Score Lufthansa first class for 20,000 points and $991 with new LifeMiles promotion
Avianca's LifeMiles program may not be known by many travelers, but it's a great way of scoring Star Alliance awards for cheap. Between reasonable redemption rates, easy ways to accumulate miles and no fuel surcharges, it's the best way to score incredible rewards — like Lufthansa first class.
And if you're interested in these amazing redemptions, now's a great time to take action, even if you don't have enough LifeMiles or transferable points in your account to take advantage of these great redemptions. That's because now through Nov. 20, you'll get 115% bonus miles when transferring Avianca LifeMiles to friends and family, and that lets those in "multi-player mode" to score LifeMiles awards for far fewer points and a reasonable amount of cash.
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Transferring miles costs $15 per 1,000 miles transferred, so if you have existing LifeMiles — or have points you can transfer from a transferable program — you'll effectively be able to mint LifeMiles for just 1.3 cents per mile.
Related: Everything you need to know about Avianca LifeMiles
How does this work? Let's step through the process to show how it can be an excellent opportunity to score some fantastic premium-cabin redemptions, even if you've never heard of LifeMiles before now.
First, the basics. LifeMiles is a transfer partner of:
- Citi ThankYou Rewards (1:1 ratio, instantaneous transfer time)
- American Express Membership Rewards (1:1 ratio, instant transfer time)
- Capital One Rewards (2:1.5 ratio, instant transfer time)
- Marriott Bonvoy (3:1 ratio, under 24 hour transfer time)
So, even if you don't have LifeMiles, you can get some quickly just by transferring from one of these programs. In addition, LifeMiles has a miles + cash booking option that allows you to purchase as much as 57% of the miles you need during the process of booking at a rate as low as 1.5 cents per mile.
Combine these elements with this transfer promotion and LifeMiles' reasonable redemption rates (plus low taxes and fees), and that means right now you can book:
- Business class one-way from U.S. to Europe: 14,000 Amex or Citi points + $736 total out-of-pocket
- First class one-way to Europe: 20,000 Amex or Citi points + $991 total out-of-pocket
Business class to Europe
Here's an example of how this can work in practice. Say you want to fly business class to Europe. LifeMiles charges 63,000 per person for the one-way business-class flight.
Related: Review of Lufthansa business class New York to Frankfurt on the 747-8
Start by transferring 14,000 Amex Membership Rewards or Citi ThankYou Points to one traveler's LifeMiles account. Transfers between accounts must be in increments of 1,000. Luckily, you'll have exactly 14,000 miles to transfer to the other person's account, paying $210 to get 16,099 bonus miles.
That gives you a total of 30,099 LifeMiles, which is still 32,901 miles short of the miles needed. However, you can book the award using the LifeMiles + Money option to buy the remaining 33,000 miles for $495 at a rate of 1.5 cents per mile:
In total, you'll spend 14,000 Amex or Citi points plus a $210 transfer cost to produce another 16,099 miles plus $495 for 33,000 miles through LifeMiles+Money and $31 in taxes/fees, for a total of $736 out of pocket to purchase a one-way business-class flight to Europe.
Let's run through the same redemption starting with different numbers of Amex or Citi points transferred:
|Business class U.S.-Europe||Miles||Cost||Miles||Cost||Miles||Cost|
|Amex or Citi points transferred||14,000||15,000||16,000|
|Miles transferred from account #1||14,000||15,000||16,000|
|Total LifeMiles in account #2||30,100||32,250||34,400|
|LifeMiles + cash purchase||33,000||$495||31,000||$465||29,000||$435|
Lufthansa first class to Europe
Now let's run through the same example — but in first class. Avianca LifeMiles are especially valuable to use for booking Lufthansa First Class, as the program doesn't pass along the pricey Lufthansa carrier surcharges. LifeMiles charges 87,000 miles for one-way first-class awards between the U.S. and Europe, and taxes and fees only add around $31 per person.
Related: 6 tips for booking Lufthansa first-class awards
To get started, you'll want to transfer 20,000 Amex or Citi points to one account. By then transferring these 20,000 LifeMiles to another account, you'll effectively purchase 23,000 more miles for $300:
Next, head to LifeMiles and book a one-way Lufthansa first-class ticket for $691 plus the 43,000 LifeMiles you've generated so far. All in, you'll pay 20,000 ThankYou points plus $991 for a first-class award ticket to Europe.
Other options include:
|First class U.S.-Europe||Miles||Cost||Miles||Cost||Miles||Cost||Miles||Cost|
|Amex or Citi points transferred||18,000||19,000||20,000||21,000|
|Miles transferred from account #1||18,000||19,000||20,000||21,000|
|Total LifeMiles in account #2||38,700||40,850||43,000||45,150|
|LifeMiles + cash purchase||49,000||$735||47,000||$705||44,000||$660||42,000||$630|
Related: Want to book Lufthansa first class? Focus on these routes
LifeMiles is a program many beginner and intermediate mileage collectors may have never heard of and/or are afraid to start using. Considering the complexities of the program in the past, that's completely fair.
However, LifeMiles' online booking system has improved, and the program offers truly excellent redemption options, both for mileage cost and out-of-pocket cost. The system still definitely has its quirks and can be frustrating to use at times, but it's certainly worth considering if you're looking to book excellent awards.
If buying LifeMiles at 1.3 cents per mile sounds good, don't forget that you can also mine LifeMiles for as little as 1.35 cents per mile through "Club LifeMiles".