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Great deal: Book business-class tickets at premium economy prices with this Avianca LifeMiles sale

Jan. 19, 2023
8 min read
AC Signature class
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Through Jan. 25, you can purchase Avianca LifeMiles — one of our favorite airline currencies — at just 1.25 cents apiece. This promotion, which is very similar to one that was offered at the end of last year, is one of the best deals we’ve seen on LifeMiles.

Avianca is a member of Star Alliance, so you can use LifeMiles to book Star Alliance itineraries even if you never step foot on an Avianca plane. Better yet, LifeMiles often requires fewer miles to book Star Alliance award seats than United MileagePlus and other popular programs.

Avianca’s current LifeMiles promotion lets you purchase LifeMiles with up to a 165% bonus through Jan. 25 using this promotion from One Mile at a Time.

Once you register for the promotion, head to the LifeMiles site to purchase LifeMiles at as little as 1.25 cents per mile. In some cases, this can bring the effective cost of a business-class ticket down to what you’d pay for a premium economy ticket if you book outright.

Here’s everything you need to know about the current LifeMiles sale and some of the best ways to use it.

Should I buy LifeMiles?

DANIEL MUNOZ/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Before we dive into some Star Alliance itineraries, I want to lay out a few disclaimers.

Beyond the limited Star Alliance award space, LifeMiles may increase the miles required to book a given flight at any point without notice. In other words, while 63,000 miles might get you across the Atlantic right now, there’s no guarantee that the award rates will stay the same for flights booked later. For example, LifeMiles recently increased award rates to Asia without notice. Because of this, I don’t recommend buying miles unless you have a specific redemption in mind that you plan to book immediately.

For the examples below, I’m assuming you’re buying at least 51,000 LifeMiles, the minimum to unlock the 165% bonus. You must register on this landing page from One Mile at A Time for the full 165% bonus. Again, this deal is valid through Jan. 25.

Note that you can purchase up to 200,000 base miles (before the bonus) each year, and LifeMiles expire after 12 months of earning inactivity on your account. You can keep your miles from expiring by earning miles, even if it’s transferring just 1,000 points from a credit card. Remember that your miles will expire if you have more than 12 months without earning LifeMiles.

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Is this a good deal?

On paper, buying LifeMiles at 1.25 cents apiece is a solid deal — and it’s one of the better sales we've seen recently.

This price is significantly lower than TPG’s valuation of 1.7 cents per LifeMile. However, the value you’ll get from your LifeMiles depends on how you redeem them. Typically, the best value is found when you book last-minute domestic flights and business-class international itineraries.

If you buy fewer than 51,000 LifeMiles, you can earn a smaller bonus. Here's the breakdown for this particular sale:

  • Buy 1,000-20,000 miles, and get a 145% bonus.
  • Buy 21,000-50,000 miles, and get a 155% bonus.
  • Buy 51,000-200,000 miles, and get a 165% bonus.

This promotion also comes with a 10% rebate on base mileage purchases when you travel from the U.S. to Europe before Feb. 17. For example, if you buy 200,000 miles (the maximum number of LifeMiles you can buy in a year), you'd receive 530,000 miles with the 165% bonus. By redeeming 63,000 LifeMiles for a one-way business-class partner flight, you'd receive 20,000 LifeMiles (10% of the base miles you bought) back.

LifeMiles has informed us that mileage rebates take approximately 15 days from the completion of the flight.

Related: When does it make sense to buy points and miles?

Sample LifeMiles redemptions

Let’s look at a few examples using a mileage purchase rate of 1.25 cents.

Vienna for roughly $800 in Austrian business class

Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER business class. JT GENTER/THE POINTS GUY

Although it operates a fleet of only nine long-haul aircraft, Austrian Airlines has a great business-class product. When I flew with Austrian Airlines in 2017, a designated “chef” was on board and prepared a royal assortment of Viennese delicacies. Business-class passengers could select what they wanted from the meal cart as it passed down the aisle.

Dessert consisted of Sacher torte (Austrian chocolate cake), apple strudel and freshly brewed Viennese lattes. Yum!

Austrian Airlines flies to O’Hare International Airport (ORD), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Dulles International Airport (IAD) and seasonally to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

This ticket costs 63,000 LifeMiles, so pay roughly $800 after factoring in taxes and fees.

Related: Flight review: Austrian Airlines (767-300) business class from Vienna to JFK

Geneva, Switzerland, for roughly $800 in United Polaris business class

United’s business class on the Boeing 767-300ER. ZACH HONIG/THE POINTS GUY

United flies its “high-J 767” between Washington and Geneva. The 1-1-1 configuration is ideal for single travelers but isn’t the best option for families or those traveling with companions.

Still, with 46 seats in business class, it’s often not too hard to find award space. Also, a real highlight of the Polaris experience is access to the Polaris lounge at IAD, which recently joined the lineup of Polaris lounges. This ticket requires 63,000 LifeMiles, so you’ll pay around $800 for the ticket after factoring in taxes and fees.

Related: 16 rows of biz: Reviewing Polaris on United’s ‘high-J’ 767-300ER

Taipei, Taiwan, for under $1,100 in EVA Royal Laurel business class

Lobster dinner in EVA’s business class. ETHAN STEINBERG/THE POINTS GUY

If poached lobster and butternut squash with pumpkin ravioli, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 Champagne and Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits pique your interest, EVA’s business class is a good choice.

As you might expect, award space is scarce. But at the time of writing, there is some EVA Royal Laurel business-class award space on U.S. routes next fall. If you find seats, the LifeMiles promotion is your ticket to a sub-$1,100 flight to Taiwan.

LIFEMILES.COM

Related: Flight review: EVA Air Boeing 777 in business class from Houston to Taipei

Need more LifeMiles?

When you buy LifeMiles, I suggest paying with a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. That way, you’ll earn 2 Capital One miles for each dollar you spend. Or if you'd prefer earning American Express Membership Rewards points, The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express earns 2 points per dollar on up to $50,000 in purchases per year, then 1 point per dollar.

As you might have guessed, both Capital One miles and Amex Membership Rewards points are transferable to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio, along with Citi ThankYou Rewards points.

Related: How (and why) you should earn transferable points

Bottom line

It’s great to see another LifeMiles sale, particularly since this one has one of the lowest LifeMiles purchase rates we’ve seen.

You’ll have to act fast. This promotion offers up to a 165% bonus when you buy LifeMiles so that you can travel on long-haul premium Star Alliance tickets for prices close to economy class. Just make sure you register first with your LifeMiles number on this page before going to LifeMiles’ buy-miles page.

You can always refer to our guide to the current points and miles promotions so you never miss a deal.

Featured image by KYLE OLSEN/THE POINTS GUY
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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There’s a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It’s been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you’re hitting the skies soon, you’ll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there’s no reason that the foodie shouldn’t add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits.
  • Few travel perks and protections.