A bit over a week ago I wrote about how LifeMiles was offering a 115% bonus when you transfer LifeMiles between accounts.
Today is the last day of that promotion, and LifeMiles has even upped the bonus for OMAAT readers.
Transfer LifeMiles and get a 120% bonus
Today only (July 12, 2019), LifeMiles is offering a 120% bonus when you transfer LifeMiles to another member. That’s 5% better than the normal bonus.
This promotion is available to OMAAT readers who register at this link before transferring miles. Note that the 115% bonus will post immediately, and then the extra 5% bonus will post within five business days, as LifeMiles is posting those miles manually (so the price you see on the purchase page will be with a 115% bonus).
To be clear, this is only referring to transferring miles between LifeMiles accounts. This doesn’t apply to transferring flexible points to LifeMiles, for example. This is only useful if you have an existing LifeMiles mileage balance, since you can’t transfer miles you don’t have.
LifeMiles charges 1.5 cents per transferred mile, and you can transfer up to 75,000 miles per year (before the 120% bonus). In other words, transferring 75,000 miles would cost $1,125, and you’d receive a total of 165,000 miles in the account you transfer to. So that’s like being able to generate miles for 1.25 cents each (since you’re generating 90,000 miles for $1,125) while being able to consolidate miles into a single account.
Generating miles for 1.25 cents is an excellent price, and even lower than the usual cost at which LifeMiles sells miles. For example, even when LifeMiles offers a 140% bonus on purchased miles, you’re looking at a cost of 1.375 cents per mile.
So this is an excellent deal, and is not only useful if you’re looking to consolidate miles into a single account, but can generally be worth it.
Get an even better deal by using the right credit card
The real cost potentially gets even lower. If you take advantage of this, keep in mind that LifeMiles processes mileage transactions directly, meaning that this would qualify 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:
|Card||Points earned on airfare spend|
|The Platinum Card® from American Express||5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Citi Prestige Card||5x ThankYou points per dollar spent|
|American Express® Gold Card||3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Reserve®||3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
|Citi Premier℠ Card||3x ThankYou points per dollar spent|
|Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card||2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent|
For example, if you’re earning 5x points per dollar spent, and you value those points at 1.7 cents each (as I do), that’s like a further 8.5% return. That essentially makes the cost per purchased mile ~1.14 cents each.
Should you generate LifeMiles at this cost?
Avianca is in the 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
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. Avianca recently 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.
There have also been questions about whether or not it makes sense to buy LifeMiles given the financial complexities at Avianca right now — in general I wouldn’t make speculative purchases, but if you’re buying miles to use right away or in the next few months, I wouldn’t be worried.
LifeMiles doesn’t offer as many bonuses on transferred miles as they used to. Being able to generate miles for 1.25 cents each (potentially even less after factoring in credit card rewards) is an excellent deal.
Do you plan on transferring LifeMiles with a 120% bonus?