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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 31, 2020, loyalty members get 125% bonus miles on LifeMiles transferred to friends or family. Plus, through September 18, 2020, transfers from Citi ThankYou points, Marriott Bonvoy or IHG Rewards also receive a 25% bonus.
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 only 32,000 ThankYou Points!
Transfer LifeMiles to Friends or Family for a 125% Bonus
- This transfer mile offer is available from August 18, 2020 – August 31, 2020
- 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 1.2¢ apiece.
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 $5.60 when departing the U.S. + a $25 booking fee). Through this promotion, you can get it for a lot fewer miles.
Start by transferring 28,000 LifeMiles to your significant other, friend or family member at the cost of $420. After the 125% bonus, that person will receive 63,000 LifeMiles. After adding in taxes/fees on the award, the total price of the business class award comes to 28,000 LifeMiles and $450.60. That's a steal for business class to Europe!
25% Citi ThankYou Point Transfer Bonus
- Transfer at least 1,000 Citi ThankYou points to Avianca LifeMiles and receive a 25% bonus
- Offer valid from August 17, 2020 – September 18, 2020
- Avianca will deposit the bonus miles in a separate transaction
- The name on your LifeMiles account must match the name from your Citi account
- Point transfers are irreversible and non-refundable
LifeMiles Transfer Partners
LifeMiles is currently a transfer partner of four transferrable points programs:
- Citi ThankYou points
- American Express Membership Rewards points
- Capital One miles
- Marriott Bonvoy points
LifeMiles transfer bonuses are a fairly regular occurrence between most of these partners, and 25% is 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 32,000 Points + $616
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. It doesn't pass on Lufthansa's notoriously-high surcharges that some other programs do. For example, Aeroplan currently offers a reasonable 70,000-mile rate for Lufthansa first class awards. However, you'll have to pay over $800 in taxes/fees to get this rate:
Meanwhile, LifeMiles charges 87,000 LifeMiles for a first-class redemption 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:
- Transfer 32,000 Citi ThankYou points to your LifeMiles account. LifeMiles will add a 25% bonus, and you'll end up with 40,000 LifeMiles
- Transfer 39,000 LifeMiles to your a friend or family member's account at the cost of $585. With the 125% bonus, they'll receive a total of 87,750 LifeMiles
- Book the award, paying just $30.60 in taxes and fees
The total cost comes to 32,000 ThankYou points and $615.60. 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 Service||Standard Pricing (LIfeMiles)||Price with LifeMiles 125% Transfer Bonus (LifeMiles)||Price with Citi TYP 25% Transfer bonus (ThankYou points)||Price with Both Bonuses (ThankYou points)|
|U.S. Transcon in Business Class||25K + $5.60||12K + $185.60||20K + $5.60||10K + $185.60|
|U.S. to Japan in First Class||90K + $5.60||40K + $605.60||72K + $5.60||32K + $605.60|
|U.S. to Middle East in Business Class||78K + $12.91||35K + $537.91||63K + $12.91||28K + $537.91|
|U.S. to Australia / New Zealand in Economy Class||40K + $12.91||18K + $282.91||32K + $12.91||15K + $282.91|
|Flights within North Asia in Business Class||22.5K + $12.91||10K + $162.91||18K + $12.91||8K + $162.91|
Note that LifeMiles charges a $25 booking fee on many awards. This fee isn'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 20,000 Citi ThankYou points to your LifeMiles account
- With the 25% transfer bonus, you end up with 25,000 LifeMiles
- Transfer those 25,000 miles to your friend or family member's LifeMiles account at the cost of $375
- Your friend or family member receives 56,250 miles total after the 125% bonus
- Buy the remaining 31,000 miles at booking via “LifeMiles + Cash” for $465
In total, this redemption costs just 20,000 Citi ThankYou points and ~$870.60 out of pocket (including the $30.60 in taxes).
At the moment, LifeMiles is hosting two incredibly lucrative promotions at the same time. First, you can receive a 125% 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 1,250 bonus miles is essentially buying LifeMiles for 1.2¢ each. That's pretty great considering the best buy-miles promotion we've ever seen from Avianca offered a rate of 1.29¢ 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 only 32,000 points makes the decision a little easier.
How are you going to utilize this stacking opportunity?
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