The LifeMiles program has just announced that they’re offering a 100% bonus on transferred miles between November 6 and 9, 2017. 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 100% bonus). In other words, transferring 75,000 miles would cost $1,125, and you’d receive a total of 150,000 miles in the account you transfer to. So that’s like being able to generate miles for 1.5 cents each while being able to consolidate miles into a single account.
This is a solid deal, though for what it’s worth we have seen LifeMiles outright sell miles for slightly less every so often, with prices as low as 1.375 cents each. The catch is that those promotions typically have a high minimum in terms of the number of miles you need to buy to achieve the lowest cost per mile, which doesn’t apply here.
As far as redeeming LifeMiles go, Avianca is in the Star Alliance, so check out the Star Alliance award chart for redemption rates. 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
With a specific use in mind, this promotion can be a great value, especially for first class travel on ANA or Asiana. ANA first class between the US and Japan for ~$1,350 one-way is a pretty darn good value, if you ask me.
Of course everyone has to crunch the numbers for themselves and decide whether this makes sense or not.
The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to all the same space that other Star Alliance programs do. So you’ll want to do an online search to make sure the type of redemption you’re looking at is eligible. For example, they often block awards in Lufthansa first class, Austrian business class, all Air China flights, etc.
If you do end up paying to transfer miles, 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:
- The Platinum Card® from American Express — 5x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- American Express® Gold Card — 3x Membership Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — 2x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
- Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card — 3x Ultimate Rewards points per dollar spent
LifeMiles’ 100% bonus on transferred miles is a good opportunity if you’re looking to consolidate the balances of mileage accounts. If you’re just looking to outright acquire miles, you’ll sometimes see opportunities to outright buy miles for less (with a large minimum purchase amount), so this isn’t necessarily the promotion I’d take advantage of.
However, there’s an annual limit on how many miles you can buy, and transferring miles doesn’t count towards that limit, which is another reason this could be useful.
Do you plan on transferring LifeMiles with a 100% bonus?