LifeMiles is a useful frequent flyer program that I use all the time for Star Alliance award redemptions. LifeMiles frequently sells miles at a discount, and they’re also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Capital One.
The program has done a good job maintaining steady award rates, so we haven’t seen many devaluations.
Well, LifeMiles has just announced that they’re adjusting redemption rates on some US routes for bookings as of July 15, 2019. First of all, kudos to LifeMiles for the amount of notice they’re providing, because a lot of programs don’t do that.
LifeMiles says that this change is being made to “align [their] program with other loyalty programs.” Their only major airline partner in the US is United Airlines, which sure makes me wonder if this is somehow tied in to United’s new dynamic award pricing.
So, how significant are the price increases? According to LifeMiles:
- Awards within the US will change in cost from anywhere between 7,500 miles and 12,500 miles to anywhere between 6,500 miles and 13,500 miles
- The fees associated with awards will be adjusted, from a flat $25, to $10-25
So LifeMiles is both increasing and decreasing the range of award costs within the US by 1,000 miles. LifeMiles indicates that most award costs will remain the same, though there will obviously be both increases and decreases.
Here’s the chart LifeMiles provides with a few examples comparing old and new award costs:
My instinct is that these changes aren’t a huge deal. I’d guess that on balance we’ll see cost increased based on redemption patterns, or else I imagine we wouldn’t see these changes.
LifeMiles is adjusting some award costs within the US as of July 15, 2019. Frankly I’m surprised they’re not making more significant changes, so I don’t view this as a huge deal.
On some level I can’t help but wonder what prompted this change:
- Has United renegotiated their reimbursement rates for LifeMiles awards within the US?
- Maybe this is a borderline conspiracy theory, but could it be that United forced/encouraged LifeMiles to adjust award costs to try and get people away from the mindset of thinking that domestic awards cost no more than 12,500 miles, as MileagePlus moves to dynamic pricing?
- The most likely explanation is that LifeMiles is adjusting domestic award costs to better align them with the costs they incur
What do you make of these LifeMiles award pricing adjustments?