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Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance which means that its LifeMiles currency can be used for travel on a variety of appealing airlines (like ANA and SWISS) and, for the next week, a 125% transfer bonus that is currently on offer will allow you to effectively manufacture LifeMiles at just 1.2 cents each.
LifeMiles Transfer Promotion
Here are the headline terms and conditions:
- Promotion is valid from March 26th to April 3rd, 2019 (between 00.00-23.59 GMT -6, El Salvador), as the last date of transfer.
- Transfer fee for each block of LM 1,000: US$15.00 not including applicable taxes and US$18.30* including applicable taxes according to the country of correspondence registered in the LifeMiles database**.
- The 125% bonus is calculated over the amount of miles to be transferred.
- Miles transfer is available through Avianca´s Call Centers, LifeMiles.com and Avianca Information Centers.
- At LifeMiles.com, the purchase can only be done through BUY MILES/ Transfer your Miles.
- Only form of payment through Avianca’s Call Center and LifeMiles.com: international credit or debit card.
- Cash payments are only allowed at Avianca’s Information Centers.
- The miles must be transferred in multiples of 1,000.
- Minimum transfer miles: LM 1,000.
- Maximum transfer miles per member per calendar year: LM 75,000 (excluding additional bonuses).
- Maximum LifeMiles to receive per member per calendar year: LM 75,000 (excluding additional bonuses).
- The transfer of miles is an immediate execution transaction.
How This Works
The first thing I should probably point out is that LifeMiles is offering a 125% bonus for transfers between LifeMiles accounts – this promotion has nothing to do with transfers made to LifeMiles from Citi or American Express.
- The maximum number of miles you can transfer between LifeMiles accounts in a year is 75,000.
- As US residents don’t pay any tax on such transfers the cost to transfer LifeMiles between accounts is $15 per 1,000 miles (as per the T&Cs).
Transferring 75,000 LifeMiles to another account will cost $1,125 (75 x $15) and, in return, the recipient account will receive 168,750 miles (75,000 + a 125% bonus).
Essentially the transaction will create 93,750 miles (168,750 – 75,000) at a total cost of $1,125 – that’s equivalent to a cost of 1.2 cents per mile.
You’ll need to have miles in a LifeMiles account in the first place before you can make the most of this offer but, as LifeMiles are a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou’s program and Amex Membership Rewards, that shouldn’t be an issue.
Transfers from Citi to LifeMiles are instantaneous as are transfers from American Express and, to make things a little sweeter, Amex is currently running a transfer bonus to LifeMiles through 1 April.
You could transfer 66,000 Amex Membership Rewards points to Avianca and end up with 75,900 LifeMiles. You could then transfer 75,000 of these miles to a second LifeMiles account to maximize this deal.
Whether that’s a good deal or not will depend on the value you place on each Membership Reward point.
Avianca doesn’t add surcharges to award bookings so LifeMiles can be a very cost-effective way of booking some very nice premium cabins. Here are some examples:
- USA – Europe in Business Class: 63,000 miles one-way
- USA – North Asia in Business Class: 75,000 miles one-way
- USA – Middle East in Business Class: 78,000 miles one-way
- USA – South East Asia in Business Class: 78,000 miles one-way
- USA – Europe in First Class: 87,000 miles one-way
- USA – North Asia in First Class: 90,000 miles one-way
The 93,750 you can manufacture at 1.2 cents each will buy you any of the awards mentioned above (you’ll have to make sure you have a way to get home!) and the costs will range from $756 to $1,080…..and $1,080 for a one-way First Class award to North Asia can be a fantastic deal.
Use The Right Credit Card To Save More
Avianca processes its own points transactions which means that they will appear as an airline/travel purchase on your credit card statement. This also means that they will earn an airline/travel category bonus if you use a credit card that offers such a thing.
The Platinum Card from American Express and the Citi Prestige Card both offer 5 points/dollar for transactions with airlines so, if you were to transfer the full 75,000 miles at a cost of $1,125 and put that transaction on one of those cards, you’d generate 5,625 Membership Rewards Points or ThankYou points.
I value both of those currencies at 1.5 cents each so the effective rebate here would be a little over $84.
There is very obvious value to be had out of this deal but be aware that Avianca doesn’t always have access to the same award availability that other Star Alliance carriers have….so don’t go making any assumptions before you check award availability.
[HT: View From The Wing]