Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from Florida to Montana and everywhere in-between for 7,500 LifeMiles
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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.
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):
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.
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.
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 photo of Silver Star, Montana courtesy of Clint Henderson/The Points Guy.
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