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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi ThankYou Premier Card
Now through July 24, you’ll get 100% bonus miles when transferring Avianca LifeMiles to friends and family. Transferring miles costs $15 per 1,000 miles transferred, so if you have existing LifeMiles or at least one Citi ThankYou Rewards credit card, you’ll effectively be able to mint LifeMiles for just 1.5 cents per mile.
How does this work? Let’s step through the process to show how it can be an excellent opportunity for couples or friends 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 ThankYou Rewards (instantaneous transfer time), which means even if you don’t already have LifeMiles, you can get some quickly just by transferring ThankYou points. In addition, LifeMiles has a miles+cash booking option that allows you to purchase as much as 78% of the miles you need during the process of booking at a rate of just 1.5 cents per mile.
Combine these two 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 to Europe: 14,000 ThankYou Points + $766 total out-of-pocket
- First Class One-Way to Europe: 19,000 ThankYou Points + $1,051 total out-of-pocket
Business Class to Europe
Here’s an example of how this can work in practice. Say you’re a couple that wants to fly business class to Europe. LifeMiles charges 63,000 per person for the one-way business class flight, for a total of 126,000 LifeMiles.
Start by transferring as little as 28,000 ThankYou points to one traveler’s LifeMiles account. Then, transfer these 28,000 points to the other person’s account, paying $420 to get 28,000 bonus miles.
That gives you with a total of 56,000 LifeMiles, which is still 70,000 miles short of the miles needed for two travelers. However, even if you don’t have enough LifeMiles, you can begin booking and use the LifeMiles + Money option to buy the remaining 70,000 miles for $1,050 a rate of 1.5 cents per mile:
In total, you’ll spend 28,000 ThankYou Points and pay a $420 transfer cost to produce another 28,000 miles, plus $1,050 for 70,000 miles and $61 in taxes/fees, for a total of $1,531 out of pocket to purchase two one-way business class flights to Europe.
Note that that’s using the least number of ThankYou points and buying the rest of the LifeMiles at 1.5 cents each. You can decrease your out-of-pocket cost by transferring more ThankYou points.
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 US and Europe, and taxes and fees only add around $31 per person.
To get started, you’ll want to transfer at least 38,000 ThankYou Points to one account. By then transferring these miles to another account, you’ll effectively purchase 38,000 more miles for $570. Next, head to LifeMiles and book two one-way Lufthansa first class tickets for $1,531 plus the 76,000 LifeMiles you’ve generated so far. All in, you’ll pay 38,000 ThankYou points plus $2,101 for two first class award tickets to Europe.
Or, let’s say that you start with 54,000 ThankYou points from signing up for and spending $4,000 in the first three months on the Citi ThankYou Premier Card. You can transfer these points to LifeMiles and then transfer them again to your traveling companion with the transfer bonus for a cost of $810. Then use those 108,000 LifeMiles plus $1,140 out-of-pocket during booking to get two one-way Lufthansa first class tickets to Europe for $1,950 total out-of-pocket with one credit card sign-up bonus.
LifeMiles is a program many beginner and immediate mileage collectors may have never heard of 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 some excellent awards.
If buying LifeMiles at 1.5 cents per mile sounds good, don’t forget that you can mine LifeMiles for as little as 1.39 cents per mile through “Club LifeMiles”. The monthly subscription plan lets you buy either 80,000 or 112,000 miles per year through monthly purchases.
Featured image of Lufthansa First Class by Julian Mark Kheel / The Points Guy.