I receive compensation for content and many links on this blog. You don’t have to use these links, but I am grateful to you if you do. American Express, Citibank, Chase, Capital One and other banks are advertising partners of this site. Any opinions expressed in this post are my own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by my advertising partners. I do not write about all credit cards that are available -- instead focusing on miles, points, and cash back (and currencies that can be converted into the same).
A year ago Citibank added Avianca’s LifeMiles as a points transfer partner. Now American Express Membership Rewards has done so as well.
LifeMiles is a fantastic Star Alliance program. I have a few hundred thousand of their miles, and I’ve never used them to travel on Avianca. Instead I use them for premium cabin awards on airlines like Lufthansa, Asiana, and Thai Airways. And I use their cash and points awards to book United’s domestic first class.
10 Cent Per Mile Redemption on a Domestic Award
Lifemiles has No fuel surcharges and a reasonable award chart. However not all connections are bookable, you’re pretty much limited to the options you see on their redemption website (which is serviceable) and telephone customer service is challenging (e-mail is better).
That said LifeMiles often sells miles inexpensively, less than 1.5 cents apiece, so it’s hard for me to make the case to transfer American Express or Citi points there — rather than buying LifeMiles as-needed and transferring elsewhere to currencies that are harder to obtain inexpensively.
The new American Express® Gold Card offers 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants worldwide and on up to $25,000 in annual purchases at U.S. supermarkets. It earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and amextravel.com. Meanwhile the Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airline purchases.
As a result I’ve got a nice 7 figure balance to work with, and it’s nice to know there are so many places I can transfer them.
- Star Alliance: Aeroplan, ANA, Singapore, LifeMiles
- oneworld: AsiaMiles, British Airways, Iberia
- SkyTeam: Aeromexico, Alitalia, Air France KLM, Delta
- Non-alliance: Etihad, Emirates, El Al, Hawaiian, JetBlue, Aer Lingus, Virgin Atlantic
- Hotels: Choice, Hilton, Starwood (soon to be Marriott)