(EXPIRED) 140% bonus on purchased LifeMiles [Targeted, Buy from 1.375c per mile]

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Avianca LifeMiles is offering a targeted 140% bonus on purchased miles, which brings the per-mile cost as low as 1.375c per mile if you buy big. While I don’t generally buy miles, there are certainly instances where this could make sense.

The Deal

Key Terms

  • Targeted to select accounts
  • Can buy a max of 200K miles before the bonus under this promotion

Quick Thoughts

Unfortunately, I wasn’t targeted for this one, but those who are can buy miles in the following increments:

  • Buy 1,000 to 50,000 miles, get a 115% bonus (1.535 cents per mile)
  • Buy 51,000 to 100,000 miles, get a 130% bonus (1.435 cents per mile)
  • Buy 101,000 to 200,000 miles, get a 140% bonus (1.375 cents per mile)

That’s not a bad deal since LifeMiles has some solid sweet spots. Here are some sweet spots (along with approximate cost based on the best deal of 1.375c per mile):

  • 63K one-way in business class to Europe ($866.25)
  • 87K one-way in first class to Europe ($1,196.25)
  • 7.5K one-way within a region in the US (includes itineraries with connections) ($103.13)
  • 15K one-way business class between Region 1 and Region 2 in the US (covers most of the US apart from the West Coast) ($206.25)
  • 78K one-way in business class to the Middle East and much of Asia (less to some parts) ($1,072.50)
  • See more on the award chart here

The kicker for LifeMiles is that they do not add surcharges to award tickets. Actually, there are two kickers — the second part is that when you fly a mixed-cabin award, they do not overcharge you for the lower-cabin segment. For example, if you fly from New York to Frankfurt in First Class and then fly from Frankfurt to Istanbul in economy class, LifeMiles will figure the distances and charge you X% of the first class price and X% of the economy class price rather than pricing it all as a first class award. This makes for some interesting opportunities. See: Avianca LifeMiles’ awesome mixed-cabin award pricing. First Class for less.

Sales like these are why I said that some people may not be as excited about Avianca as a new Amex transfer partner. It’s not that Avianca isn’t a good-value program, it’s just that you’re not getting a ton of value out of your Membership Rewards points if you could have alternatively bought these miles cheaply. It’s also why I’ve said that in some ways, cash back cards are the new miles cards – using cash back to buy miles might be a good deal for some folks who generate a lot of cash back.

If you’re targeted, you should have received an email — however, the link under “the deal” will prompt you to log in and then if you’re eligible you should see the bonus when you type in the number of miles you’d like to buy.

H/T: One Mile at a Time (note that Lucky says this one is open to everyone, but based on my experience and the comments there I believe the promotion is targeted)

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