[Expired] Ends today: 145% bonus on Lifemiles purchase (cheap Star Alliance business class)

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Ending today, Avianca’s LifeMiles is offering a 145% bonus on purchased miles — and that bonus applies to any quantity purchased. While I’d generally prefer to earn miles through one of the many techniques we write about (and with LifeMiles recently being added as a Citi ThankYou transfer partner, many readers might have a decent stash of points that could be transferred), these miles are cheap enough to be a pretty good deal (1.35 cents each). For example, you could buy enough miles for a one-way Star Alliance business class ticket to Europe for $858 or to South Asia for about $1056. That’s enough of a discount that it might be worthwhile, especially for those who live in markets where discounted business class sales are rare.

The Deal

Key Terms

  • Must buy in increments of 1,000 miles (before the bonus)
  • Can buy up to 200,000 miles per account holder per year

Quick Thoughts

As noted at the top, the price per mile comes out to just under 1.35 cents. You can buy as little as 2,450 total miles (1,000 miles + the bonus) for $33 if you’re just looking to top off an account:

Or you could go all out and buy up to 490,000 total miles for $6,600.

There are some nice values to be found on the award chart. One example would be one-way business class to Europe for 63,000 miles, which would cost $858:

Or one-way business class to South Asia would ring in at $1,056 for the 78,000 miles required.

A third (much cheaper) sweet spot would be the regional 7500 mile awards within North America. You can’t buy exactly 7500 miles (or 15000 for that matter) since you have to buy in even-thousand increments before the bonus, but you could buy enough to top off an account and/or transfer in from Citi ThankYou. I’ve previously noted that some of the regions for these regional awards are pretty big — with Fargo to Orlando pricing out at 7500 miles one-way:

Of course, that’s counting on finding United saver availability — which is no small feat. It only makes sense to buy miles if you know you have a use for the miles. Unlike a cash ticket, you are going to be stuck with the availability (or lack thereof) found with partner airlines. Furthermore, LifeMiles doesn’t always show the same availability as other sites — and everything I’ve read indicates that booking over the phone or via email can be a headache. Your best bet is finding something bookable online.

Bottom line

I rarely ever consider buying miles, but everyone plays this game a bit differently, and I can see the value in this for some people. Worthy of note is the fact that LifeMiles processes purchases directly (not through Points.com), so it should trigger category bonuses for airfare spend. Keep that in mind so you can at least earn some points to add for your next trip.

H/T: One Mile at a Time

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