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It seems like we are in the midst of a bunch of transfer bonuses, but there’s always room for more. And the feast just got richer with a new transfer bonus. But unlike the offers from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Miles, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Points, this bonus isn’t being offered by a bank loyalty program. Instead, the airline itself is offering the bonus.
Through July 5, you’ll get 25% bonus miles when transferring Citi ThankYou, Hilton Honors, IHG Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy points to Avianca LifeMiles.
While the 25% transfer bonus is the same for each of these four programs, the transfer rate varies from program to program.
- Citi ThankYou points transfer at a 1:1 ratio with transfers in 1,000 point increments
- Hilton Honors points transfer at a 10:1 ratio with a minimum transfer of 10,000 points
- IHG Rewards points transfer at a 10:2 ratio with a minimum transfer of 10,000 points
- Marriott Bonvoy points transfer at a 3:1 ratios with a minimum transfer of 9,000 points
Based on current TPG valuations, the best transfer option is Citi ThankYou points. TPG values both Citi points and LifeMiles at 1.7 cents each, so the 25% bonus sweetens an already solid option. If you can take advantage of LifeMiles’ sweet spots, it can be an obvious move to take advantage of this transfer bonus offer.
Just don’t be alarmed when you go to transfer points. Since this transfer bonus is being offered by Avianca itself, the transfer bonus still shows as 1:1 on the Citi ThankYou points portal.
Marriott Bonvoy members might also want to take advantage of this opportunity. But, the math gets a bit tougher on this offer as there’s a 3:1 transfer ratio and a 25% bonus. Plus, Marriott Bonvoy tacks on a bonus 5,000 miles for transferring at least 60,000 points. Putting it all together, here’s a few examples of what you can get:
- Transfer 9,000 Marriott points (TPG valuation: $72) to get 3,750 LifeMiles (TPG valuation: $64) — minimum transfer
- Transfer 18,000 Marriott points (TPG valuation: $144) to get 7,500 LifeMiles (TPG valuation: $128) — enough to book an intra-region domestic United flight
- Transfer 30,000 Marriott points (TPG valuation: $240) to get 12,500 LifeMiles (TPG valuation: $213) — enough to book any domestic United flight
- Transfer 60,000 Marriott points (TPG valuation: $480) to get 31,250 LifeMiles (TPG valuation: $531) — maximizing the Marriott transfer bonus
The IHG value proposition isn’t as compelling. TPG values 10,000 IHG points at $50. By transferring these 10k points to LifeMiles at a 10:2 ratio plus the 25% bonus, you’ll end up with 2,500 LifeMiles — which TPG values at $42.50. This is worth considering if you need to top off your LifeMiles account and don’t have enough Citi points.
The Hilton option is the worst of the options. By transferring 10,000 Hilton points (TPG value: $60), you’ll end up with just 1,250 LifeMiles (TPG value: $21). That’s a hard pass.
The “catch” is that you’re going to have to wait a while to get the bonus points. The terms and conditions state that “the transferred LifeMiles and the LifeMiles bonus will be accrued no later than 45 days after the LifeMiles Partner reports the request.”
That might be a problem for some as LifeMiles is making changes to its US award chart effective July 15 — which is less than 45 days away. While award chart changes are usually all negative, this one is a mixed bag with the award cost of some routes going up in price and others going down. LifeMiles’ booking fees are going down on many routes and — at the worst — are staying the same.
But there are plenty of other LifeMiles sweet spots aren’t being touched:
- 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
There’s plenty of other ways of topping off your LifeMiles account. Avianca’s “Club LifeMiles” monthly subscription plan still gives members a chance to buy miles as cheap as 1.35 cents per mile. In addition to Citi and Marriott, you can transfer American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio) and Capital One Miles (2:1.5 ratio) to LifeMiles — but the 25% bonus won’t apply to these transfers.
Featured image of Lufthansa First Class by Zach Honig/TPG
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners
*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
- Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel