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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from Florida to Montana and everywhere in-between for 7,500 LifeMiles

April 11, 2021
5 min read
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Sweet Spot Sunday is a weekly series, highlighting the best-value award redemptions across loyalty programs.

Star Alliance member Avianca is a South American carrier that has a third-party-run loyalty program named LifeMiles. We've covered it several times over the years because of the great value it can provide in booking StarAlliance partner-operated award flights. You can also routinely buy LifeMiles at a price where it could make sense for some to immediately cash in those miles for an otherwise expensive ticket.

United States 2

LifeMiles has a region-based award chart for Star Alliance-operated flights. One of the most intriguing regions on the Star Alliance chart is 'United States 2' which consists of the following states:

Prices for award itineraries within United States 2, regardless of how many segments you fly, are priced at 7,500 miles one-way in economy.

The farthest you could fly from corner to corner of United States 2 would be a Miami (MIA) to Houston (IAH) to Kalispell, Montana (FCA) on United-operated flights. This would cover a whopping 2,577 miles.

Map courtesy of GCMap.com.

LifeMiles has certainly made an interesting decision on how to dissect the US into different award regions. On one hand, if you need to fly from Florida to the Midwest, then you'll get great value. On the other hand, a flight from Atlanta to Washington Dulles (IAD) would cost more LifeMiles than Florida to Montana.

How to book

Booking on LifeMiles.com is rather a simple process, minus one bug that seems to affect the site I'll cover below. After logging in, perform a simple redemption search. In this case, my home airport of Atlanta (since Georgia is also in United States 2) to Kalispell, Montana (FCA).

You'll then get a calendar of results. Any day with a blue dot indicates that date should have availability. The 7,500-mile pricing should also be confirmed at the top in the blue pill:

From there you select a date, see available flight options and confirm your booking. These Atlanta to Kalispell itineraries consist of one-stop in Denver (DEN):

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Florida glitch

LifeMiles has a reputation as being a rather glitchy program from time to time with a call center that is less than helpful. The one problem I've encountered with this sweet spot is anytime I search for a Florida to Montana itienrary, the calendar results show availability but when I try to select an individual date, the site either continuously tries to load or it says there is no availability.

Searching flights from Florida to United hub Houston (IAH) or IAH to Montana (or any other airport in United States 2) shows availability:

Searching flights from Florida to other airports in United States 2 also works; in this case Tampa to Sioux Falls, South Dakota (FSD) via Chicago (ORD):

It seems to only be itineraries from Florida to Montana that error out. This obviously means maximizing the zone can only be done over the phone and once again, that can be a challenge — but not impossible — with LifeMiles.

Earn LifeMiles

There are a variety of ways to earn this valuable currency with everything from their own cobranded cards to five different transfer partners.

There are two LifeMiles credit cards available to United States residents. The first is the Avianca Vuela Visa which currently offers 40,000 miles after your first purchase with the card and carries a $149 annual fee. The second card is the Avianca Vida Visa Card which currently offers 20,000 miles after your first purchase and carries a $59 annual fee. These cards are issued by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico.

You can also earn LifeMiles by transfering from Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points or Brex Rewards at a 1:1 ratio. You can also transfer from Capital One Venture Miles at a 2:1.5 ratio. Last, you can transfer from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Bonvoy points you transfer (equating to 25,000 miles per 60,000 Bonvoy points).

The final way most US residents earn LifeMiles is when they offer lucrative buy-miles promos. There are regular bonuses of 150% or more which drop the price to 1.32 cents per mile. This would make an intra-United States 2 flight cost $99 out of pocket.

Bottom Line

Depending on which domestic route you're hoping to fly with United Airlines, redeeming LifeMiles for that flight can make a lot of sense. With United States 2 on the LifeMiles Star Alliance award chart covering an area from Florida to Montana and most everything in-between, 7,500 miles is a fantastic price to get you on your next trip.

Featured image by (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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TPG featured card

Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

2 - 10X points
10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day

Intro offer

75,000 bonus miles
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

Annual Fee

$395

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023