Lifemiles has taken the interesting step of launching a monthly subscription service that give you a certain number of miles each month, with a further bonus if you subscribe for an entire year. There are currently six subscription plans on offer that range between US$10.99 to US$129.99 per month.
You can cancel your subscription at any time, but you only earn the bonus if you complete your subscription period (i.e. 12 months). The key question you should be asking is “what is my effective price per mile?” Here’s how it breaks down:
- Plan 500 (US$10.99/mo)- 1.65 US cents permile
- Plan 1,000 (US$19.99/mo)-1.6 US cents per mile
- Plan 2,000 (US$32.99/mo)- 1.41 US cents per mile
- Plan 3,000 (US$49.99/mo)- 1.41 US cents per mile
- Plan 6,000 (US$92.99/mo)- 1.39 US cents per mile
- Plan 8,000 (US$129.99/mo)- 1.39 US cents per mile
The calculations above assume you see out your subscription to term, that is, complete the 12 month period.
I’m not sure I’m entirely sold on this concept for two reasons:
- Lifemiles runs frequent sales throughout the year. So long as the bonus on offer is at least 140%, you’re able to buy miles at 1.375 US cents per mile or lower, which is cheaper than the lowest cost under the subscription plan. Most promotions we’ve seen (like the just-ended Milelion exclusive promo) max out at 140%, although 150% promos are not unheard of (but the exception rather than the rule, and you certainly shouldn’t base your expectations on that)
- I’m a strong advocate of not holding on to purchased miles of any form (Alaska, United, Lifemiles etc). If you’re buying miles, you should already have identified a way of spending them and the miles should only be in your account as a transitory step. See award space–> buy miles–> redeem miles. If you subscribe to a plan like this, you’re basically committing to hold miles in your balance until you’ve reached a sufficient critical mass to cash out
More than a few people have pointed out this subscription service may be a way of getting around Lifemiles’ new 12 month expiry period (your Lifemiles expire if you do not have an accruals related transaction in a 12 month period, redemptions do not count), but to them I’d raise the same point: why are you holding your Lifemiles for so long that expiry becomes an issue?
Others have voiced concerns that this subscription service means Lifemiles will stop doing their regular sales throughout the year. I just can’t see that happening, given how the sales must be a fantastic source of income for the program. If anything, I think this is more of an ancillary revenue stream, and we’ll continue to see sales as per normal.
So this is definitely an innovative move by Lifemiles, but whether or not you find it useful depends on how you feel about holding miles and whether you need a way of putting a fixed monthly spend on your credit card.
P.S: If you missed out on the Milelion Lifemiles sale, do note that One Mile at a Time is offering a similar 140% bonus now that requires registration. Find out more here.