Lifemiles promotion is back, with some interesting maths to do…

Everyone’s favourite FFP, Lifemiles, has announced its latest mile selling promotion. From now until 30 Sept, purchases of Lifemiles will accrue a variable bonus, depending on the amount you buy. Note that this different from the usual promotion, where the bonus you get is fixed.

lifemilesbonus

The chart above looks pretty sweet, but it gets better. Apparently, registering your FFP number here gets you a bonus 10% miles on top of whatever you buy. That said, the terms and conditions say you need to register by 8th Sept to enjoy this. It doesn’t hurt to try though. It accepted my registration on the 9th, but you shouldn’t view this as a guaranteed bonus. If you get it, great, but don’t factor it into your calculations.

The cost per mile can be summarised as such (remember that you pay $33 for 1,000 miles). I’ve only taken the published bonus into account below and not the 10% mentioned above.

Purchase quantity Obtained quantity Cost per mile (USD)
1,000-3,000 1,500-4,500 0.022
4,000-6,000 7,000-10,500 0.019
7,000-12,000 14,000-24,000 0.017
13,000-25,000 26,550-51,250 0.016
26,000-40,000 54,600-84,000 0.016
41,000-60,000 88,150-129,000 0.015
61,000-100,000 137,250-225,000 0.015
101,000-150,000 237,350-352,500 0.014

Obviously, the more miles you buy, the better the deal. 1.4 cents per mile is good value ASSUMING you already have an intended use in mind for the miles. I would strongly advise against buying speculatively, given the potential for devaluations.

Also, the USD has appreciated quite a bit vis a vie the SGD in recent months, so that’s something else you want to factor into your calculations. The usual caveats about Lifemiles apply- you cannot book SQ premium cabin space except on short/medium haul flights, Lufthansa is blocking First class award availability, cancellations cost US$50 and about 40 mins of your time with customer service, you cannot do mixed class bookings.  Remember that the maximum Lifemiles you can buy each year (including bonuses) is 360,000 (they increased the cap for this promotion).

But, remember that a one-way ticket from SIN-SFO costs 78,000 miles on Lifemiles (and lets you experience EVA Air’s quite excellent business class), and that Lifemiles does not charge fuel surcharges. So there is potentially some excellent value to be found here if you’re ok with booking far in advance/very close to departure and can put up with some inconvenience.

So, what do you guys think?

EDIT: I’ve been reminded that there’s still the bonus miles you’ll earn on your credit card for this purchase. This transaction will code as Avianca, meaning that if you’re using the DBS Altitude AMEX card and you’re within your first 6 months, you’ll earn 4.5 miles for every S$1 spent. You can’t combine Lifemiles and Krisflyer to do a redemption, obviously, but consider this a bonus.

EDIT EDIT: To summarise what you can’t do with Lifemiles

  • Book SQ premium cabin space on their latest products (except in rare, rare instances)
  • Book mixed cabin awards (eg fly J on one leg, F on another. If you want to fly F you need to make sure the flight you pick has F throughout)
  • Book a stopover
  • Make online changes to your booking (change fees via call centre are $150, it is actually cheaper to cancel for $50 and rebook)

 

20 thoughts on “Lifemiles promotion is back, with some interesting maths to do…”

  1. Is the miles purchased instantly credited to your account? I bought some miles last night, credit card charged, but the LifeMiles is still 0 as of now.

    1. miles should definitely credit instantly- they did so for me in all my past transactions. I hate to say this but you should really give customer service a call asap. they have an toll free number you can dial from Skype (it’s us based)

  2. Do you have any tips on searching for available flights for redemption on the Lifemiles website? I’m really struggling to find business class tickets to Europe at the period that I want, even when I randomly pick dates there’s always no availability. It doesn’t help that the Lifemiles website search function is so slow

    1. which route are you looking at? sometimes this is route specific. and which period are you looking at? remember the >9 months <2 weeks rule. Let me know and I'll see what I can find

  3. I am really considering going for the max purchase here (7000 SGD). The one thing missing from your calculations (but I am sure you’re obviously thinking about this) is, the fact that you will also get the miles from using your credit card here in SG. So, when looking at the actual cost per mile, this should fall even further with the miles eventually credited to the KrisFlyer account :-).

    My problem is, that this would be somewhat speculative and although I know I will be flying to Europe summer 2016 and winter 2016, I am not sure the gamble would be worth the 7k.

    What do you think?

    1. Hi wolfgang. I’ll edit the post to reflect the bonus miles you’d get using your amex altitude card (this counts as airline spend, so 4.5 miles if you’re within your first 6 months period!) Of course, you can’t combine lifemiles and krisflyer so this doesn’t add to your total, but you’re right, it does bring down the cost.

      For summer 2016, now is actually a good time to start looking at availability. winter 2016 is still too far out for there to be award space, but remember with lifemiles your best times of booking are >9 months and <2 weeks before you fly. anything inbetween is a crapshoot. Lifemiles had a devaluation (announced in advance) last year, so I think they're not going to have another one too soon- and they seem to have learned from last time so I would guess they'd announce it beforehand. The annoying thing is, we can never be sure. I'd say that you should buy what you need plus a little extra, don't need to max out this promotion as lifemiles's business model is to sell miles. I don't see them stopping that anytime soon

  4. Hey,

    Thanks so much for your quick reply. I was going to use the AMEX card although, last time I called they also said, their promotion is only until a certain spend/ a certain mile bonus. If this is true, I may have well maxed this already.

    The routes I am looking at are basically these:
    SIN – TLS

    Alternatively:
    SIN – BCN or
    SIN – ZRH

    I will be flying with my wife so calculated that if I were to max the purchase, this could give us 2 return business flights to Europe or, would give us quite a number of business/ first class flights to Japan (where my wife is from). Most likely, I would actually use the miles for trips to Japan over the next few years as the flights to Europe are generally the ones I use to keep Aegean (star alliance) gold status.
    I have recently taken advantage of the Thai Air business deal and bit the bullet and bought a business class ticket for Christmas 2015. This one flight, unless Aegean have another change of heart about mile accrual, will then give me all the miles I need to keep status for 2016.

    BTW, I messed the Alitalia status match up….I jumped the gun before my new card came through :-(. I am now only matched until March 2016 🙂

    1. the 4.5 miles per $1 on airline spend is capped at $10,000 each month- unless you’re doing an insane volume of flying (or if you company lets you fly premium class travel, lucky you), it’s a bit hard to break that cap.

      I’m afraid I’m not understanding your second point- Singapore to Japan is pretty good value on lifemiles at 36,000 miles for business class so I’d definitely recommend taking that route if you can. Can you clarify what you’re asking?

      Bad luck on the Alitalia status match- but remember the status match is once per the lifetime of your account. If you really wanted to the door is always open to you matching your current program to airberlin, creating a new Alitalia account and then matching to Alitalia with the airberlin card sometime down the road…

  5. Hi MileLion

    I have signed up for Lifemiles after reading your website but somehow the email notifications came in a language I didnt understand and hence I missed out the notifications on the above promotion until you have mentioned it again on your website here.

    One question I have – you mentioned that SIN-JAPAN is good value at 36,000 miles one way on business class with no fuel surcharge.

    Assuming I have bought the maximum miles n on the current exchange rate, it would have cost me around S$7,000. At 36,000 one way, it would have allowed for 9 one-way trips or rather S$1,500 for a return business class trip. SQ business-class return tickets from Japan cost abt S$2500-S$2700 depending on dates so the cost-savings is about S$1000-S$1200 per trip. Assuming I am always flying from Japan to Singapore, am I getting my sums right?

    1. hey there! Lifemiles is from Avianca which is based in Colombia so I believe all correspondence is in Spanish. There’s a way to tweak the language in which you get emails, I believe you can do so in your profile.

      Regarding Sin to Japan, a round trip price would cost you 72K miles, plus airport taxes (no fuel surcharges). The total taxes should be ~70 USD
      Assuming you’re paying 0.014 US cents per mile, this total price would be 1.5k SGD. your calculations are good.

      a few caveats to this. (1), you may not be able to get availability on the date you want. I cannot emphasise this enough- you cannot view this as a pure substitute for revenue tickets because award tickets will always be subject to the vagaries of airline decisions to release award seats. (2) you may not be able to get a direct flight. Some of the routings i’ve seen to Narita involve a layover in Jakarta. That said, I’m searching 15 Sept depart 22 Sept return and can get ANA direct flights both days.

      It’s for these reasons that I don’t advise you to buy and hold too much- if you already know which dates you want to fly, check the availability online, confirm it’s available then buy and redeem straight away. If you want to hold the equivalent of another round trip flight that’s sort of ok, but I definitely wouldn’t hold more than that.

      Remember to try the both NRT and HND airports- ANA offers service and redemptions to both!

  6. Thanks for the response. Yes, I agree about the Japan trip being a good deal. All I was saying is that although, I would love to use the miles for the Europe trip, I think I’ll get more bang for the buck if flying to Japan. Also, as outlined, I probably need the longest haul flight (in my case, Europe), to maintain status every year.

    Are you going to buy the max. miles?

    1. Protip- check out Singapore to Honolulu. 51K miles for one way business class is a mega sweet spot if you intend to go to Hawaii

      I’m booked solid on work trips till year end so no miles for me. I’ve still got 72K left over from the last lifemiles promo I’m trying to spend maybe early Jan. 🙁

  7. Hi, any idea whether upon cancellation, miles are credited back to account immediately?

    Also, any idea on whether stop overs are permitted, and if so, do we call the Avianca service line to request or can it somehow be done online? Thanks!

    1. Yes, in my experience refund of miles is instant (something SQ could learn from). The drawback of Lifemiles is that you get whatever you see on the website. No stopovers, sadly. You could book 2 one ways…but that’d kind of defeat the purpose.

  8. Thanks aaronwong, decided to take the risk and buy since my travel dates are still far out, both dates & destination are flexible and I only want 1 tix. Keeping my fingers crossed!

  9. It seems that if one is travelling with a companion, there’s no way to guarantee that after booking one award ticket (each on separate lifemiles accounts), that there will remain availability for the other ticket.

    Is there any way you can tell if more than one seat is available, or does lifemiles allow one person to book two tickets on the same flight for 2 individuals?

    1. Yes, absolutely. Lifemiles has a feature that lets you search for more than 1 ticket. So if there are 2 available you can book both at the same time. it’s really simple to do. Anyway lifemiles is not like sq in that you can redeem for anyone, not just “redemption nominees”. In the final stage you can indicate the name of the person you are booking for. Of course this is contingent on you having enough miles in your account to book for two people. I’ve done it before though

  10. Ok, so if one books 2 tickets under the same booking, presumably the downside is that in the event either ticket needs to be changed or cancelled, the whole booking will have to be cancelled together?

    Or does it come out as two separate bookings even when booked from the same account for the same flight at the same time?

    1. That’s right. I never tried changing but since both tickets are on one PNR you cannot split out the bookings. It’s conceptually similar to buying 2 revenue tickets on SQ- the whole booking will be under one PNR and you can’t change one without modifying the other

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