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Update: As I mention in the post below – this offer does appear targeted though a lot of people, myself included, have been able to call in and get the 3X offer instead of the public 2X offer. Some readers appear not to be getting the higher offer and are being told it is targeted, but it is still worth calling and asking in case you are able to participate.
Lifemiles, the mileage program of Star Alliance carrier Avianca Taca has offered several great buy miles promotions with up to 100% bonuses in 2013 (including a current offer good through December 30), but they are topping themselves for one day only with a 200% bonus on purchased miles – meaning you get 3 miles for the price of one and that works out to 1 cent per mile.
You won’t see this offer if you just go to the Lifemiles buy miles page, but it was sent out in a targeted email to Lifemiles members. Even if you didn’t get the offer, however, you can call Lifemiles directly at 1-800-284-2622 in the US and ask if you can take part. I called and asked whether I was eligible despite not receiving the 3 x 1 email and they said yes, so it can’t hurt to ask.
Normally Lifemiles cost $30 per 1,000 including tax, but with this promo, you get 3,000 miles for $30, bringing the price down to 1 cent per mile, and you can buy up to 150,000 miles per calendar year, so if you haven’t taken advantage of past bonuses, this could be your chance to max it out.
While I don’t normally encourage buying miles speculatively, with the upcoming exit of US Airways from Star Alliance and a major United devaluation set to strike February 1, 2014, Lifemiles could be good to consider as one of your main Star Alliance frequent flyer programs.
You can view their award chart here, but for instance, roundtrip business class from North America to Southern South America (Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia) is 100,000 miles (135,000 in first class). So that roundtrip business class ticket to Argentina would only cost you $1,000 if you used miles – well below economy tickets go for a lot of times.
North America to Europe in business has gone up recently to 105,000 miles, but that’s still puts the cost of a ticket in terms of miles purchased with this promotion at just $1,050. Plus, Avianca lets you redeem for one-way awards, adding an extra level of flexibility that some other Star Alliance carriers including US Airways do not. Note: Avianca does not allow mixed class awards, so the same class of service must be available on all segments, which can be a major hassle. Check out this post for a rundown on buying Lifemiles vs. US Airways miles.
I would also caution that this could be the precursor to a Lifemiles devaluation, but because it’s a one-day sale, I don’t think it is. Still, though this is a great deal, I would suggest having a specific, imminent redemption in mind that you are sure you can book.
Any of you buying? If so, please leave a comment with your experience below.
Hat tip: Globetrotter HQ.