Buy Up to 150,000 LifeMiles for 1.5 or 1.65 Cents Each. Good Deal?

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Avianca LifeMiles is running a 2 x 1 sale on the purchase of their miles through May 29, 2015. You can buy up to 75,000 LifeMiles during the sale and get up to 75,000 bonus miles.

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LifeMiles cost 3.3 cents each, so with a 100% bonus, you get the miles for 1.65 cents each. For instance, 120,000 total miles would be $1,980 or 1.65 cents each.

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If Your Account Is Not Registered in the USA, You Can Get 1.5 Cent Miles

While Americans are being offered a 2 x 1 promotion, some folks are receiving a 2.2 x 1 promotion, which would bring the price of LifeMiles down to 1.5 cents each. FlyerTalker demue reports that offer:

Our 2×1 promotion is back! But this time with more miles, from May 5th until the 29th, buy LM1,000 and you´ll receive LM2,200. Don´t miss the opportunity, to enjoy in our wide network of partners.

If your LifeMiles account is registered in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador, United States, or Colombia you get the 2 x 1 offer. Elsewhere you get the 2.2 x 1 offer.

I changed my country from United States to Spain. I’m still just getting the 2 x 1 offer because LifeMiles goes with your country as of May 5 it appears, but if a similar promotion comes along I’ll get the better offer.

When to Buy (Math)

For Americans, this deal allows you to buy any amount of miles in increments of 2,000 from 2,000 to 150,000 at 1.65 cents per mile. How many should you buy?

For many people the answer is zero. As with most mile sales, the main way it make sense to buy miles at these prices is if you have an immediate high value use for them.

But there are a ton of deals on the LifeMiles award chart, which allows one way redemptions with no fuel surcharges on all 27 Star Alliance partners, so an immediate high value use is very possible.

Do not just use the award chart, though. Make sure you can book what you want to book on lifemiles.com. You can do an award search with zero miles in your account. The reason for this extra step is that if you can’t book your award online, LifeMiles call centers are nearly useless.

Also remember that you cannot mix cabins on LifeMiles awards. That means you can’t fly domestic economy to connect to international Business Class. And your international First Class awards are probably only going to be one segment, since they cannot connect to Business Class regional flights.

One thing you’ll also learn from searching on lifemiles.com is that you probably shouldn’t buy all the miles needed for an award at 1.65 cents. Most LifeMiles awards offer the chance to pay just 40% of the required miles and buy the rest for 1.5 cents during the award booking.

For instance, here is a search from Washington Dulles to Havana Cuba. It costs 17,500 LifeMiles + $31.65 or 7,500 miles + $181.65.

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Buying miles during the award booking will often be cheaper than buying them for 1.65 cents as in this case. In this case, the best deal would be to buy 8,000 miles from the sale for 1.65 cents each, and then book the award for 7,500 miles + $181.65. The total cost of a one way trip to Cuba would be:

  • $132: 8,000 miles at 1.65 cents each
  • $150: 10,000 miles at 1.5 cents each
  • $31.65: taxes and fees
  • $315.85 total, unbeatable for a one way award to Cuba

There are similar deals all over the world and in all cabins through this sale, too many to list here. Investigate where you want to go on the award chart and then make sure you can book the award you want. If the math works out, buy LifeMiles.

Buy LifeMiles with These Credit Cards

LifeMiles purchases are processed directly by Avianca. That’s great news!

It means you can buy them with your Citi Prestige® Card, and its $250 Air Travel Credit will refund you the first $250 of the purchase price of the miles (plus you’ll earn 4x ThankYou Points on the first $250 of the miles purchase.)

It means that the Citi ThankYou® Premier Card offers 3x ThankYou Points on the purchase of LifeMiles.

It means you can purchase LifeMiles, then use your Arrival miles for an offsetting statement credit.

Bottom Line

You can buy 150,000 Avianca LifeMiles for $2,475 or 1.65 cents each. That’s too high to buy speculatively, but there are a lot of immediate awards you can book where that price offers great value.

The LifeMiles sales are now processed by Avianca itself, so you can get category bonuses on cards that bonus airline or travel purchases like my latest card, the Citi Prestige® Card which offers 3x on purchases from airlines and a $250 Air Travel Credit, or you can use your Arrival Plus to get American Airlines miles for zero cash.


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

The comments section below is not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all questions are answered.

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12 COMMENTS

  1. I like to book aspirational awards with my mile.

    Unfortunately, Lifemiles now blocks virtually all the Star Alliance first class seats. I believe the only four airlines that Lifemiles can be used of first class travel is United, Asiana, and ANA. United is pretty blah, and their is only a few routes that Asiana and ANA fly with F seats (and generally cannot connect off of first class awards)

    Also when looking at business class redemptions, I am finding it easier to find business class fares with availability for less then it costs to buy the lifemiles on the routes that are available.

    • That’s not true. You can still redeem first class on TG and CA, although neither of them is anything outstanding other than the ground service on BKK with TG. I believe the only thing they block is LH. SQ, SWISS…etc won’t allow first class redemption other than it’s own members so it’s not LM’s fault. Other than these, I can’t think of any other *A airlines that still offer first class.

      @Scott. LM will book awards that can’t be searched on line. It requires a technic call “screenshot”. Basically, if you need to go from A to C and transiting at B, sometimes when you search A to C directly it will show no availability. However if you search A – B and B – C separately, it might be available. What you do then is take screenshots of A – B, B – C showing these flights are available to book online with LM, then take a screenshot of A – C which has no availability, send all 3 screenshots to LM, as long as it’s within their routing rule (ie. No mixed cabin and layover < 8 hrs), they will book it for you as one award. Basically, you need to prove those seats are available online with LM. They don't care what ANA/UA sites say.

      I used this method to book a couple of trips on TG F between SYD-NRT for 50k miles each way. Bargain!

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