LifeMiles Offering Bonus On Purchased Miles

Filed Under: AviancaTaca, Great Deals
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LifeMiles has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles.

LifeMiles’ Latest Bonus On Purchased Miles

LifeMiles has just launched their latest promotion on purchased miles. This promotion is targeted, so different accounts will be eligible for different offers, so you have to log into your LifeMiles account to see what offer is available to you. The promotion is valid for purchases through October 2, 2019.

In the case of my account, I’m eligible for a 145% bonus, as follows:

  • Buy 1,000-12,000 miles, get a 115% bonus
  • Buy 13,000-40,000 miles, get a 135% bonus
  • Buy 41,000-200,000 miles, get a 145% bonus

That’s a fairly low threshold for unlocking the maximum bonus, as they often make you buy 101,000+ miles pre-bonus to unlock the highest percentage bonus.

However, I’m told that the much more common promotion is for up to a 130% bonus, as follows:

  • Buy 1,000-10,000 miles, get a 100% bonus
  • Buy 11,000-50,000 miles, get a 105% bonus
  • Buy 51,000-100,000 miles, get a 120% bonus
  • Buy 101,000-200,000 miles, get a 130% 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.

For the version of the promotion I received, in order to unlock the best cost per mile you need to buy at least 41,000 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 490,000 miles, which is a cost of 1.35 cents per mile.

Again, this is all based on my offer, and other people may see different offers on their account. If you were targeted for up to a 130% bonus, you’re looking at a cost of ~1.44 cents per mile.

How To Achieve An Even Lower Cost Per Purchased Mile

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:

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
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

So 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.

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

With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be a great value, especially for first class travel on ANA or Lufthansa.

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. Earlier this year Avianca 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.

The last thing to note is that Avianca is having some financial trouble at the moment. While they have the necessary financing to continue operations, it’s at least worth being aware of their financial struggles.

Buying LifeMiles Summary

It’s nice to see LifeMiles offer another bonus on purchased miles. Different members seem to be targeted for different bonuses, ranging from 130-145%.

The 140% public bonus is exceptional, while the 130% bonus is in line with what they usually offer, give or take. So you’ll want to log into your LifeMiles account to see what you’re eligible for.

I buy LifeMiles every year and consistently get excellent value with them, so I think there are plenty of circumstances under which buying them with a short term use could make sense.

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  1. I got even less: I plugged in 50,000 miles to buy. They offered me an additional 52,500 miles for a total of 102,500 miles at a cost of USD $1,650.

  2. @ Ben — Wow, I can’t believe you still push this rapidly devaluing currency. The CEO recently said Avianca is bankrupt, and the search engine doesn’t return most of what is available via other Star Alliance partners. Buyer beware.

  3. @Gene – I don’t see how it is rapidly devaluing at the moment (it might in the future). You could check what you need and if available, buy the miles required (no one should buy speculatively). I just booked a couple of tickets long-haul EVA in J (SIN-JFK) for 78,000 lifemiles and NO surcharges… I called them to make sure that availability matched what I saw on their app, I transferred thank you points – instant transfer – and then booked the whole thing on the lifemiles app with no glitch. And it was ticketed right away. It all depends on what one is looking for.

  4. My husband passed away suddenly in Aug. I informed them and they forfeited his miles and didn’t even offer to return the tax!
    Then they cordially tells me they returned the sector that he booked with my miles and tax.
    Every other other airline – MAS, SIA Qatar, I had to unravel, returned the points and money even though they were non refundable tickets.
    They must be desperate to rob a dead person!
    We bought and kept miles for years – can’t wait to get rid of mine!

  5. If you buy the miles and book immediately and get it ticketed and they go bankrupt do you lose your ticket? Or do you still have your ticket? My assumption is yes and you would only lose it if you cancelled?

  6. @pdxluver, yes i know the difference. Thise companies are from his brother. But althought they say it is a different is the same!! Only in papers. They had the same problems, but they did is separate. Instead of calling lifemiles they called it amigo.
    Buy as many miles as you want..if you use them now now it is ok… but no way to stock like before. Che this link…

    Do what yoy want!!

  7. Lifemiles tickets will be worthless if they go “bancarotta” as mentioned in the article, so you wouldn’t want to book too far ahead! OK your creditcard company would refund what you paid for the ticket, but that’s effectively just the taxes on an award-ticket. You’ll lose whatever you spent on buying points.

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