Those of you who have been using Mileslife (full disclosure: I’m currently working here) for a while may have noticed the Mileslife Health icon hovering at the bottom right of your screen.
Tapping on the icon brings up the Mileslife Health interface, which was officially launched today after soft launching a few weeks back.
What is Mileslife Health? It’s a way of earning miles from your day to day fitness activities. Link Mileslife Health to your Google Fit or Apple Health account to sync your steps. Steps can be converted to airline miles in any of Mileslife’s 16 frequent flyer partners.
As the image above shows, you earn 2/4/8 miles for 5/10/20K steps, with the option to earn 4/8/16 miles for the equivalent bands if you make a purchase on Mileslife. I realise those aren’t exactly eye-popping earning figures. Put it another way: you’d have to walk 220 million steps before you could redeem a one-way business class ticket (the average person walks about 216 million steps in his/her lifetime) to the USA.
But looking at it that way kind of misses the point. Mileslife Health wasn’t designed to be a miles generation machine. Instead, its best use case is a lot more subtle- it’s for situations where you need a very small number of miles, fast. What do I mean?
To keep miles from expiring
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer uses what we call a time-based expiry policy, where miles expire 3 years after they’re accrued, regardless of activity.
Other frequent flyer programs adopt activity-based expiry policies, where points can be extended indefinitely so long as you’ve got some accrual or redemption activity in your account within a particular period (check out my argument for why KrisFlyer should also switch to such a system here).
Mileslife Health can be useful here because the crediting of miles, even a very small amount, counts as an activity that extends the validity of your entire balance. British Airways/iberia Avios, United MileagePlus, Hainan Airlines Fortune Wings and LifeMiles all have activity-based expiry policies.
For example, you may have bought LifeMiles or MileagePlus miles during one of the recent sales, but not finished using up your balance. The last thing you’d want is for that to expire while waiting for your next redemption opportunity, so be sure to credit some miles now and then to the account with Mileslife and keep the entire balance alive.
To start buying miles
British Airways Avios are extremely useful for good value short haul redemptions, as I’ve outlined in this post. Avios can be earned through Mileslife, Citibank and American Express credit cards, but you can also buy them outright from from the airline.
The best public sale for Avios is a 50% bonus, or 0.012 Euros each. The problem? Avios does not allow you to purchase miles unless you have at least 1 Avios in your account. Solution? Walk 5,000 steps and credit the those free miles to your British Airways Avios account.
Clear on the use cases? Now a few other things to note about Mileslife Health…
You need to manually redeem your steps
Before the clock strikes midnight, you’ll need to hit the big “Press to Redeem” button on Mileslife Health to claim your miles. No press, no miles.
You can only redeem your steps once per day
Feel really smug about hitting 5,000 steps and want to redeem your 2 miles? Unless you’re done for the day, don’t hit that redeem button just yet. That’s because redemption is limited to one per day, meaning that if you redeem at 5,000 and subsequently hit 10,000 steps, you can’t claim the incremental 2 miles you’d normally get.
Support for external fitness devices
My perfect physique means I never need to go running, but I’m told that most people don’t exactly hold their phones in their hand when they do. Mileslife Health supports the syncing of fitness data from external devices with Google Fit (remember that Google Fit doesn’t play well with Fitbit though) and will soon support external device data with Apple Health.
One transaction at least once every 30 days
If you don’t have a Mileslife transaction of at least $10 after a 30 day period, you’ll no longer be able to redeem your steps for miles. This is to stop people from strapping their phone to a dog/large possum and letting them have a free roam. Or buying one of these:
Using Mileslife Health alone may not be enough to get you jetting off anywhere soon, but don’t discount the importance of being able to credit small amounts of miles on short notice (Mileslife typically posts in 1 working day) at no cost.
So link your fitness device and start walking your way to some free miles.