LifeMiles Now Lets You Buy Elite Qualifying Miles For Award Flights

You’ve gotta appreciate how creative LifeMiles is with their offerings. In addition to constantly having sales on purchased miles, they have some other creative ways to get members to engage with the program, including the monthly mileage subscription they recently introduced.

LifeMiles seems to have recently introduced yet another interesting new feature that I don’t think we’ve seen from another program before. This is of limited use to many since it only applies to award flights on Avianca, but I think it’s an interesting concept nonetheless, and one that I’d love to see other loyalty programs add.

LifeMiles has introduced QualiMiles, which allows you to buy elite qualifying miles for award flights that you take on Avianca. Like I said, this will be of limited use to most since this only applies to travel on Avianca, and you can only earn elite status in the LifeMiles program. So this doesn’t work if you’re redeeming miles for travel on United and want elite qualifying miles with MileagePlus, for example.

So, how does this work? When you go to book your award flight on Avianca, at the bottom right of the page you should be able to check a box indicating that you want to purchase QualiMiles.

Then within a few days you should receive an email with the cost to buy the elite qualifying miles. In the example they give, from Bogota to Miami, the cost to purchase 1,513 elite qualifying miles is $31.73, so that’s about two cents per elite qualifying mile, which is pretty good. I imagine the cost will vary based on a variety of factors, but that’s an attractive price. Of course that assumes you’d get value out of the elite qualifying miles, and that you’re otherwise going for status with the LifeMiles program. If not, this will be of limited value.

Kudos to LifeMiles on the innovation here. This isn’t something I’d personally take advantage of since I’m not going for status with them, though this is a concept that I’d love to see expanded. Unless something in their Star Alliance contract prohibits them from doing so, I think it would be interesting to see them also sell elite qualifying miles in the LifeMiles program for travel on Star Alliance partner airlines.

I’d also like to see more programs introduce this. However, given the highway robbery rates at which other programs sell elite qualifying miles at the end of the year, I doubt most other programs could make this lucrative enough to be worthwhile.

At what cost would you buy elite qualifying miles for your award flights?

(Tip of the hat to Jeremy)


  1. They see their miles as a “cash cow” and are clearly determined to milk it to the last drop 🙂

  2. I’ve got think that, Economy+ seating notwithstanding, I’d rather be an elite with Avianca than United, given how hard upgrades are to get anymore. If you’re Gold with Lifemiles, you’d at least you’d score lounge access on domestic flights thanks to being Star Gold.

  3. It would be cool if they sold EQMs to Avianca’s elite pax for awards on other Star Alliance partners. They could give them a period afterwards in which the could call Lifemiles and buy them.

  4. I used to have top tier status with American Airlines and United Airlines. With the lack of benefits I decided to drop to no-status and just purchase or use miles to get the seats I want.

    At first I missed the status, but after 2 years now, I am very pleased that I stopped chasing the upgrade and status hamster wheel. I now usually fly in F, or fly in coach on short flights. I use my credit card for lounge access.

    Biggest difference, I am spending thousands of dollars less.

    Even if they offered me Avianca Star Gold for $500, I would pass. Status is just worth pennies in my opinion. So good for them, but I think one should really evaluate the benefits of their status before spending $$$

  5. I think @Greg is on to something. Frankly, if I wasn’t a weekly traveler I would do the exact same thing. And, honestly, its what the airlines want – to segment us, good for them on actually pulling it off.

  6. I was chasing status credits for Qantas lifetime gold (I would not chase status on a year by year basis) and was targeting less than 3 cents a credit. The only way I got close was a blitz of purchases during a double status credits promo.

  7. I’m a LifeMiles member. If I use LM to buy a ticket for my son, can I still buy QualiMiles that are applied to my status even though I’m not the person flying?

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