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LifeMiles is the mileage program of Colombian-based airline Avianca. But even if you aren’t interested in flying Avianca — or to Colombia — it’s worth getting to know LifeMiles. That’s because the program has made itself known as the wholesaler of cheap Star Alliance miles and award tickets, as well as regular sales on discounted miles.
And LifeMiles is back with another one of those sales. Now through July 31, members can buy LifeMiles with up to a 125% bonus. As with most programs, the standard rate for buying LifeMiles is pricey, but this bonus drops the cost down to just 1.47 cents per mile. That’s a solid deal compared to TPG’s valuation of 1.7 cents per LifeMiles.
When you go to the LifeMiles Buy Miles page, the structure of this bonus isn’t clear. However, the bonuses are laid out in an email sent to members:
- Buy 1,000 – 10,000 miles, get a 100% bonus (1.65 cents apiece)
- Buy 11,000 – 50,000 miles, get a 105% bonus (1.61 cents apiece)
- Buy 51,000 – 100,000 miles, get a 115% bonus (1.53 cents apiece)
- Buy 101,000 – 200,000 miles, get a 125% bonus (1.47 cents apiece)
That’s a pretty solid bonus, but it actually gets better. After publishing about this advertised bonus, One Mile At A Time shared an exclusive offer for a 145% bonus on buying LifeMiles.
- Buy 1,000 – 10,000 miles, get a 105% bonus (1.61 cents apiece)
- Buy 11,000 – 50,000 miles, get a 115% bonus (1.53 cents apiece)
- Buy 51,000 – 100,000 miles, get a 135% bonus (1.40 cents apiece)
- Buy 101,000 – 200,000 miles, get a 145% bonus (1.35 cents apiece)
Up and down the chart, this is a better bonus than the publicly-advertised buy miles promotion and perhaps the best buy miles rate that LifeMiles has ever offered. The only “trick” to this is that you’ll need to go to this landing page, enter your LifeMiles number and click subscribe. Then you’ll be able to go back to the buy miles landing page to complete your purchase at the higher bonus level.
Why Buy LifeMiles?
LifeMiles lands at number one on our list of most undervalued airline loyalty programs due to the number of hidden gems in the program and low taxes and fees. One of the best benefits of LifeMiles is that it doesn’t pass along carrier surcharges, making it an excellent way of booking Lufthansa first class for cheap. Taxes and fees on LifeMiles awards from the US to Germany only cost $25 out of pocket. Other programs can charge more than $500 one-way in taxes and fees.
Be aware that LifeMiles usually expire 12 months after the most recent mileage accrual. Other transactions, including redemption transactions, don’t extend the validity of the miles. However, earning miles from a cobranded LifeMiles credit card or as an Avianca elite status holder will extend the validity of miles by 24 months.
Although TPG didn’t recommend bothering with LifeMiles for a while, the program has made some notable improvements in its online booking process and now also allows mixed-cabin ticketing. While there can still be hassles, these types of awards are worth it:
One-way domestic United flights for just 7,500 miles from $101
- $132 for buying 8,200 miles (4,000 miles + 4,200 bonus miles, leaving 700 miles unused)
- $101 at the maximized 1.35 cent rate
One-way transcontinental lie-flat United business class flights for 25,000 miles from $337
- $396 for buying 25,800 miles (12,000 miles + 13,800 bonus miles, leaving 800 miles unused)
- $337 at the maximized 1.35 cent rate
One-way to Europe in Lufthansa business class for 63,000 miles from $849
- $990 for buying 64,500 miles (30,000 miles + 34,500 bonus miles, leaving 1,500 miles unused)
- $849 at the maximized 1.35 cent rate
One-way to Europe in Lufthansa first class for 87,000 miles from $1,172
- $1,353 for buying 88,150 miles (41,000 miles + 47,150 bonus miles, leaving 1,150 miles unused)
- $1,172 at the maximized 1.35 cent rate
- Taxes and fees starting at just $25
While TPG hasn’t completed testing on which card to use for buying Avianca LifeMiles (see our United and IHG testing), my purchase of LifeMiles through last fall’s 100% transfer bonus promotion coded as 3x points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve.
Other ways to pick up more LifeMiles include Avianca’s “Club LifeMiles” monthly subscription plan, which still gives members a chance to buy miles for as little as 1.35 cents each. And if you need to top off your account, remember that LifeMiles is also a transfer partner of four major transferable currencies:
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio, instant transfer time)
- Capital One (2:1.5 ratio, instant transfer time) — with a 25% transfer bonus through July 31
- Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 ratio, instantaneous transfer time)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 with a 5,000-mile bonus for transferring 60,000 points, under 24 hour transfer time)
This post has been updated since publishing to reflect the increased 145% bonus publicly available through a special link.
Featured image of Lufthansa first class by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Avianca’s “buy miles” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.
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