LifeMiles is the frequent flyer program of Avianca, a member of Star Alliance. It runs frequent mileage sales and is a good way of getting discounted First and Business Class tickets, if you can find award space.
From now till 6 June 2 p.m SGT (edit: extended till 11 June 2 p.m SGT), LifeMiles is offering a 140% bonus on miles purchases for readers of One Mile at a Time. This is 15% higher than the current public sale of 125%.
Here’s how the bonus works:
- Buy 1,000-50,000 LifeMiles: 115% bonus (1.53 US cents each)
- Buy 51,000-100,000 LifeMiles: 130% bonus (1.43 US cents each)
- Buy 101,000-200,000 LifeMiles: 140% bonus (1.375 US cents each)
Unlike past promotions where you had to wait up to 24 hours to see the upsized bonus, this bonus can be enjoyed immediately upon registering.
LifeMiles purchases are processed directly by Avianca in USD, meaning that they code as foreign currency airfare spend. You’ll want to use one of the following cards to maximize the miles you earn:
- UOB Visa Signature: 4 mpd, with min $1K max $2K foreign currency spend in a statement period
- DBS Woman’s World Card: 4 mpd, max $2K spend per month
- SCB Visa Infinite: 3 mpd, with min $2K total spend in a statement period
- BOC Elite Miles World Mastercard: 3 mpd, no cap or minimum spend
- DBS Altitude Visa/DBS Altitude AMEX: 3 mpd, capped at $5K spend per month
The usual caveats about buying LifeMiles apply:
- Don’t buy them speculatively. Only buy them if you have a confirmed trip in mind and have found award space on LifeMiles (you don’t need to have any miles in your account to search for award space)
- You can’t redeem Singapore Airlines First or Business Class cabins on selected routes with LifeMiles
- LifeMiles may not see the same award space as other Star Alliance partners. Just because you see something on Aeroplan or United doesn’t necessarily mean it will appear on LifeMiles
- All changes and cancellations must be done through the Avianca call centre; they cannot be done online. It costs between US$100-200 to cancel an award ticket, depending on your origin and destination
LifeMiles expire after 12 months of account inactivity, but you shouldn’t be holding on to them for that long anyway. Some people have raised concerns about Avianca’s US$68M Q1 2019 loss and its bond downgrade. I’d point out that (1) LifeMiles is a separate legal entity from Avianca, and has a stable credit outlook from Moody’s and (2) the program’s financial future is only of concern to you if you’re holding on to LifeMiles, which you shouldn’t be in the first place.
You can buy a maximum of 200,000 LifeMiles each year (pre-bonus), and LifeMiles tickets can be redeemed for anyone you choose. There are no fuel surcharges on LifeMiles redemptions.
Up to 31% off Star Alliance redemptions
In addition to the 140% bonus sale, LifeMiles is offering up to 31% off selected Star Alliance redemptions. I’ve summarized the Business Class options in the table below (note that these discounts may apply one-way only).
The only destination on offer ex-SIN is Tokyo Narita, at 31K miles instead of the usual 36K. That said, provided you’re willing to position yourself to nearby destinations like HKG and TPE, you’ll be able to take advantage of discounted US award tickets too.
The discounted price will appear when you search for space on selected routes. These discounted prices are available for any travel dates you can find in the LifeMiles system, so long as you make your redemption before 20 June 2pm SGT.
Assuming you can find the award space you need, LifeMiles can be a great program to use. That said, this isn’t a program that newcomers to the miles and points game should jump into, and if you’re asking questions like “can I transfer LifeMiles to KrisFlyer?” may I gently suggest that this is not for you.