How to Take Advantage of the 150% Bonus Buying Star Alliance Miles (Buy Miles at 1.32 Cents Apiece)

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This morning I wrote about the very first offer from the new Inside Flyer (of which I’m a co-founder): a 150% bonus on the purchase of 100,000 – 150,000 miles from Star Alliance frequent flyer program LifeMiles, combined with short-term award redemption discounts of up to 50% on Star Alliance partners.

LifeMiles usually sells miles at 3.3 cents apiece. This promotion should let you buy miles at 1.32 cents.

I’ve gotten several questions about the offer, so thought I’d take the time to walk through it.

Here are the rules:

  • You have to be a registered InsideFlyer member to be eligible.
  • Offer valid for purchase of 100,000 – 150,000 LifeMiles in one single transaction.
  • You need to be a LifeMiles member and register for the offer by October 6. Once you register, wait 24 hours and you will receive confirmation prior to purchase.
  • You will be able to buy LifeMiles under this offer through October 12.
  • You have until October 15 to redeem LifeMiles at discounted rates

There was some confusion earlier about price. Here are the standard terms for the price of LifeMiles:

Each package of 1,000 miles costs USD 38,94, including all taxes applicable to each country*. For residents in Colombia, each package of 1,000 miles, has a cost of USD 33, the values are settled based on Colombia´s exchange rate on the date of the transaction. For residents in Peru each package of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 38,94 or S/.123.44 including taxes. Reference exchange rate to July 1st 2015: S/. 3.17 Per 1 USD dollar. For residents in Costa Rica, each package of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 33 plus taxes.

They list the maximum tax-inclusive price charged of $38.94 per thousand. If that were the price charged to US members, this deal would reduce the cost to 1.5 cents per mile. But it isn’t, because there is no tax charged on the purchase of miles from non-US airlines. So US members get charged the lowest base price of miles, $33 per thousand which is 3.3 cents per mile… and with a 150% bonus, 1.32 cents a mile.

How to Register to Be Eligible for the Offer

You need to Login or register for Inside Flyer. Previous Milepoint members should already be registered.

The head over to the ‘Award Store’ which is where you see special benefits you’re eligible for. That’s where you can register for this offer.

You want to check the box to claim this award.

Then enter your LifeMiles number and submit:

Award Discounts Paired With Purchase Miles Bonus

Last month I wrote about LifeMiles award discounts for Star Alliance redemptions. They ran a short-term promotion, with some awards discounted up to 50%. Usually when an airline discounts redemptions is this only for their own aircraft, and most often only for coach. LifeMiles discounted Star Alliances awards and even business and first class.

They’re bringing back the promotion to coincide with this miles purchase opportunity. For a full analysis of the award discounts, here’s my description of the details. Note that these are roundtrip prices, one way awards are half the cost:

Should You Buy LifeMiles?

When Avianca joined Star Alliance I declared their program the most generous in the alliance. They are part of my “Devaluation Plan B” which is to look to international frequent flyer programs for value if and when US programs devalue further.

There are no fuel surcharges and they offer one-way awards many of which are priced reasonably. They also offer ‘cash and points’ which means that as long as you have 40% of the miles needed for an award you can buy the rest at the time of redemption.

That said, in the past LifeMiles has tweaked some award prices without notice. Their call centers are frustrating (if you can wait a day for a reply, they’re better over e-mail) and they don’t permit “mixed cabin” redemption — so if you are redeeming a transatlantic business class award, all segments need to be in business class (including domestic US flights, and intra-Europe flights). They currently don’t have access to Lufthansa first class awards. And the award chart isn’t as good as it once was.

Since this question keeps coming up, miles are sold directly by LifeMiles, and therefore count as an airfare purchase (for the Citi Prestige Card airline credit, and for bonus points-earning with cards that offer airlines as a category bonus).

I jumped on the 135% + 10% promotion they ran last month. I don’t usually buy miles speculatively, but once you get to 1.5 cents and under I’ll consider it.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of any advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.

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Comments

  1. It never ceases to amaze me the number of assholes like Jiffy who show up here to turn their nose up at the gift horses Gary brings.

    THANK YOU from the rest of us. I will be taking advantage of this deal and will enjoy business class on the cheap and happily look back at the haters in the coach.

  2. This is what I got when trying to do this:

    “You have claimed all your awards, please check back later for more awards.”

  3. Francis,
    You’re a troll. Unless you have an instant use for the points, this is a poor offer. Randy has been beating the drum about the amazing deal(s) associated with changes to Milepoint. Again, this offer is as underwhelming as Mile point.com.

  4. ABC, if you think 1.3 cents a mile is a poor offer you are an idiot. Tyler please share the far better promotions you’re aware of. Put up or better yet shut up.

  5. It seems as for the most part the travel must take place within regions with the exception of US to Europe or US to Brazil – but US to Asia is not on sale.

    Is that correct or did I miss something?

    But seems like a great deal.

  6. Keep getting this message – “You have claimed all your awards, please check back later for more awards.”

    What does that mean?

  7. @Frances

    Lol, if you actually think Gary “Clickbait” Leff is here to bring you gifts then you are as dumb as I think you are.

  8. Avianca has some additional downsides not mentioned:

    – no stopovers on round-trips
    – their booking engine will not allow extended stopovers of more than a few hours, so you can’t book some awards that would be legal on UA/AC/etc.

  9. got the same message – “You have claimed all your awards, please check back later for more awards.”

    would appreciate clarification

  10. @eponymous coward – not really sure ‘no stopovers’ is a downside to the extent it would be assumed otherwise, since American, Delta, British Airways and others do not offer free stopovers either.

  11. Gary,

    I didnt really understand the discount promo: will eg OW flights in C to europe cost 57.5k or half of it?

    Thanks!

  12. @Amenityboy – Lifemiles is a Star Alliance airline, not oneworld. US1 to Europe 1 is 52,500 each way in business with this promotion, US1 to Europe 2 is 57,500. This pricing is with the discount, many awards aren’t half off but discounted less than that during the promo period.

  13. There is a problem with the inside flyer website. When I try and register as a new member I get the following error: “502 Bad Gateway”.

  14. There is no mention of Canada on the Life Miles Star Alliance deal page. Are there any discounts for travel to/from Canada? Is Toronto part of United States 1?

  15. While many are bickering about the intentions of “Inside Flyer” the 135% bonus offer has disappeared from Avianca LifeMiles website!!! Was it pulled down because of the haters and detractors???

  16. Gary, thanks for the clarification. I apologize for my comments on your previous post. Very glad that you have written about this good offer.

    Unfortunately I was a little frustrated when I misunderstood the price and I jumped to false conclusions. Sorry about that.

    Craig

  17. Never got any confirmation email, and without any information on the site, just the “you have claimed your rewards” I’m not willing to chance whether or not I’ll get the bonus for $3000+. Very confusing and frustrating customer experience and waste of time

  18. “You have claimed all your awards, please check back later for more awards.”

    This is what I get when I try to register.

    Is this an error?

    Will it be fixed?

  19. I just tried creating new accounts and this still doesn’t work. Some guidance, explanation, or direction to someone able to offer either would be greatly appreciated. Thanx.

  20. Has ANYONE received the “wait 24 hours” LifeMiles email? I’ve been waiting for >48 and got nada.

  21. registered mine and my mothers account on inside flyer for lifemiles promotion, but both accounts came back with this: You have claimed all your awards, please check back later for more awards. this is very frustrating, sort of like giving false hope to someone who really needs some lifemiles miles

  22. Registered, received email confirmation from LifeMiles, however when I go to purchase miles on the website there is no indication of bonus miles. In the past, when I have purchased LifeMiles with a bonus, the extra miles are indicated before I purchase. Is there a problem?

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