LifeMiles Offering Best-Ever 155% Bonus (Special OMAAT Promo)

Filed Under: AviancaTaca, Great Deals
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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:

CardPoints earned on airfare spend
The Platinum Card® from American Express5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Prestige Card5x ThankYou points per dollar spent
American Express® Gold Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
American Express® Green Card3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Reserve®3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
Citi Premier℠ Card3x ThankYou points per dollar spent
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card2x 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.

Bottom Line

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.

In order to take advantage of this, make sure you register for the special 155% bonus, and then you can buy 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?

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Comments
  1. Too bad their it is not updated with new destinations. For example Turkish airlines is flying to DPS (Bali) since one year already, bit the destination still not loaded in LifeMiles system….

  2. For the avoidance of doubt: Other carriers for your mileage ticket get paid the exchange value of the ticket only after the passenger has flown, not when the ticket is purchased. As a result, should Avianca fold after the award ticket is issued, but before the ticket is flown, the operating carrier would receive no compensation from Avianca (other than as a creditor who has to stand in line).

    Therefore, do not make the assumption that booking an F ticket on LH for next spring for example will be honored if Avianca goes belly up. There’s at least a 95% chance in that circumstance it will not.

  3. Hi Lucky – I love Lifemiles and the program, however, the one frustrating element is the date change fees (USD$150) and cancellation fees (USD$200). Especially in the current environment there is a lot of uncertainty, and at the same time you want to secure the award seats, but when the change and cancelation fees are so high makes these opportunities unattractive.

  4. Ben, this is a bad look.

    I don’t think you should be promoting Lifemiles while they are in bankruptcy proceedings because you are putting your name and reputation on the line should they go under.

    Lifemiles can make all the promises they want but the fact is when a company is in Chapter 11 they are no longer at the helm.

    I mean what next Ben? You promoting the Hertz stock sale?

  5. Most of us buy Lifemiles for its partners…does their promise extend to both own awards AND partners? Not explicitly stated.

    Also they specify promise to not devalue for those that take part in this promotion. So if you don’t buy, then what happens? Perhaps I’m reading too much into this…

  6. Lucky did mention LIfemiles is a complete spin off from Avianca… Even if Avianca went bankrupt LIfemiles would exist as a company. Think of LIfemiles as a marketing company + discount limited flights broker for star alliance without the context of Avianca the airline..

    Though not too sure what the implications are if avianca would dissolve and lose Star Alliance status, would Lifemiles still keep those partnerships through bilateral agreements?

  7. @Pete – you are definitely reading too much into it.

    LifeMiles is simply stating that they won’t devalue til January 2021, so for 6 months. A guarantee for 6mo is better than nothing, certainly, but it’s only 6mo so not a huge risk on their part.

    And their award pricing for partners is part of the program itself, so that is included in the promise. Again, it’s only 6mo, so… yeah…

  8. Yikes…promoting the currency of an airline that is in bankruptcy proceedings…in the middle of a pandemic… I mean, I guess if you believe the pandemic will be over by January 2021 (*spoiler alert*, it won’t be), it does hold up as “best ever bonus”. All of that said, there’s extremely little upside and extremely large downside in buying LM (or really any airline currency) currently.

  9. Not sure this is such a great deal in light of the multiple cash fare sales in recent months. We have seen USA-Europe business class tix for as little as $1600RT and $2000RT on most major carriers. Does not make sense to buy 63k miles for roughly $819 given the significant risks due to bankruptcy. Plus you lose EQM/EQD and RDM earned

  10. Hi Lucky and other readers…, I haven’t seen anyone looking into this so I’ll post again: there is something going on with LifeMiles and Lufthansa. They seem to have ZERO availability for any days, any cabins. Tried looking a day out, week out, couple months out nothing. The only thing I could get was united (some), lot polish and if I search a couple of hours Turkish. Please can someone figure out or clarify what the heck? Clearly there should be availability and even limited I would expect something… oh and the same issue applies to partners – Swiss, Austrian etc…

  11. Like always, there is way too much negativity in th comments section (no surprise), just like every other post of Ben’s where people say “it’s a bad look” or “why are you posting about this” — jeez, give it a rest! Yes, this is a crazy time for travel and hospitality, should he and every blogger (who’s *profession* this is) just pack up shop and not post anything?

    Ben said 10x that LM is a separate entity and has reported on Avianca bankruptcy — it’s not like he is fooling us or getting a kickback from LM. There is a certain level of risk in buying LM, yes, but for specific redemptions this could be a great opportunity. I have been very happy with my LM premium redemptions in the past on Asiana, ANA, Thai, TAP and United — and I credit this blog for turning me onto them.

    PS — for the person who thinks you’ll be out of luck if you book an F fare on LH for next spring — joke is on you buddy, you can’t buy LH F on LM. Have a seat…

  12. @Fio — I can see availability on LH. As part of an IAD-MUC-FCO route in Feb 2021, the MUC-FCO sector is bookable in economy on LH.

  13. @Fio

    I was also checking some flights earlier and there’s plenty of availability on LH in December (the dates I checked)

  14. Is there any specific route between the US and Japan with a better chance to find First Class on ANA? I’ve never found even business class, let alone in First Class. The only carrier I usually find is on Asiana, but business.

  15. Don’t assume that since Lifemiles are a separate legal organization from Avianca that will protect already ticketed award flights. Lifemiles is no doubt tied to Avianca’s participation in the IATA ticket clearing service for award (fare) settlement. If Avianca ceases to exist Lifemiles will not be able to settle it’s tickets via IATA with other carriers and other carriers will no longer accept their tickets for travel. Remember Lifemile tickets are issued on the Avianca ticketing “plate” (tickets start with the numbers 134). Should Avianca cease, there is no one for LH or ANA, etc to settle with.

    Not looking to be alarmist….but do want folks to understand how this will go down if Avianca close down.

  16. @Mike summarises well the situation LM will be in if Avianca does not survive in it’s present form.
    Secondly, Ben’s suggestion/warning that you should only buy LM with an immediate use in mind (like where can you go right now?) has never been more important.
    Finally, as LM will expire after just 12 months of any earning, you would do well to buy the minimum (1000 miles) to re-set your expiry date, as insurance against your miles, which you may wish to use in the future, expiring on you.

  17. First, OMAAT deserves a great deal of credit for working out an outstanding special deal for readers, as it has done before.

    Second, Lifemiles have been an excellent value. Leaving aside the occasional LATAM, TAP and Finnair deals, I haven’t seen airline alliance miles offered for less — and now, I’m not even sure with whom LATAM partners (Delta and Iberia only, taking a guess).

    But third, I have used zero airline miles this year, so I don’t feel a need to stock up. Also, if Avianca dies, which seems possible, I don’t think that alliance redemption will remain possible. So I will have to pass, and hope that we see a deal like this when — or if — Avianca and I start flying again.

  18. Some of these comments. Lordy! People, thanks for your expert opinions on risk levels and how bankruptcy protection works. Simply don’t buy LifeMiles and move on to Ben’s next post?

  19. I bought a few hundred thousand aeroplan miles and I wouldn’t touch this deal with a ten foot pole because of the bankruptcy, even ignoring everything else happening in the world.

    There are 0 guarantees about what would happen to the ability to book star alliance awards or even what will happen to booked tickets. This is a firm do not buy for me.

  20. Thanks for the notification and the best deal out there. This is a yearly ‘thing’ for LM – sometime in the early summer a buy LM for time and and half ~ or thereabouts. Been looking for and waiting for it. I understand everyone’s fear, but then again, I am one of those who never sold their Apple stock from the ’80s….

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