Stack LifeMiles Promotions to Save on Incredible Awards (Lufthansa First Class: 33k Points + $665)

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LifeMiles has become a cult classic among intermediate and advanced-level award travelers. As the loyalty program for Avianca, it offers some incredibly lucrative redemption rates on Star Alliance partners. But also because the program has become known for industry-leading promotions.

If you haven't had a chance to take advantage of LifeMiles's exceptional award pricing yet, now could be a perfect time. That's because there are currently two amazing promotions going on at the same time. Through August 20, 2021, loyalty members get 115% bonus miles on LifeMiles transferred to friends or family. Plus, through August 27, 2021, get a 25% transfer bonus on transfers from Citi ThankYou points. Or you can transfer Marriott Bonvoy or IHG Rewards to LifeMiles with a 25% bonus through September 30, 2021.

If you are in “two-player mode” and collect Citi ThankYou points, you can leverage both promotions for unbelievable redemptions—including Lufthansa first class for as few as 17,000 ThankYou Points!

Transfer LifeMiles to Friends or Family for a 115% Bonus

  • This transfer mile offer is available through August 20, 2021
  • Transfer in multiples of 1,000 LifeMiles at a rate of $15 per 1,000
  • The minimum transfer amount is 1,000 LifeMiles; the maximum transfer amount is 75,000 LifeMiles (excluding applicable bonuses) per calendar year 

If you have someone to transfer to, this promotion allows members to effectively buy LifeMiles for 1.3¢ apiece.

LifeMiles transfer bonus email banner

Here's how this could be useful. Let's say you want to book a business class award from the U.S. to Europe. This typically costs 63,000 LifeMiles plus taxes and fees (usually $24.70 when departing the U.S. + a $25 booking fee). Through this promotion, you can get it for a lot fewer miles.

Start by transferring 30,000 LifeMiles to your significant other, friend, or family member at the cost of $450. After the 115% bonus, that person will receive 64,500 LifeMiles. After adding in taxes/fees on the award, the total price of the business class award comes to 30,000 LifeMiles and $500. That's a steal for business class to Europe!

25% Citi ThankYou Point Transfer Bonus

LifeMiles Transfer Partners

LifeMiles is currently a transfer partner of four major transferrable points programs:

LifeMiles transfer bonuses are a fairly regular occurrence between most of these partners, and 25% seems to be the typical bonus. However, just because it's predictable doesn't mean it's not a great opportunity.

For instance, a one-way itinerary between the U.S. and Argentina typically costs 60,000 LifeMiles in business class. But, with the transfer bonus, you could book that same award by transferring 48,000 ThankYou points during a transfer promotion.

Book Lufthansa First Class for 33,000 ThankYou Points + $665

lufthansa-first-class

The real fun starts when you combine both promotions for one premium cabin redemption.

One of the most aspirational bookings an award traveler can make is for Lufthansa's famous first-class product, and LifeMiles is a great way to do it. LifeMiles doesn't pass on Lufthansa's notoriously high surcharges that other programs do.

LifeMiles charges a reasonable 87,000 LifeMiles for a first-class award between the U.S. and Europe. However, LifeMiles doesn't pass on the massive carrier-imposed surcharges. And, by combining the current promotions, you can make the same booking for far fewer points and a reasonable amount of cash.

Here's one example of how you can make it work:

  1. Transfer 33,000 Citi ThankYou points to your LifeMiles account. LifeMiles will add a 25% bonus, and you'll end up with 41,250 LifeMiles
  2. Transfer 41,000 LifeMiles to a friend or family member's account at the cost of $615. With the 115% bonus, they'll receive a total of 88,150 LifeMiles
  3. Book the award, paying just $49.70 in taxes and fees

The total cost comes to 33,000 ThankYou points and $664.70. For a product that regularly sells for over $10,000 one-way, that's a stellar deal.

Other Redemption Opportunities

LifeMiles is chock full of award sweet spots and lucrative deals, so there's no need to limit yourself to Lufthansa first class. To illustrate, here's a chart with several LifeMiles redemptions and their cost under one (or both) of these promotions:

Route and Class of ServiceStandard Pricing (LifeMiles)ThankYou Points price using 25% transfer bonusLifeMiles price using 115% transfer bonusThankYou Points price using both transfer bonuses
U.S. Transcon in Business Class25k20k12k + $18010k + $180
U.S. to Japan in First Class90k72k42k + $63034k + $630
U.S. to Middle East in Business Class78k63k37k + $55530k + $555
U.S. to Australia / New Zealand in Economy Class40k32k19k + $28516k + $285
Flights within North Asia in Business Class22.5k18k11k + $1659k + $165

Note that LifeMiles charges a $25 booking fee on many awards. This fee and the minimal award taxes/fees aren't included in the out-of-pocket cost in this table.

Overall, you can save a lot of points if you're willing to shell out a little cash. That's particularly useful for aspirational premium-cabin bookings—like Lufthansa or ANA first class. However, for economy redemptions, you're probably better off using all miles and saving your money.

LifeMiles + Money Option

The last piece of this puzzle to consider is the fact that LifeMiles allows members to buy any missing miles to complete an award booking. What's nice about this is that the rate drops as low as 1.5¢ per mile. So, even if you don't have enough LifeMiles to reach the required amount through either (or both) bonuses, you could purchase the rest at the time of booking.

Here's an example of what it could look like for a Lufthansa first class redemption:

  • Transfer 17,000 Citi ThankYou points to your LifeMiles account
  • With the 25% transfer bonus, you end up with 21,250 LifeMiles
  • Transfer 21,000 miles to your friend or family member's LifeMiles account at the cost of $315
  • Your friend or family member receives 45,150 miles total after the 115% bonus
  • Buy the remaining 42,000 miles at booking via “LifeMiles + Cash” for $630

In total, this redemption costs just 17,000 Citi ThankYou points and ~$995 out of pocket ($315 transfer cost + $630 LifeMiles+Money + $49.70 in taxes).

LifeMiles Miles+Cash example for Lufthansa First Class

Bottom Line

At the moment, LifeMiles is hosting two incredibly lucrative promotions at the same time. First, you can receive a 115% bonus when transferring LifeMiles to another account. Second, converting Citi ThankYou points to LifeMiles results in a 25% bonus. If used in combination, these promotions pave the way to booking amazing trips for a fraction of the standard award price.

In the end, paying $15 for 1,150 bonus miles is essentially buying LifeMiles for 1.3¢ each. That's pretty great considering the most recent buy-miles promotion we've seen from Avianca offered a rate of 1.32¢ per mile. But, it's up to everyone to decide individually if buying miles (at any price) is worth it. For me, though, the ability to book Lufthansa first class for as few as 17,000 points makes the decision a little easier.

How are you going to utilize this stacking opportunity?

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Comments

  • Too bad Avianca went bankrupt in Brazil. I really miss the great offers they used to have.

  • Would this allow you to have a stop, say JFK – FRA – ATH?

    • Great question. Yes! In fact, you might even pay fewer miles for an itinerary with a connecting flight. That’s because LifeMiles prices awards based on the cabin you fly in. So, if you fly in economy or “just” business class from FRA-ATH, you will pay less than just a first-class award from JFK-FRA.

  • I guess we could now start planning for the summer of 2022.

  • Extremely difficult to cancel the award with Lifemiles just in case you need to change the award ticket.

  • Very good trick to leverage the transfer bonus. Thanks for sharing!

  • This looks interesting however I am not familiar with Life miles and I dont really have travel plans to Europe so I will pass on this.

  • Again, with lifemiles your risking a total loss (although unlikely) if bankruptcy doesn’t produce a favorable outcome so best to use ASAP!

  • Great promo, thanks for the heads up with this

  • How can the program make money when it does not pass on the massive fuel surcharges of the partner?

    • I wish I knew more about the economics of airline partnerships, but I understand that airlines agree to a set reimbursement rate for particular flights. So, LifeMiles is paying Lufthansa like $600 for a first-class award ticket between the US and Europe – regardless of the fuel surcharges, etc. that we would find on a cash ticket.

  • gracias por avisar de las promociones para la compra de millas…siempre tuve la ilusiones de poder viajar en primera de lufthansa, y de esta manera se me va a ser mas facil realizarlo. Muy buenas las promos!!

  • Didnt know to much about Lifemiles until this article, thank you.

  • If you can find decent availability and are willing to jump through all the hoops to stack these promotions, it may be worth all the trouble to get into LH F class and have something to brag about to your Points and Miles friends…..there are worse ways to get to Europe than LH F class….

  • So how are all these comments from 2020? Is this a repost of an old promotion or a new promotion that someone mixed up? Is it valid?

    • It is valid! LifeMiles ran very similar promotions last August. So, we just updated this post with the latest (115% transfer bonus instead of 125% bonus).

  • Redeem a Lufthansa First Class should be perfect but the Oil Fee also expensive. If you want to experience Lufthansa first you can buy one . orelse not suggest.

  • Not one to normally travel first class but the miles plus $616 doesn’t seem like the best deal to me- I’d rather spend $300 for the ticket in economy and save the miles and $300+ cash

  • Didn’t Avianca file for bankrupcy? Not sure I want to invest in them atm.

    • Avianca (the airline) did declare for reorganizational bankruptcy protection. LifeMiles is a separate legal entity and continues to operate as normal. If Avianca were to completely cease operations, that would be bad for LifeMiles. Members would lose access to partner awards (like Air Berlin’s TopBonus program or Jet Airways JetPrivilege), meaning the miles would certainly lose value. However, I’m personally optimistic that Avianca will pull through. My wife and I have LifeMiles that we aren’t scrambling to redeem (at least yet).

    • I think I will wait until it dies down with Covid to book any more award flights, already had to cancel two already!

  • AV prepare to close, why we need buy point to LifeMiles? Hope AV going well.

    • Avianca declared bankruptcy, but LifeMiles is a separate entity than the airline. Still, I would only take advantage of this promotion if you redeem the miles immediately for a high-value redemption.

  • What is the expiration policy of Lifemiles? Wondering if I can take advantage of this promo and store the miles until I am back traveling again.

  • This is a not bad promotion. However, travel here in Canada is problem with the 14 day quarantine upon return. I’m not sure I would take advantage of this right now. I suspect if things get worse, the promotions may be get better.

  • How to know which companies will survive the pandemic? I would buy thousands of miles if I had that guarantee.

  • My only use for Lifemiles was LH F, but this is now in a dark hole.
    Hopefully LH F will be around when the COVID19 days are behind us.

  • That is still a lot of money, especially since there are not much travelling being done right now.

  • The problem is when we will be able to travel again 🙁

  • Juan Ignacio says:

    Good deal, hope AV & Lifemiles can handle the crisis.

  • Nice promotion, not sure about traveling irrespective of the deal.

  • So I want to book a business class ATL to IST. United shows flights available on Turkish airlines for my desired dates, but LifeMiles shows no availability. Is there a trick here?

    • Ugh. LifeMiles can sometimes be strange about not showing availability. I’d try calling LifeMiles to see if they can find availability. It’s been a while since I’ve called, so I would be interested to hear if the agent can find the availability and book your award.

  • So on the LifeMiles website I can only find the link to get a bonus for the transfer of ThankYou points. Can you please post the link to the page for the bonus for Bonvoy transfers? Thanks.

  • I wish traveling was in my future to take advantage of this…

    • I completely share your forlorn sentiments.

    • So true. I just received notice today that my outbound flight for a trip I had planned in November has been canceled. I also saw the announcement that Bali will be closed to international travelers for the foreseeable future. I don’t see myself being able to travel internationally until there’s a vaccine.