EVEN BETTER: Buy Star Alliance Miles With 135% Bonus Act By Thursday

Last month LifeMiles ran a 125% bonus on purchased miles. It’s been extended to June 3, and stackable with another offer for an extra 10%.

Register for the extra 10% then wait 24 hours for your registration to take on the LifeMiles side, since this bonus is in partnership with a Brazilian blog it doesn’t work in real-time.

Then go to the purchase miles page and log in.

Since the 125% offer is only extended to June 3, you’ll want to register by June 2, ideally right away if you even think you might want to take advantage of this.

A 125% bonus lets you buy miles at 1.47 cents apiece. It’s nice you can get this even lower. 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.

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).

One interesting thing about LifeMiles is that the cost to transfer and buy miles varies based on the country your account is registered in though of course this is largely a taxation issue and the US doesn’t tax the sale of miles by non-US based programs. (Because US tax rules on the sale of miles make some basic mistaken assumptions, which you can challenge.)

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.

(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. @Gary et al.: I recently purchased over 350K LifeMiles with the intention of using them to fly internationally. I’m a pretty savvy traveler and read/write on the FT forums, among others, so I am not a newbie to award travel and tips and tricks.

    That said: LM are really, REALLY hard to use for award space. Just try going to the LM and look for Biz class availability to a place like SE Asia (don’t even mention impossible-to-find-Australia) or Europe–for two persons. I’m flexible in terms of days, weeks, even months–and pickings were slim to non-existent. . I looked all over departures from airports in the US and Canada to entire continents abroad–zilch.

    It was so bad I contacted five–FIVE-award booking services, all of whom I was prepared to pay, because I assumed these award bookers could do something I could not Three did not reply. Of the two who replied, one said he couldn’t find anything despite searching for hours (and his lengthy and well coumented reply outlined other alternativesnot utiizing LM), whlle the second respondent’s brusque reply said the LM award availability is so probelmatic that he refuses to deal with them, and if he were to choose to do so he would charge a minimum of $250 p/p due to the time, effort, and aggravation involved.

    Perhaps other blog readers will be able to offer suggestions and advice on the value of LM, but I just can’t see it.

  2. @Kimmie A,

    Got 4 seats on OZ LAX-ICN-BKK in business in late March burning the miles I purchased through InsideFlyer 150% bonus offer. It was very easy to book on Avianca’s website.

    UA website at the time showed the same seats in addition to 4 seats LAX-IST-BKK in business on TK which did not show on Avianca’s website. But we love flying the Asian airlines, so that was a wash!

  3. “… 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.”

    Does this mean that they are blocking specific awards (carriers, routes, classes, etc.) so that you can only use these miles on a subset of star alliance awards?

  4. @Phil no it means they changed the award chart pricing and they fixed some ‘trick’ routings including some where airports were listed in the wrong award zone

  5. @Kimmie, I personally find Lifemiles to be one of the easier miles currencies to use, particularly for trips to SE Asia in biz or first, I’m flying from BKK to SFO in first this Aug for 99k miles and used them for a biz ticket to Siem Reap last winter. I think a lot of it depends on which airport you are flying out of. If your airport has a big *A presence Lifemiles can be great.

    For me AA miles are the most difficult to use, part of it is flying out of SFO where they don’t have a big presence, although I do think AA and Oneworld seem to be stingy with premium award space.

  6. @Kalboz, I took the OZs A380 LAX/ICN last winter with Lifemiles. It’s pretty nice but no amenity kit because it was a daytime flight. As I recall the taxes and fees were almost nothing.

  7. @Ivan, OZ is very nice indeed.

    I charmed my way to one of these amenity kits. Was told that they only give out these kits on flights originating from ICN. But then again they did not give us any on the ICN-BKK leg!

  8. Lifemiles are fine if you are flying on airlines for which they have award space, like Ethiopian, Copa, or EVA. Lifemiles suck if you want to fly on South African or other Star Alliance carriers for which they just don’t ever have any award space on any flights.

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