Avianca LifeMiles is offering one of the best bonuses on purchased miles I can recall. For Cyber Week (now until 27 November, 2017) you can receive a 145% bonus when you buy LifeMiles. Rather than being based on a massive purchase of miles, you get that bonus no matter how many (or few) miles you buy.
LifeMiles ordinarily sells miles for 3.3 U.S. cents each, so with a 145% bonus you end up paying just under 1.35 U.S. cents per mile. This is pretty close to 1p per mile.
You might not be familiar with Avianca – the airline – or its frequent flyer programme called LifeMiles. But until a couple of years ago it was every travel hacker’s favourite programme! Reward chart devaluations and the closure of some loopholes has made it less attractive, but there are still some valuable elements to LifeMiles.
Some of the things I like about LifeMiles are:
- One way awards are allowed
- No fuel surcharges are added
- They have a Cash & Points scheme, so you don’t need to have all the required miles ahead of an award booking – you only need 40%. Buying miles this way usually costs roughly 1.5 US cents per mile.
- Star Alliance airlines frequently have the best “last minute” award availability, especially from airlines such as Lufthansa…
LifeMiles does have some disadvantages:
- You can’t really make multi-city bookings. Overnight stopovers are rarely allowed either. (which can often be the only way to get from Point A to Point B)
- Because LifeMiles is so travel hackable, a few Star Alliance airlines don’t provide all of their reward inventory to LifeMiles
- The call centre is horrible – perhaps a bit better if you speak Spanish, but still pretty bad…
Does this promotion make sense? You should check out the award chart here. A one-way in Business Class between Europe and North America will cost 63,000 miles. That works out to roughly £650 when buying miles this week. Add some taxes and you’re looking at £700-800 for a one-way flight. This is going to be much cheaper than paying cash for a Business Class ticket… It also is only £300-400 more than the surcharges on a BA or Virgin reward in Business Class, so you can save your Avios for a better use!
Another valuable aspect of LifeMiles is when you can only find reward availability in one direction with your Avios or Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles. Being able to access Star Alliance reward space through LifeMiles could mean the difference between thwarted plans and a great holiday.