Buy Tons of Star Alliance Miles for Just 1.375 Cents Each

Earlier in the month Star Alliance frequent flyer program Avianca LifeMiles was offering a 130% bonus on purchased miles. It was a 100% bonus for all of September, but 130% through September 10. This allowed you to purchase 101,000 miles or more at just 1.43 cents apiece.

It turns out there’s now an even better offer — a 140% bonus. To qualify for the bonus you need to register and then wait 24 hours for the registration to be reflected then you’ll be able to buy miles with this extra 40% bonus or as low as 1.375 cents apiece. Register by September 26 for purchases by September 27.

I maxed out last year with the 135% bonus. Since I still have some miles left in that account, since they run bonuses like this and it’s probably not my only shot, and there was even a 150% bonus last year (after I had already purchased all I could for the year) I’m not going to jump. But it is tempting.

That’s because Star Alliance member Avianca has really useful miles (that have gotten more useful over the past few months!) through the LifeMiles program:

  • No fuel surcharges
  • Reasonable award chart
  • They sell miles cheap

Recently their miles have gotten more valuable because they’ve gotten more flexible, allowing mixed cabin redemptions and Lufthansa first class redemptions (although if you want to book Lufthansa first class, don’t specify Lufthansa as the airline when doing your search or just book by email.

Not all connections are bookable, you’re pretty much limited to the options you see on their redemption website (which is quite good) and telephone customer service is challenging (e-mail is better).

I don’t recommend hoarding miles. LifeMiles has made changes to their award chart in the past without notice. However, the CEO of LifeMiles tells me that they found certain awards (and certain routings) that weren’t profitable for them at the low price point at which they sell miles. He says they’ve eliminated those and they’re confident of the math.

Purchases are processed by LifeMiles, rather than by an outside company like Points.com — so you do earn bonus miles using a credit card that offers double or triple points for airline purchases.

(HT: One Mile at a Time)

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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  1. “the CEO of LifeMiles tells me that they found certain awards (and certain routings) that weren’t profitable for them at the low price point at which they sell miles. He says they’ve eliminated those and they’re confident of the math.”

    That’s why they block LH F despite space showing on United, ANA and Aeroplan. Buyer beware.

  2. Guess this is one way to hit my new card’s spend requirement for the bonus offer. 🙂

    I too want to know what the best redemptions are. I that taking a given RT United flight is essentially $343 (assuming you can use the points on that day; I’d be flexible) versus $364 on kayak.com.. Just a cursory cost-benefit analysis.

  3. Email booking is an option I guess, but I’m sure you need to be succinct and to the point with the info you email, as there is plenty of room for miscommunication if a rambling email is sent!
    Do you have a suggested template to complete to make things easier for all concerned?

  4. Hey Gary,
    Thanks for the link, however I am only showing a 125% bonus available. I also went incognito to see if cookies prevented the 140%, however it still only showed 125%. Also, when you select email via contact it gives you 4 options to choose. Which one do you use. Regards, Brodie

  5. If I used my new Chase reserve card (meeting my spend requirement), would I get 3x points AND the $300 travel credit???

  6. The last time I checked, it was not possible to redeem LifeMiles for flights operated by (Star Alliance member) Air China. I was able to redeem LifeMiles on Star Alliance member United Airlines, which offered some availability in the route served by Air China that I cared about, but I had to schedule around it.

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