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Here’s a tip: You don’t need to accumulate miles with a certain airline to leverage outrageous redemptions from its loyalty program. Part of the points and miles magic involves lesser-known transfer partners, which happens to be the case with Avianca’s LifeMiles program.

With a 15% transfer bonus, it’s even cheaper to score a Lufthansa first class award seat (Photo by Nick Ellis / The Points Guy)

LifeMiles recently became a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, enabling those who use cards such as The Platinum Card® from American Express, the American Express® Gold Card and The Business Platinum® Card from American Express to transfer their Membership Rewards points to Avianca’s program at a 1:1 ratio.

But from now through April 1, 2019, you’ll get get an even  better redemption of 15% more LifeMiles when you transfer Membership Rewards points. That pushes solid deals on flight redemptions into the excellent category.

For those unfamiliar with Avianca LifeMiles, it’s worth getting to know the program for hidden gems such as:

  • United domestic flights within any one of three regions designated by the Avianca program: intra-region: 7,500 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

In TPG’s latest valuation, he pegs the value of LifeMiles at 1.7 cents each. However, you can easily score multiples of this valuation on these sweet spots.

How to Transfer Miles

Membership Rewards points must be transferred to LifeMiles in increments of 1,000 points at a 1:1 rate. But first, you’ll need to link your Avianca LifeMiles account to Membership Rewards. When I linked my accounts, I received a message that “We are processing your account linking.”

By the time I reloaded my transfer partner dashboard, the link was already complete. So, I tested a 1,000-point transfer:

When I submitted my transfer request, I received the following message:

We are processing your points transfer to Avianca LifeMiles. For Avianca LifeMiles, transfers normally occur immediately, but please allow up to 48 hours.

However, the miles had already posted in my LifeMiles account by the time was able to log in to my account:

How to Earn Membership Rewards Points

If you’re excited about these excellent redemption options, there are currently some lucrative ways of earning Membership Rewards points:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 60,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus for spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn 5x points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel and prepaid hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • American Express® Gold Card: 35,000 Membership Rewards points welcome bonus for spending $2,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus earn 4x points at US restaurants and at US supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per year in purchases;] then 1x) and 3x points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • The Business Platinum® Card from American Express: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards points for spending a combined $20,000 in the first three months of card membership. Plus earn 5x points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

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  • 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®
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  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
18.24% - 25.24% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent Credit

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