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UPDATE: There’s a 145% Bonus Available via lifemilespromo.com/themilelion so that takes the price of LifeMiles down to 1.35 cents each
Just yesterday I wrote a post in which I said that Avianca LifeMiles sales are frequent and frequently good (when explaining why I don’t care that Avianca is now an Amex partner) and, as if to help with my point Avianca has just launched its latest LifeMiles sale….and it’s a good one!
In fairness, we are in the Black Friday/Cyber Monday bubble now so it’s not all that surprising to see LifeMiles appearing on sale and this year there’s a bonus of 140% on offer (last year we saw a bonus of 145%).
Headline Terms & Conditions
- This promotion applies for miles purchases made between November 20th and November 26th, 2018 (between 00.00-23.59 GMT -6, El Salvador). The bonus for this promotion is 2×1+40%.
- The bonuses are calculated based on the miles purchased per individual transaction without taking into account the 2×1 bonus.
- This promotion is exclusive for LifeMiles member that have received this email directly from LifeMiles.
- The miles must be purchased in multiples of 1,000.
- The minimum miles to purchase per transaction is 1,000 LifeMiles.
- The maximum miles to purchase per transaction during this promotion is 200,000 LifeMiles. Additionally, the maximum miles that a member can receive during the promotion, including applicable bonuses is 490,000 miles, minus the miles that the member has previously purchased in 2018 and their respective bonuses. The purchase transaction cannot be made if the amount of miles to purchase and the corresponding bonus, including all miles purchased in 2018, including the bonuses, exceed the 490,000 miles limit, unless the amount of miles to receive without applying the promotional bonus is less or equal to 490,000 miles, in which case, the transaction will be processed but no bonus will be granted, giving such warning to the member.
- The maximum amount of miles to receive by a member through the purchase of miles per calendar year outside of this promotion is 200,000 LifeMiles. If the member surpasses the limit, through purchases made during this promotion and other purchases in 2018, taking into account the bonuses received for those purchases, he or she will not be able to purchase any more miles outside of promotional periods until the next calendar year. Each package of 1,000 LifeMiles is USD $33.00 without applicable taxes and USD $40.26* including applicable taxes according to correspondence country registered in the LifeMiles database**
- The purchase of miles is not reversible or refundable, except in countries where this right is granted by applicable law, such as the right to retraction in Colombia, in the cases where it applies. The purchase of miles is an immediate execution contract. Once the payment is made, the miles will be accrued immediately on the members account. As of that moment, the miles can be used according to the terms and conditions of the LifeMiles Program. Miles are not endorsable.
- Miles purchase is available through Avianca’s Call Centers and LifeMiles.com. The receipt of the transaction will reflect the total number of miles accrued to the member´s account, including the bonus miles and the total charge for the transaction.
Full terms and conditions can be found on the Avianca LifeMiles page
A big positive of this LifeMiles sale is the fact that the number of LifeMiles you buy has no bearing on the bonus you receive or the cost/mile you incur if you buy – whether you buy 1,000 miles or the maximum allowed the cost per mile remains the same.
If you’re only really familiar with the points sales we see from the big US airlines you may be surprised at just how many points the LifeMiles sale allows you to buy:
If you buying the full annual allowance of 200,000 LifeMiles you would net 480,000 miles (after the bonus) at a cost of $6,600…and that works out to a cost/mile of just 1.375 cents.
Should You Buy LifeMiles
As I always say when a LifeMiles sale comes around:
I consider LifeMiles to be one of the riskier loyalty currencies because Avianca prints miles like there’s no tomorrow. We’ve seen a number of devaluations down the years and I’m sure there’s probably another one on the way
Don’t buy LifeMiles if you just plan to hoard them – you’ll take a big hit if the currency is devalued before you get a chance to use them.
Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance so LifeMiles can be used for travel on a number of very good airlines (and quite a few not so good airlines too):
Here’s a link to the Avianca Star Alliance award chart and a quick glance should show you that there can be a lot of value to be had out of this sale.
Here are a few example costs for one-way awards (if you buy miles at 1.375 cents each):
- USA to Europe in First Class costs 87,000 miles = $1,196 in this promotion
- USA to North Asia (e.g. Japan) in First Class costs 90,000 miles = $1,238 in this promotion
- Europe to Central Asia in Business Class costs 45,000 miles = $619 in this promotion
- Europe to Australia/New Zealand in Business Class costs 85,000 miles = $1,169 in this promotion
When you consider that those prices are for travel on airlines like Lufthansa, SWISS, Air New Zealand and ANA then the promotion becomes quite compelling.
The biggest issue is one I’ve already mentioned – possible devaluation – but there’s also the issue of the Avianca call centre which has a reputation for being somewhat bad.
I’ve never had to deal with the agents but, from what I’ve been told (by a worrying number of people) is that the agents appear to be incompetent and can be very unhelpful.
What this means is that the LifeMiles may be very cheap but you’re going to be reliant on yourself for finding bookable award space online and, if you can’t find what you’re looking to book (or simply can’t get it to price-up online), you have to be prepared for a painful phone call to an agent who may not appear to know how to find award space on his (or her) system..
More Salient Info
- As LifeMiles bonuses go this is a pretty good one. We had a 150% bonus almost 3 years ago and we’ve seen at least a couple of 145% bonuses since then….but a 140% bonus is still very good.
- LifeMiles purchases count as an airline purchase so if you decide to buy miles in this sale make sure you use a credit card that offers a good travel/airline category bonus. Personally I’d probably use the Platinum card from American Express (5 points/dollar on spend with airlines) or my Chase Sapphire Reserve card (3 points/dollar on all travel spending).
- Although this was not possible in the recent past, LifeMiles now allows you to book mixed cabin awards so you can mix Business and First Class awards in the same booking – that could be a very good way to live the very high life and save some miles (in one direction) too.
If you’re tempted by this promotion (and I suspect a lot of people will be) I strongly advise that you work out exactly what you’re going to do with the miles before you buy.
Please don’t buy miles in the hope that you’ll figure out what to do with them some time down the road. No blogger can tell you when LifeMiles will next devalue so buying them in large quantities and then sitting on them is a great way to get burned.
Plan how to use the miles, check that the awards are available, buy the miles you need and then book the awards asap – that’s the way to get great value out of this sale.