Score Cheap Award Flights by Buying LifeMiles With a 125% Bonus

Apr 10, 2019

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LifeMiles is the mileage program of Colombian-based airline Avianca. But even if you aren’t interested in flying Avianca, it’s worth getting to know LifeMiles since it’s made itself known as the wholesaler of cheap Star Alliance miles and award tickets, as well as regular sales on discounted miles.

And for just a few days, LifeMiles is providing a solid bonus to members. Through April 12, members can buy LifeMiles with up to a 125% bonus. As with most programs, the standard rate for buying LifeMiles is pricey, but this bonus drops the cost down to just 1.47 cents per mile. That’s a solid deal compared to TPG’s valuation of 1.7 cents per LifeMiles.

When you go to the LifeMiles Buy Miles page, the structure of this bonus isn’t clear. However, the bonuses are laid out in an email sent to members:

  • Buy 1,000 – 25,000 miles, get a 105% bonus (1.61 cents apiece)
  • Buy 26,000 – 50,000 miles, get a 115% bonus (1.53 cents apiece)
  • Buy 51,000 – 200,000 miles, get a 125% bonus (1.47 cents apiece)

Why Buy LifeMiles?

LifeMiles lands at No. 1 on our list of most undervalued airline loyalty programs due to the number of hidden gems in the program and low taxes and fees. One of the best benefits of LifeMiles is that it doesn’t pass along carrier surcharges, making it an excellent way of booking Lufthansa first class for cheap. Taxes and fees on LifeMiles awards from the US to Germany only cost $25 out of pocket. Other programs can charge more than $500 one-way in taxes and fees.

Be aware that LifeMiles usually expire 12 months after the most recent mileage accrual. Other transactions, including redemption transactions, don’t extend the validity of the miles though. Earning miles from a co-branded LifeMiles credit card or as an Avianca elite status holder will extend the validity of miles by 24 months.

Although TPG didn’t recommend bothering with LifeMiles for a while, the program has made some notable improvements in its online booking process and now also allows mixed-cabin ticketing. While there can still be hassles, these types of awards are worth it:

One-way domestic United flights for just 7,500 miles from $110

  • $132 for buying 8,200 miles (4,000 miles + 4,200 bonus miles, leaving 700 miles unused)
  • $110 at the maximized 1.47 cent rate

One-way transcontinental lie-flat United business class flights for 25,000 miles from $367

  • $429 for buying 26,650 miles (13,000 miles + 13,650 bonus miles, leaving 1,650 miles unused)
  • $367 at the maximized 1.47 cent rate

One-way to Europe in Lufthansa business class for 63,000 miles from $924

  • $990 for buying 64,500 miles (30,000 miles + 34,500 bonus miles, leaving 1,500 miles unused)
  • $924 at the maximized 1.47 cent rate

One-way to Europe in Lufthansa first class for 87,000 miles from $1,276

  • $1,353 for buying 88,150 miles (41,000 miles + 47,150 bonus miles, leaving 1,150 miles unused)
  • $1,276 at the maximized 1.47 cent rate
  • Taxes and fees starting at just $25

While TPG hasn’t completed testing on which card to use for buying Avianca LifeMiles (see our United and IHG testing), my purchase of LifeMiles via the recent 100% transfer bonus promotion coded as 3x points on my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

If you’re not targeted for this promotion, Avianca’s “Club LifeMiles” monthly subscription plan still gives members a chance to buy miles as cheap as 1.35 cents per mile. And if you need to top off your account, remember that LifeMiles is also a transfer partner of four major transferable currencies:

Featured image of Lufthansa first class by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

This is The Points Guy’s permanent page about Avianca’s “buy miles” promotions, so you can bookmark it and check back regularly for the latest offer. Keep in mind you may see some reader comments referring to older deals below.

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