LifeMiles is known for the excellent promotions they offer on purchased miles. They’ve had fewer promotions on purchased miles lately in light of circumstances. However, LifeMiles has just published their latest promotion, and it offers the lowest cost on purchased miles that we’ve ever seen from them.
Full disclosure — I’m not getting a kickback here, but rather I’m just happy to be able to share this exclusive, great deal with readers. Below I’ll address some of the concerns people may have about buying LifeMiles, as everyone has to decide for themselves whether it’s worth it or not.
LifeMiles Offering 155% Bonus To OMAAT Readers
Through Friday, June 26, 2020, LifeMiles is offering a 155% bonus on purchased miles through OMAAT. The publicly available bonus is for 150%, so this promotion is even better.
One other awesome thing about this promotion is that you get the 155% bonus no matter how many miles you buy, anywhere between 1,000 and 200,000 (pre-bonus). In the past most promotions were tiered, where you’d have to spend thousands of dollars to get the lowest cost per mile.
LifeMiles ordinarily sells miles for ~3.3 cents each, so if you buy miles with a 155% bonus you’ll be paying just 1.29 cents per purchased mile, which is a fantastic value.
To take advantage of this you need to register for the 155% bonus promotion, and then you should immediately see the increase when you try to buy LifeMiles. Make sure you see the correct bonus when you go to buy miles.
Buying LifeMiles Counts As Airfare Purchase
LifeMiles processes mileage purchases directly, meaning that buying miles with them qualifies as airfare spending. Therefore you’ll want to consider using one of the following cards for your purchase, since they offer the following bonus miles for airline spending:
|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|
|American Express® Green 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|
If you pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express then you earn 5x points. I value those points at 1.7 cents each, so to me, that’s the equivalent of a further 8.5% return. That means that the real cost of each mile goes down from 1.29 cents to 1.18 cents, which is an even better value (this isn’t cash in your pocket, but rather points in your “pocket” based on my valuation).
Should You Buy LifeMiles?
First let me address this topic more generally. 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
Sometimes they have promotions and redemption rates are even better than that.
With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be a great value, whether you’re looking at traveling first class on All Nippon Airways or Lufthansa, or are looking at traveling in business class on a countless number of airlines.
I recently redeemed LifeMiles for ANA first class
Everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.
Do note that in some cases LifeMiles doesn’t have access to the same award availability as Star Alliance partners, for better or worse. In some cases they haven’t had access to partner awards that other airlines did have access to, and in other cases the inverse was true.
That’s why I always recommend doing some “dummy” award searches before buying miles, so you can get a sense of how award availability lines up with your needs.
I recently redeemed LifeMiles for Lufthansa business class
LifeMiles promises not to devalue miles
The LifeMiles program is run by smart people. Since the program is based so heavily around people buying and transferring miles, we haven’t seen LifeMiles devalue in the same way that other programs have. It wouldn’t be in their best interest to do so.
LifeMiles knows that some people are worried about award chart devaluations, so they’ve let me know that even though they have no intent to change award rates, for members who purchase miles with this promotion they’ll honor the current award pricing until at least January 2021.
This is a smart move. I believe them when they tell me they have no plans to raise award costs, but this is a nice guarantee.
But isn’t Avianca in Chapter 11?
In May, Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, so what does that mean for LifeMiles? LifeMiles is a separately owned program, and LifeMiles isn’t part of the bankruptcy proceedings.
I’ve written in the past about what happens to airline miles if an airline goes bankrupt, so as it applies here:
- For now it should be business as usual for earning and redeeming LifeMiles
- In the event that Avianca didn’t emerge from bankruptcy, it’s possible that the LifeMiles program would still live on in Latin America, given how popular it is, and given that it’s spun off
- However, if that were to happen, don’t expect that LifeMiles would still have access to Star Alliance award space, since the program would no longer be associated with a Star Alliance airline
Obviously there’s some risk here with buying miles, as there always is, especially with no immediate use in mind.
LifeMiles has a fantastic promotion on purchased miles, offering up to a 155% bonus. This is an opportunity to buy miles for as little as 1.29 cents each, and potentially even less when you factor in the value of the credit card rewards that you earn for buying miles.
Personally I redeemed over 500K LifeMiles last year. I purchased 250K LifeMiles during the last promo (at a slightly higher cost). I had redeemed them almost immediately, though ended up having to cancel the travel, so I still have a sizable balance.
In all cases where I redeemed LifeMiles, booking through that program represented a better deal than booking through any other program.
In light of current circumstances I’d probably only buy LifeMiles with a short term use in mind. Not because I am too worried about LifeMiles’ future (personally), but rather because there’s a cost to holding onto miles.
Do you plan on buying LifeMiles with a 155% bonus?