United awards from 6k points, Lufthansa first for 70k points with new transfer bonus
Citi is a TPG advertising partner.
While LifeMiles is an airline program you may not know much about, there are a number of great reasons to get to know it better. You can redeem as few as 6,500 LifeMiles for domestic United awards. Or, if it's luxury you seek, you can book Lufthansa First Class for 87,000 LifeMiles plus around $30 in taxes/fees.
And those sweet spots just got even sweeter: Now through Dec. 11, 2019, you'll get a 25% bonus when transferring Citi ThankYou Points to Avianca LifeMiles. ThankYou Points normally transfer to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. After the bonus is added, you'll get 1,250 LifeMiles for every 1,000 ThankYou Points you transfer.
TPG values LifeMiles at 1.7 cents each and when ThankYou Points added LifeMiles as a transfer partner in November 2017 TPG increased the value of Citi ThankYou Points to match.
For years, Avianca LifeMiles has been known to be a wholesaler of affordable Star Alliance awards, selling points for cheap and offering reasonable redemption rates. While incredible mileage sales are still offered, LifeMiles has also added numerous transfer partners including Citi in 2017 and then American Express Membership Rewards (1:1) and Capital One miles (2:1.5) in November 2018.
While Avianca's customer service leaves something to be desired, its award chart is great both for short-haul economy flights and long-haul premium cabin redemptions. Unlike other Star Alliance programs, Avianca doesn't pass on fuel surcharges on airlines like Lufthansa.
This means you can book Lufthansa awards from the US to Europe for 63,000 miles each way in business class and 87,000 miles in first class. Most importantly, these awards will come with around $30 in taxes, as opposed to $500+ if booking through Aeroplan. With this transfer bonus, you can transfer 51,000 ThankYou Points to book Lufthansa business class or 70,000 points to book first class.
If you don't have enough Citi points, LifeMiles is currently offering a bonus for transferring points between accounts that effectively lets you mint points at 1.35 cents each. And you can use LifeMiles + Money to buy the remaining miles you need at the time of redemption for as little as 1.5 cents each.
LifeMiles is one of the few loyalty programs to split the US into different award zones, and those rates just changed in July 2019 -- mostly for the better. Domestic award flights on United currently start at just 6,500 LifeMiles. With this 25% transfer bonus, that's even better of a deal.
In addition to reasonable economy rates, you can also redeem 25,000 for lie-flat business class for cross-country flights. During the transfer bonus, that's just 20,000 Citi ThankYou Points plus $31 in taxes/fees for a lie-flat seat from Newark (EWR) to San Francisco (SFO):
In addition to point transfers from American Express, Citi and Capital One, LifeMiles regularly runs attractive bonuses on purchased miles. Whatever trip you're planning, it shouldn't be hard to top up your account and get you where you want to go. Just make sure to transfer your Citi ThankYou Points before midnight on December 11, 2019, to score the 25% bonus.