LifeMiles is the frequent flyer programme of Star Alliance member Avianca. It runs periodic sales that allow members to purchase miles and redeem First and Business Class tickets at a fraction of the regular retail price.
With borders reopening and Singapore scrapping virtually all COVID-era travel restrictions, I recently resumed covering LifeMiles sales. Last month we saw a 150% bonus offered, and this month there’s another sale, albeit at a slightly lower 145% bonus.
LifeMiles offering up to 145% bonus
From now till 18 May 2022, 2 p.m SGT, LifeMiles is running a sale with up to a 145% bonus on purchased miles.
The 145% bonus is tiered as follows:
- Buy 1,000-20,000 miles: 125% bonus
- Buy 21,000-50,000 miles: 135% bonus
- Buy 51,000-200,000 miles: 145% bonus
Do note that different members may be targeted for different bonuses, so what you see may be different from me.
The bonus miles will be credited instantly upon purchase, and members can buy up to 200,000 miles (pre-bonus) per account, per calendar year.
A 145% bonus works out to paying 1.35 US cents per mile. It’s a price that can make sense depending on your circumstances, but far from the largest bonus we’ve ever seen. During the height of the pandemic, bonuses went up to 200% (though I imagine the news of Avianca’s bankruptcy had something to do with that; the airline has since emerged from bankruptcy protection).
What can you do with LifeMiles?
LifeMiles uses zone-based award charts, and here’s the cost of selected Business/First Class awards out of Singapore (classified under “South Asia”).
|LifeMiles Redemption Prices|
(from SIN, one-way)
|Business Class||First Class|
|To Japan||36,000 miles||50,000 miles|
|To Australia||40,000 miles||60,000 miles|
|To Hawaii||51,000 miles||75,000 miles|
|To North America||78,000 miles||99,000 miles|
|To Europe||78,000 miles||102,000 miles|
LifeMiles does not pass on fuel surcharges for redemptions, so you’ll only pay airport taxes.
A few important things to note about LifeMiles:
- Don’t buy them speculatively
- Only buy LifeMiles if you have a confirmed trip in mind and have found award space on LifeMiles (you don’t need any miles in your account to search)
- Singapore Airlines First and Business Class space will be restricted
- You can’t redeem Singapore Airlines First or Suites Class through LifeMiles (rare exceptions apply, and should not be taken as the norm). Business Class will only be available on certain regional routes
- 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. Always check availability via LifeMiles
- All changes and cancellations must be done through the Avianca call centre
- Changes to LifeMiles tickets cannot be done online, so you’ll need to use Skype to call and the experience can be hit and miss (some agents are excellent, others barely understand English). It costs between US$100-200 to cancel an award ticket, depending on your origin and destination
- LifeMiles tickets can be redeemed for anyone you choose
- You can put anyone’s name on a ticket- yours, your wife’s, the queen of England
- LifeMiles expire after 12 months of account inactivity
- Earning or redeeming at least one mile extends the validity of the entire balance by a further 12 months
The LifeMiles website is notoriously temperamental (documented here), but it’s behaving for me at the time of writing. Here’s some examples of awards I’ve been able to find:
SIN-LHR (Business): 78,000 miles + US$12.91
SIN-NRT (Business): 36,000 miles + US$12.91
SIN-SFO (Business): 78,000 miles + US$87.57
What card should I use for LifeMiles purchases?
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||Min S$1K max S$2K FCY spend per s. month|
|DBS Woman’s World Card|
|4 mpd||Max S$2K per c. month|
|UOB Lady’s Card|
|4 mpd*||Max S$1K per c. month|
|UOB Lady’s Solitaire|
|4 mpd*||Max S$3K per c. month|
|4 mpd||Max S$1K per c. month|
|SCB Visa Infinite|
|3 mpd||Min. S$2K spend per s. month|
|DBS Altitude AMEX or Visa|
|3 mpd||Max S$5K per c. month|
|S. Month= Statement Month | C. Month= Calendar Month|
*Must declare travel as quarterly 10X category
I’d recommend pairing the Amaze with the DBS Woman’s World Card (until 31 May 2022) or UOB Lady’s Card in order to stack 4 mpd with zero FCY fees.
LifeMiles is now offering up to a 145% bonus, allowing members to buy miles at 1.35 US cents each.
If you’re the sort who buys LifeMiles hoping to transfer them to KrisFlyer (and believe me, I’ve been asked this question a lot), may I gently suggest that this isn’t for you. Otherwise, there’s definitely use cases for this, but it’s important that you’re fully aware of LifeMiles’ strengths and limitations.
Any successful LifeMiles bookings of late?