LifeMiles Added As Amex Membership Rewards Transfer Partner

Filed Under: American Express, AviancaTaca
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Here’s an exciting development. The US Amex Membership Rewards program has just added Avianca LifeMiles as a transfer partner. Points transfer from Amex to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio.

Earn Amex points with the following cards:

LifeMiles will be Amex Membership Rewards’ 18th airline and hotel partner, so they still have the advantage of having more partners than both Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou.

Aer Lingus Aer ClubChoice Privileges
Aeroméxico Club PremierHilton Honors
Air Canada AeroplanMarriott Bonvoy
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Alitalia MilleMiglia
ANA Mileage Club
Avianca LifeMiles
British Airways Executive Club
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
Delta SkyMiles
Emirates Skywards
Etihad Guest
Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles
Iberia Plus
JetBlue TrueBlue
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Amex is the second transferable points program to add LifeMiles, as Citi ThankYou added LifeMiles as a partner in November 2017. That leaves Chase Ultimate Rewards as the program not partnering with them.

As many of you may be aware, LifeMiles is known for frequently having bonuses on purchased miles, and they can often be acquired for as little as 1.375 cents each. So it’s fantastic to be able to top off those accounts with both Amex Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou points.

LifeMiles is a great program for booking Star Alliance award tickets. LifeMiles joins the other Star Alliance frequent flyer programs that partner with Amex Membership Rewards, including Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA Mileage Club, and Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer.

You can find LifeMiles’ Star Alliance award chart here. To give a few examples of one way premium cabin redemption rates:

  • 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

Redeeming LifeMiles for ANA first class is a great value

Furthermore, LifeMiles offers short-haul economy awards within the US starting at just 7,500 miles one-way, so they’re a great program for that as well.

The great thing about the LifeMiles program is that they allow one-way award tickets, they don’t impose fuel surcharges, and partner airline awards can be booked directly through their website.

The one consideration is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to all the same award 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 eligible.

Redeem your LifeMiles for Thai first class

Bottom line

I’m thrilled to see Amex Membership Rewards add LifeMiles as a transfer partner. Personally I’d still rather buy LifeMiles at a discount than transfer Amex points, but I know plenty of people will find this useful, especially given how many points per dollar some Amex cards offer. Who knows, maybe we’ll even see a transfer bonus at some point.

There are some circumstances under which LifeMiles will represent a better value than KrisFlyer or Aeroplan, while there are other circumstances where they won’t.

While I’m generally happy about this development, I do wish we’d see the major points currencies add more unique partners. At this point they have so many overlapping partners that there’s less of a difference than before. Then again, I guess many of the truly unique programs that are valuable don’t see much reason to make their points so easily accessible (like how we recently saw Korean Air pulled as an Ultimate Rewards partner).

Are you excited to see LifeMiles added as an Amex transfer partner?

(Tip of the hat to @ShaulyPaley)

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  1. That is OUTSTANDING news to see Lucky! AMEX truly is ramping up the full court press here with so many of us reaping the benefits. You have to think that sooner or later Chase is going to have to adjust/fix something, be it higher categories or 5/24 or something (we all hope!).

  2. @Stephen. Yes. No reason to earn Citi TYP now. This was the one unique partner that derives value without hassles in redeeming. Thanks Amex!

  3. Great addition, especially since I just joined the buy Lifemiles subscription and got approved for the Amex Gold 🙂

  4. @Chaz and @Stephen I’m not so sure about that. At least with Citi you have greater flexibility to spend your points through the portal at higher value than you would with Amex (unless you have Plat Biz). I still will use the highest-points earning card for whatever the category, now that all 3 major transferables are beginning to lose their differentiation.

  5. This is great, but buying Lifemiles during a promo or subscribing for a plan might make more sense though given that the purchase rate drops to 1.35 to 1.4 cents a mile. Best things about this is that you can buy mixed cabin tickets, which lowers the cost of premium cabins is mixed with economy. I booked JFK to KIX on LH via FRA on economy/business mixed cabins, for only 59k miles + $65 per ticket total.
    Also needing just 40% of miles out of total amount for award ticket is great, meaning you can just transfer just the amount you need from your MR.

  6. @Lucky do you know if transferring miles to lifemiles will reset the expiration timer on lifemiles of 1 year? I assume so.

    If so, I think this is probably the most useful for that purpose, where We don’t have to buy more lifemiles and I can just deposit 1k into the account and we’ll reset the clock on the 1 year expiration.

  7. excelente @Lucky !!! @lifemiles va camino a ser el mejor programa de viajero frecuente de Star Alliance. Cheers

  8. I also would like to know whether a deposit extends the expiration date of miles in my account. I over-purchased or underused miles for my recent trip and have about 9800 left in the account that will expire next year.

  9. Huge addition for myself. This was the only reason for my to earn TY points. I can now focus on UR and MR once again. Only issue with LifeMiles is they often have issues booking Copa flights, hopefully that’s something they will resolve.

  10. I have emailed LM inquiring about the expiration extension with MR. The web page that explains expiration is here:

    In any case, a safe method is to use their cheapest monthly accrual plan that basically gives you 8000 miles for $120 spread over a year (1.5 cpm).

    If your balance is already zero, then you just need to transfer miles for the next trip.

  11. All things considered I’d still prefer to send 55,000 MR over to aeroplan instead of 63,000 to LM for US – Europe (as long as it’s for LX at low fees, have one of those coming up in three weeks). Eagerly waiting for a Thanksgiving LM sales with added OMT bonus!!!

  12. I don’t see why this should take away from the value of TY points. They are still able to be used for the same amount of travel, no matter who else Avianca decides to sell miles to. If anything, I appreciate the ability to use both TY and MR points for Lifemiles awards. I DO think the rumored disappearance of the 1.25c/pt for airfare on TY points devalues them a bit. 1c/pt is a terrible value compared to transferring to lifemiles, krisflyer, or virgin atlantic club.

  13. Please note that the excitement is only around Amex US issued cards which is probably only a fraction of the Amex cards issued world wide.

  14. I just booked a lifemiles ticket from Africa to US on SWISS for 77k mikes. Bargain. Wasn’t showing up on United or Aeroplan.

  15. I can confirm that the transfers are NOT instant. A number of the other articles mentioned that they are supposed to be, but I tried transferring last night and I’m still waiting for the points to show up. The confirmation page on Amex said “Transfers are usually instant, but could take up to 48 hours.”

  16. Update on this – i just transferred from Amex, and the points transferred immediately. Seems that they have corrected whatever IT glitch was causing the delays.

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