How to keep your LifeMiles alive


A bit over two years ago I bought a bunch of miles in the Avianca LifeMiles program for about 1.3 cents each.  I was prompted to do so by posts like this one.  As time went by I discovered that this was a fantastic buy.  After all, there were amazing deals in the LifeMiles program such as 25,000 miles round trip in coach or 50,000 miles round trip for business class on Star Alliance flights from the US mainland to Guam.  Somehow, though, time went by and I failed to use those purchased miles.  And now Avianca has raised many award prices and corrected most (or maybe all?) of their award misprices (like the Guam example).  So, it wasn’t such a fantastic buy after all.

Keep LifeMiles alive

Miles are worthless if they’re not used.

Recently, I received notice from Award Wallet that my LifeMiles miles were about to expire.  Yeesh.  That would not be good.  Without immediate plans to fly anywhere on Star Alliance carriers, I sought out ways to keep my LifeMiles alive:

  • Get their credit card?  And earn even more miles that I’m not using?  No thank you.
  • Buy more miles? Again… no thank you.
  • Buy something through their online shopping portal?  Nope, they closed that one a while ago.
  • Buy points or trade points through  It doesn’t look like support LifeMiles.
  • Transfer from SPG, Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, or ThankYou points?  According to my Transfer Partner Master List, none of them support LifeMiles.
  • Use the LifeMiles Music Store?  Nope, that’s just for those who live south of the border.

Finally, I found a simple answer: donate your miles:

Avianca lets people donate miles to Banco de Millas.  Here is what they say about the donation:

Avianca is committed to children, through its donation miles program, Banco de Millas. The miles donated by both the airline and the LifeMiles members are used to facilitate the transportation of low income people in Latin America, which require care in cities in the region or abroad, served by Avianca.

Thanks to the mile contribution from the company and the LifeMiles members, the miles donation program of Avianca has benefited in the period 2006-2011 more than 1,500 people (children and parents) moved mostly from Colombia, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala, where they undergo surgery and / or treatments.

Click here to read a patient’s real story!

In LifeMiles, we have consolidated the previous programs of Avianca so you can continue donating as many miles as you want.

We invite you to donate LifeMiles to the program and be part of this life-changing opportunity!

For now, I simply donated 500 miles and that was enough to extend the life of my remaining miles for two more years.  This appears to be a worthwhile charity, though, so I may log back in to donate a lot more.  That way, the miles will actually be used; and will be used by people who need them much more than I do.


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All of my lifemiles emails are in Spanish… so they simply get ignored until I saw “expiración” in the subject line.

My expiration date is in 2 days! After a morning of failed international calls to an 1800 number and a fairly uninspiring support email this was a godsend!

Thank you for saving me something like $2,000 of lost miles! Brilliant!


Awesome – thank you! This worked instantly.

[…] How to keep your LifeMiles alive (FrequentMiler). I have a small balance I inopportunely purchased when I SAW a use that two days later closed before I could finalize my Turkey trip plans. Forgot I had them. Someday I need to get to San Andres & Providencia and hope to use the points them. […]


That’s exactly what I did to keep Alaska miles alive. Also I bought a single music track with United miles to extend those miles. Easy to keep miles alive without spending more money.


@jay +1. Probably the worst advice I followed on blogs (not this one) is to shell out $1000 to buy 90,000 US Airways miles because “it’s a good value”. Now these will simply become AA miles, which I got 10x more in one year for the same cost thru credit card sign ups. These things take a while to figure out and sometimes you learn the hard way.


Thank you for posting–I just got the dreaded email from AwardWallet today, so this is incredibly timely. I just donated 100 miles to keep them alive, but may donate more since I only have about 10,000 anyway. Much better than having them go to waste.


Sounds like a worthwhile charity that is helping those truly in need, but $6.50 worth of miles donation? FM you can do better than that. I figure my family and I have used well over 50 of your credit card app links. Thats a lot of dough from just 1 reader. Dissappointed.


Ramsey, you act as if you are a long time reader and then write these type of comments. If you were such an avid supporter then you would also be aware of the multiple charitable things FM has done and encouraged. I know you like to post this type of crap–but this seems slimy even for you.


Yes Ollie I love FM and I have been collecting miles since 1983………. 500 mile donation ? how many 10’s of millions of miles does he have…..just pointing out what others are thinking, just like Joan Rivers. Was it tough growing up named Ollie?…….slimey? thanks for noticing. C.R.


more on the 500 mile donation, Ollie remember what Winston Churchhill said, “if you are going to talk the talk, you have to walk the walk” Did you celebrate 50 year anniversary this week of his passing?……ps I have made over 200 trips to your lovely country, wonderful people with a great sense of dry humor but never found out where you keep the good looking women or the good restaurants.


I flew Air Tahiti Nui flights a few years ago on honeymoon, and my Club Tiare miles are expiring soon. I don’t have enough miles for flight redemptions, and I am unlikely to fly with them again soon. Any ideas for extending the life of those miles?


good tip – thanks


This also serves as good advice why people shouldn’t blindly follow the advice of bloggers without seeing how it’d be directly useful to them. Even at best case scenario, you have been out what I imagine is $1,300 – for an investment that continues to deflate (and nearly went to $0).

Readers need to think about how they can make a deal work for them before going all-in.


what the process for donating miles, and what the least you can do ?