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.
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 Club||Choice Privileges|
|Aeroméxico Club Premier||Hilton Honors|
|Air Canada Aeroplan||Marriott Bonvoy|
|Air France/KLM Flying Blue|
|ANA Mileage Club|
|British Airways Executive Club|
|Cathay Pacific Asia Miles|
|Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles|
|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
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)