Tag Archives: lifemiles

Lifemiles is offering discounted redemption tickets, but should you bite?

I mentioned yesterday that Ben over at OMAAT had managed to wrangle a special deal for his readers. To summarise, readers from OMAAT could register at this page to

  • Buy Lifemiles at a 140% bonus (with a minimum 101,000 mile purchase), equivalent to 1.375 US cents per mile
  • Redeem Lifemiles at an unspecified discount

I registered yesterday and received a confirmation email from Lifemiles that my 140% bonus was now active.

As for the discount, well, the unspecified discount is now specified, and is it worth the hoopla? Let’s have a look.

From now till 2 Jan 2017, you can book discounted Lifemiles tickets for certain routes. It says that travel period is until Dec 2017, but does not specify exactly when in Dec (i.e. start Dec? End Dec?). I suppose if you’re trying to book and you don’t see the discount reflected, it means your period isn’t valid.

As I mentioned in my analysis, given that OMAAT’s readership is mainly American, this promotion was created with US-based flyers in mind. We can see this in the way Lifemiles has further split the USA into several sub redemption zones for the purposes of this promotion (on the regular Lifemiles chart the entire continental USA is one zone). Here’s the chart, reflecting round trip prices (one ways are 50%)-

And here are the zones covered for this promotion.

So let me start with the bad news- there is no promotion on journeys starting or ending in Singapore, or anywhere conveniently accessible from Singapore like Malaysia or Thailand. 

Image result for darth vader no gif

To be fair, I did warn you in my other article this might happen

Of course, this, like my love life, could turn out to be a damp squib. Given OMAAT’s US-centric focus, it is entirely possible that the routes on discount could be domestic US routes, or journeys that must start in the USA, or routes that otherwise have little relevance to SG-based flyers.

So I’ve been wracking my brain to see if there’s anything us Singapore-based flyers can use, and here’s my analysis. Yes, I’m mostly grasping at straws here.

(1) If you could position yourself to South Asia…

The closest destinations to Singapore that are covered by this promotion are in South Asia. Geographically speaking, the closest one is in Colombo, a 3h 50 min flight from Singapore.

Hypothetically speaking, you could position yourself to Colombo and then take advantage of the discounted rates to USA 1 (East Coast USA), which includes New York.

And as soon as I say that, the following occurs to me-

(1) If you’re positioned in Colombo (or anywhere in South Asia for that matter) your are probably going to end up with Air India award space. And we all know what happens when you fly Air India….

(2) The incremental savings don’t really make the additional costs and time to position worth it. You save 3,000 miles on business class tickets to USA 1 (East Coast USA) and 2,000 miles on first class. That’s just not worth the trouble

(2) If you for some reason needed to travel between Europe and the East Coast…

The second thing I realised is that even for US-based flyers, the promotion is quite limited. Unless you live in USA 1, you don’t have a lot of places to choose from. The only international destinations USA 2 flyers can access are the Caribbean and Brazil. Live in USA 3 (West Coast)? The only international destination you have is Brazil.

But assuming you had just finished a nice holiday in New York and suddenly had the urge to visit the UK, you could now save on First and Business Class redemptions (I imagine you’d be flying either United or Lufthansa, with a transit) to the tune below. In business class, 52,500 is a good saving from 63,000, and in first,  75,000 is a good discount from 87,000.

One Way prices. Chart from OMAAT

You can’t even use this to make the infamous SQ25/26 route work for you, because it’s usually the SIN-FRA leg that is full, while the FRA-JFK leg has availability. But given that there’s no awards available to Singapore, you can’t even use this promotion to position yourself for an easier SQ redemption.

(3) If you have US domestic travel coming up…

I’m travelling to Miami in March, but to get there I’ll need to transfer in IAH, and to get back I’ll need to transit in JFK.

Both Texas and Florida are in USA 2, so I’d be paying the following rates (read the second row)

one way prices. Chart from OMAAT.

For comparison, on Krisflyer’s partner award chart they charge the following for domestic US flights, regardless of where in the US.

one way prices Economy Business First
Partner: North America (Canada, USA ex Hawaii) -North America 12,500 20,000 30,00

You can see that I’d be paying 7,500 LMs vs 12,500 Krisflyer miles to get from IAH to MIA. Or if I wanted to fly first class (remember that US domestic first class tickets as business class, so you should look at the business class prices) I’d be paying 15,000 LMs vs 20,000 Krisflyer miles.

So there is some limited value there. I’ve already booked my travel so I’d have to pay a US$15 fee. 7,500 LMs cost US$103, and together with the LM US$25 redemption charge I’m looking at US$128 before taxes (which are likely to be minimal). If I value my Krisflyer miles at 2-3 cents each, then those 12,500 miles are worth S$250-S$375, meaning I’d be somewhat better off redeeming Lifemiles. On the other hand, I paid out of pocket for Lifemiles and my Krisflyer miles are entirely the byproduct of my regular spending.

Conclusion

I think there simply isn’t anything of value here for SG-based flyers, unless you require travel that starts and ends outside of Singapore.

In a way it makes me feel a bit better about booking my JFK-SIN return leg on my Miami trip already. If there was actually a discount on tickets to Singapore, I’d have to weigh whether the savings would be worth the US$50 cancellation fee and the time I’d need to spend on the phone with Lifemiles customer service.

TL;DR, grapes are probably sour anyway.

Image result for sour grapes fox

Are there any opportunities for SG-based flyers that I’ve missed out?

HT: OMAAT

Lifemiles 140% bonus is back plus a special offer on redemption

If you know travel hacking, you probably know Ben aka Lucky, the founder of One Mile at a Time (OMAAT).

Here’s an excellent Rolling Stone profile about him, if you have the time to read it. The man is an absolute legend in the community, and together with Gary Leff at View from the Wing is probably among the most influential bloggers in this space.

Why am I bringing him up? Because OMAAT is doing two special promotions with Lifemiles– one that lets you buy Lifemiles with an additional bonus, and one that lets you redeem Lifemiles at a discount.

Buying Lifemiles with a bonus

Lifemiles has done two sales in the past few weeks. The first was a no-holds-barred 140% deal they ran for Cyber Week, so long as you bought a minimum of 5,000 miles.

I said at the time that this was one of the best deals in recent memory because not only did it allow you to buy LM at 1.375 US cents each, it also didn’t require you to buy >101,000 LMs to enjoy that rate. This was great for topping up accounts that were just short of whatever amount you needed to cash out.

The second promotion (which is currently going on until 20 Dec) was a bit more meh-ish, so much so I didn’t even bother to write anything about it.

Don´t miss out on Cyber Week LifeMiles

This was a more traditional Lifemiles sale where the bonus you got depended on how many miles you bought. You’ll see that the maximum bonus is 130%, and requires you to buy at least 101,000 miles. Given the great Cyber Week sale, where you could get a 140% bonus for any purchase amount above 5,000, I felt this wasn’t anything to shout about.

Well, what’s happening now is that readers of OMAAT (i.e. everybody) can get an additional bonus on top of the published rates. If you register via this link (I imagine Ben gets some sort of referral bonus for this. I get a warm and fuzzy feeling knowing someone else benefited) and wait 24 hours, you should be able to get an additional bonus on your miles, as illustrated below.

Is this the best sale ever? No- the Cyber Week sale was still better, given that under the current OMAAT promotion you need to buy a minimum of 101,000 miles to get the 140% bonus. But if you missed the boat last time, here’s a way you can get back on. And I’ll take 140% over 130% any day of the week.

Redeeming Lifemiles at a discount

ANA First Class, another one of my Lifemiles bounties

Now here’s the promotion that I’m really interested in. Ben has teased the following-

On top of the additional bonus on purchased miles, there’s also going to be a special promotion for OMAAT readers redeeming miles (including for travel in first & business class), which I’ll be sharing the details of shortly. So I’d recommend registering at this link even if you’re not 100% sure if you’ll want to buy miles yet, just so you have the option and your account is activated for the bonus.

Of course, this, like my love life, could turn out to be a damp squib. Given OMAAT’s US-centric focus, it is entirely possible that the routes on discount could be domestic US routes, or journeys that must start in the USA, or routes that otherwise have little relevance to SG-based flyers. I don’t know. But it costs nothing to register, so I’d watch this space very carefully. I just booked a LM business class redemption for 78,000 miles, so I’d be keen to see whether it makes sense to cancel and rebook given what the promotion turns out to be.

Ben has mentioned that more details will be available within 24 hours.

A spanner in the works?

I think it’s only fair to mention one other thing

Delta and United are sniffing around Avianca, and the word is that one of them will buy a controlling stake. Why am I mentioning this? Because it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that this will affect the Lifemiles program.

That said, (1) Lifemiles is a cash cow for Avianca. I can’t imagine why an acquirer would want to change that (2) the timeline on which this acquisition would take place is uncertain. If you’re buying Lifemiles anyway you should have an immediate/semi-immediate (3 months, tops) use for them. I certainly wouldn’t have them sit idle in my account for longer than that.

So have this at the back of your mind, but don’t let it stop you from jumping on what’s otherwise a good promotion.

Let’s see what discounted redemption rates are coming our way…

Lifemiles Cyber Week sale- 140% bonus now available!

Lifemiles are back on sale until November 28 with one of the better offers in recent memory.

With this promotion, you get a 140% bonus on miles purchased with a minimum purchase amount of 5,000 miles. What makes this promotion different from previous ones is the low threshold needed to enjoy the 140% bonus. 

In previous promotions, you would normally need to buy 100,000+ miles at one go to enjoy the maximum bonus. This meant splashing out thousands of dollars. With the current promotion, you can enjoy the maximum bonus so long as you buy at least 5,000 miles.

The regular purchase price of Lifemiles is 3.3 US cents each, so at a 140% bonus you’re paying 1.375 US cents per mile. That, to me, is a very good price to buy Lifemiles at.

In case you’re interested, previous promotions have sold miles at (albeit with much higher purchase requirements to enjoy the bonuses stated below)

  • Sept 2016- 130%  and 140% (2 sales in 1 month)
  • May 2016- 135%
  • Dec 2015- 150%
  • October 2015- 150%
  • September 2015- 145%
  • May 2015- 120%

Will I buy?

I love Lifemiles and some of my best trip experiences have been bought for cheap through the program.

ANA First Class
img_20160902_222721
Thai First Class

My usual policy is not to buy miles speculatively, but since I have an odd balance in my account now (59,200) I will take advantage of this promotion to top up my balance so the equivalent of one First Class award ticket to the US handy (99,000 miles).

As a reminder, here are some of the amounts you will need to redeem first/business class tickets from Singapore. See the full award chart here.

All prices one-way

  • Singapore to North America (78,000/99,000)
  • Singapore to Europe (78,000/102,000)
  • Singapore to Australia (40,000/60,000)

Remember that Lifemiles does not allow you to book SQ premium cabin space (except on routes with their regional business class product), you can cancel your tickets any time for a US$50 fee (but you need to call up the call centre) and you can only book your routes based on what you see on the online search engine.

On the plus side, there are no fuel surcharges. Also, mixed cabin bookings are now available which opens up the possibility of flying products like Thai’s First Class after connecting to BKK in business.

Lifemiles purchases will earn 4 miles per $1 when you buy with your

  • DBS Woman’s World Card
  • HSBC Advance Card

I do not have any info on whether Citibank Rewards or UOB PP Visa will get the 4 miles per $1. My suspicion is no, because the transaction will code as an airline transaction and the T&C of both cards explicitly exclude that from the bonus.

They will earn 3 miles per $1 when bought with

  • DBS Altitude (AMEX or Visa), for the first $5,000 a month

The sale ends 28 November so act fast. Have a read of the Lifemiles primer if you need a quick reminder of how it works.