How To Buy LifeMiles With An Amex Card

Filed Under: AviancaTaca, Great Deals
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As I first wrote about a few days ago, the LifeMiles program is offering a special 150% bonus on purchased miles for readers of OMAAT. Not only is 150% the biggest bonus I ever recall seeing on purchased LifeMiles, but there’s also no minimum of how many miles you have to buy to get the best deal. You can purchase anywhere between 1,000 and 200,000 miles pre-bonus and receive the 150% bonus (in the past you typically needed to purchase 101,000+ miles to achieve the lowest cost).

With this promotion, you can buy LifeMiles for just 1.32 cents each.

One of the other cool things about LifeMiles is that they process the purchase of miles directly, and as a result purchasing LifeMiles qualifies as airfare spend. That’s great, since plenty of credit cards give 2-5x points per dollar spent on airfare, which can help you maximize the points you earn.

My single favorite card to use for airfare purchases is The Platinum Card® from American Express, as it offers 5x points. The catch is that for whatever reason LifeMiles’ website often has issues with processing American Express cards. They don’t seem to have an issue with Visa cards, so you can always use something like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card and earn 3x points, and that should work just fine.

However, there’s a trick to using an Amex card to pay for LifeMiles purchases. If the LifeMiles website won’t accept your Amex card as payment, you should be able to phone up the LifeMiles call center, and they can process your transaction by phone. It seems like there’s no issue with having Amex cards accepted by phone. Their number is 1-800-284-2622.

The reason this is significant is because I value Amex Membership Rewards points at ~1.7 cents each, so to me earning 5x points per dollar spent is the equivalent of a further 8.5% return. That’s like getting a discount of 11.22 cents per purchased mile, and really it brings down the cost per purchased mile to ~1.21 cents, which is insanely good.

As a reminder, today is the last day to register for this offer.

You have to wait 24 hours from the time you register until you buy miles through the offer to get the better bonus. You should see the better bonus reflected on the purchase page once you’re eligible.

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  1. @john – yup it keeps saying my password is incorrect and to try again…even though I logged in earlier today using the same google-saved credentials.

  2. I was considering getting an avianca credit card and benefit from the 15% discount on purchasing miles but I assume I wouldn’t get a number immediately right? so in effect it s not possible

  3. I had to do this 2 days ago with an Amex Plat. Only via call center, miles were deposited even before I hung up the call.

    When booking using the miles afterwards, the Amex went through fine via the site.

  4. @Lucky I was logged in about 3hrs back. Bought the miles. Came back to see the balance in the account. Couldn’t sign in. Not just me, all my friends also. How long b4 u think we will be log in our accounts.

  5. I can’t login either! I’m glad to hear I’m not alone. Hopefully, it’s just a glitch that will be resolved shortly.

  6. I cannot log on either. Same as other people. Earlier today, no problem. All afternoon/evening – wrong password.

  7. Lifemiles IT is crap.

    I have to call in to process my Lifemiles purchases everytime when using Amex. The website always rejects my Amex. The call center sometimes rejects my Amex. This time around the first call Lifemiles rejected the Amex. Lifemiles always blames the problem on Amex denying the transaction so I called Amex and talked to a very helpful agent who told me (as I already knew) there was no problem with my account and that Amex had not denied any charges. He said he saw a $1 authorization from Lifemiles but no charge which he said likely indicated a problem with the Lifemiles card processing portal. He waited on the phone while I made another purchase attempt through the Lifemiles website and verified that Amex was not getting the charge request from Lifemiles. He gave me his name and extension number and told me to have the Lifemiles agent call him directly if they had any problems authorizing the charge and he would assist them. Great support Amex! He suggested to wait a couple of hours and try again to give Lifemiles a chance to fix their portal. Lifemiles agents also suggested waiting a couple of hours to allow Amex time to come back online (yeah right). They have learned that sometimes it works but they are under the misinterpretation that it is an Amex problem when it is actually a problem with Lifemiles or their payment processing portal. It has been this way for at least a year so I do not hold out much hope Lifemiles IT has the skill to troubleshoot and fix the problem.

    When I called the second time I related the previous failed attempt and the Amex rep’s assurance that there was no problem on their end and that she could call the Amex agent directly to make sure the charge was authorized if Lifemiles could not get it to go through their system. Surprisingly the charge then went through OK.

  8. How many hours did you have to hold when calling the processing center?
    I especially like it when they hang up on you repeatedly.

    Good thing I know someone in Colombia (no , it’s not a drug dealer, as far as you know)

  9. I tried and failed twice through the call center to get the Amex charge through and just gave up and used my Citi Prestige instead. Had the same issues as John above, but time is running out on the promo so I just will settle for the smaller amount of TY points and get the miles than risk not getting them at all.

  10. Amex dispute this spend counts for x 5 x mileage. Just spent an hour with them on the phone being passed around various offices. I’m a platinum card holder. How does no one at amex not consider mileage purchase same as flight purchase. They are both direct airplane purchases

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