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Transfer Amex points to Avianca LifeMiles with a 15% bonus

May 03, 2021
4 min read
Swiss 777 business class
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Avianca's LifeMiles program is a TPG favorite. The miles are transferable from several major credit cards and can be redeemed for Star Alliance flights at extremely attractive redemption rates.

You can normally transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. But for a limited time, you'll get an even better ratio of 15% more LifeMiles when you transfer Membership Rewards points.

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Amex Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles bonus

Through May 31, you can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles with a 15% bonus. As always, transfers are in increments of 1,000 points.

Note that the promotion is being offered directly by LifeMiles so the bonus won't be reflected on Amex's site. You'll see the bonus miles as a separate line item in your LifeMiles account. There is no limit to how many points you can transfer and there is no registration required.

(Photo courtesy of LifeMiles)

Redeeming LifeMiles

LifeMiles has several hidden gems coupled with low taxes and fees. For instance, Lufthansa first class (a TPG favorite) from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Frankfurt (FRA) will set you back just 87,000 LifeMiles one-way. Swiss business class on the Airbus A330 from New York-JFK to Zurich (ZRH) is only 63,000 miles one-way. Here's more of what you can get:

  • Short-haul domestic United flights in economy: From 6,500 miles
  • United transcontinental business class flights: 25,000 miles
  • Flights to South of South America in economy: 30,000 miles
  • Flights to New Zealand or Australia in economy: 40,000 miles
  • Flights to Europe in business class (with no fuel surcharges): 63,000 miles
  • Flights to North Asia in business class: 75,000 miles
  • Flights to Middle East in business class: 78,000 miles
  • Flights to Europe in Lufthansa first (with no fuel surcharges): 87,000 miles

Related: The 6 best airline award chart sweet spots

Avianca LifeMiles can be a great way to book awards on United-operated flights. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Remember that you won’t need to transfer those full amounts from Amex with this promotion since you’ll be getting a 15% bonus. Instead, divide the price of your award by 1.15 to calculate the “effective” number of Amex points. Then, round to the nearest 1,000-point increment.

For example, if you plan to book a United transcontinental business class flight, you’ll need 25,000 miles. Here’s the calculation:

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25,000 ÷ 1.15 = 21,739 points

You’ll get 22,000 Amex points when you round up, which is worth $440 based on TPG valuations — not bad considering these flights often sell for over $700 each way.

Should you transfer points now?

We generally only recommend transferring points if you have a near-term plan to use them. With the travel industry turning to rewards programs to drum up cash, promotions like these could spell out devaluations in the future. Transfers are irreversible, so you don’t want to be stuck with thousands of points in a program you have little use for.

Also, be aware that LifeMiles usually expire 12 months after the most recent mileage accrual. Other transactions, such as redemption transactions, don’t extend the validity of the miles.

How to earn Amex Membership Rewards points

If you don't want to miss offers like this in the future, these cards are great picks for earning American Express Membership Rewards points:

Victoria M. Walker contributed to this story.

Featured image by (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/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.