LifeMiles is selling miles for their lowest price this year and I am using them to accomplish some bucket list travel goals.
Buy LifeMiles, Get 140% Bonus
LifeMiles is a Star Alliance loyalty program that offers some of the best deals for flights throughout the network. Its award chart is also much more reasonable than many popular carriers. For example, United Mileage Plus charges members 70,000 for business class saver awards from the mainland US to Europe, LifeMiles charges 63,000. On a roundtrip for my family of three, saving 14,000 miles per person adds up to almost two domestic roundtrips (42,000 points.)
However, LifeMiles runs promotions where purchasing miles will result in a bonus of the miles purchased. Right now is one of the highest of the year, 140% bonus. For example, for the one way to Europe I mentioned above, you’d need to purchase just 27,000:
- 27,000 miles
- 37,800 miles Bonus (140% of purchased miles)
- Total = 64,800 miles
Purchase denominations are a minimum of 1,000 increments which is why you can’t buy 26,250 miles, the exact amount needed for the one-way airline ticket in business class to Europe. The cost per 1,000 LifeMiles is $33, so in this case, that one-way would cost $891 before any applicable taxes.
The program was formerly Avianca LifeMiles but has since become an independent frequent flyer program and remains one of the largest loyalty programs in Latin America. It is the strength of its partner network that makes redeeming LifeMiles for award tickets so valuable.
I happen to also hold the program’s credit card and earn miles as I spend. For those who do not hold the Avianca LifeMiles credit card, the program is a transfer partner for American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and Capital One Miles as well as several hotel points. That allows me to accrue points in the program or top up my account especially in fractional purchase situations like the one I outlined above.
Where Will I Go?
In the last few weeks, LifeMiles has offered some incredible deals like Colombia from New York for 9,000 points each way, or 5,000 points from Miami to El Salvador. Looking at the New York roundtrip (18,000 total) purchasing just 8,000 miles or $264. I love Colombia, my whole family does, but there are some bucket list places we plan to use our miles to visit.
Tokyo in Polaris
My family has not been able to try United Polaris so this is a high priority for me. My daughter is also exhibiting a strong interest in Nigiri sushi and it would be incredible to take her to the land of Sushi at a moment’s notice. We can secure tickets nonstop on United in Polaris and this is a fantastic opportunity for our family.
Dubrovnik has been on our list for some time and will be a new country for everyone in our family. Coach is just 60,000/roundtrip or 180,000 for the three of us. That would require us to buy just 75,000 points and gives us the flexibility to add a stop in another country our daughter has never visited – Germany. This is a strong candidate.
Matthew has written often about the quality of his experience with Swiss Airlines but I have never had the pleasure of flying them. Neither my wife nor daughter have been to Switzerland and are fascinated by the Alps at Christmas. I have fond memories of riding trains through the mountains and would love to share that experience with my family.
Home for the Holidays
My daughter has never had Thanksgiving at my parent’s home because airfare is always so steep, and other carriers charge so much during these peak travel periods that it has never been a good value to go home for the holidays. However, with the bonus, it’s far more affordable than buying cash tickets, especially to go to relatively close distances but smaller airports where fares are always high.
Other Good LifeMiles Values
One of my favorite redemptions was during the return from Tokyo I mentioned above that would make the trip a round-the-world itinerary by flying from Narita to Addis Ababa (where we could stopover) and onward to the United States. Some airline programs don’t allow this but the LifeMiles program does.
Booking Mixed Cabin Awards
I couldn’t care less about “business class” seats from Pittsburgh to Newark or Washington Dulles – it’s a very short flight and the distinction of service is negligible. I am glad to accept it if I get a free upgrade due to my elite status, but I wouldn’t pay for an upgrade on such a short route. When I am booking an award with LifeMiles, I can opt for economy legs on the flights that I don’t care about (short-haul in Europe is the same situation) and pay fewer miles for those segments. I love that flexibility.
Short Haul Central America Awards
I mentioned some of the great deals for specific markets throughout Central America. It’s hard to beat 5,000 miles to El Salvador, Guatemala, or 9,000 miles from New York to Colombia. I like being able to take advantage of these sales when they occur.
Small Airports Within a Region
In most cases, the smaller the airport, the more expensive the airfare. For example, Lincoln, NE, Bozeman, MT, Eugene, OR, or Cedar Rapids, IA are all expensive for cash tickets due to limited seats and limited flights. But with miles, the costs are the same and LifeMiles has some of the best rates for domestic US regional flights. When you don’t have to worry about the costs of the airline – hotel and car rental rates are far more affordable.
The current Buy Miles 2×1 promotion with a 140% bonus is the best LifeMiles has offered all year and creates unique opportunities, especially for long-haul premium class flights. The promotion runs through October 15th, 2021 so now is the time to take advantage of this great deal.