A few weeks ago I wrote about how LifeMiles was offering a bigger bonus on purchased miles for our readers. This promotion was supposed to expire on June 5, 2019, though LifeMiles has just let me know that the special increased bonus for OMAAT readers has been extended through June 10, 2019.
If you haven’t pulled the trigger but are interested, you have a few days remaining to do so.
At each of the levels, OMAAT readers will receive an additional 15% bonus, meaning you can earn up to a 140% bonus on purchased miles. Here’s what the bonus chart looks like for OMAAT readers who register:
- Buy 1,000-50,000 LifeMiles, get a 115% bonus
- Buy 51,000-100,000 LifeMiles, get a 130% bonus
- Buy 101,000-200,000 LifeMiles, get a 140% bonus
LifeMiles ordinarily sells miles for ~3.3 cents each, so if you max out the promotion and buy miles with a 140% bonus, you’re paying just 1.375 cents per purchased mile, which is a fantastic value.
Again, this special OMAAT promotion is now valid through June 10, 2019. To take advantage of it you need to register for the 140% 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 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|
So 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 1.375 cents to 1.26 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?
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.
If you haven’t yet taken advantage of the increased bonus on purchased miles for OMAAT readers, you have a few extra days to do so. Thanks to LifeMiles for offering this, and I hope some of you who had been on the fence about buying miles are able to take advantage of it.
In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t get anything from LifeMiles if you buy miles through this link — I’m just grateful that they offer a better than normal bonus to our readers.