very near future, that cash is safer in the bank.

  3. I need to extend my expiration of a bunch of miles so doing this for 3,000 miles for $33 seems like a better option than transferring points. I will probably do it.

  4. No, but only because I don’t expect to travel for some time due to the pandemic and don’t have any whose expiration needs extension. If not for the pandemic, I very probably would.

  5. Purchased over an hour ago and still not seeing the miles (or received any confirmation email).

    Anybody else have experience of how long this may take?

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