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I have a pretty firm rule about NOT buying miles. For me, the idea behind the travel hacking hobby is to travel as cheaply as possible, and buying miles rarely results in a trip being truly cheap (such as traveling to Australia for a week for a bit north of $300). I can count on three fingers the number of times I have bought miles. Each time it has been for a very specific redemption.
That being said, the current Avianca Lifemiles promotion is rather tempting. Lifemiles is known for offering huge bonuses on miles purchases, and this is one of the best we’ve ever seen. You can buy miles with a 145% bonus on any number of miles purchased (in increments of 1,000, of course). Here are three reasons to consider buying LifeMiles now:
Score premium travel for cheap
The bonus works out to a mere 1.35 cents per mile. As you can often use miles for 5+ cents per point when booking premium cabins, this is a significant savings. For example, you can travel round-trip to Europe in business class on ANY great Star Alliance product for $1,700 (or $850 one-way), plus minor taxes and fees (need to buy 63,000 LifeMiles each way). Remember that LifeMiles doesn’t impose carrier fuel surcharges. Another great option is Oceania to North Asia on Asiana, ANA, or Air New Zealand in business class. A one-way trip will set you back 50,000 miles, which will cost you only $675 during this promotion. Take a look at the chart for other great routes.
Remember to check for the space you want!!! LifeMiles is an odd duck. They don’t have access to all the same space you may find when searching via United and Aeroplan. And the agents have been known to throw up their hands when asked to book a routing not shown by the computer.
Intra-zone trips between small, regional airports in the U.S.
LifeMiles recently rolled out some new pricing some awards within the U.S. (SEE: 3 reasons I am SUPER excited for the new LifeMiles shorthaul awards). They divided the U.S. into 3 zones, and within each zone awards only cost 7,500 miles each way. Buying enough miles for a round-trip will set you back ~$203. This may not seem like it’s worth buying, but if you’re flying from one regional airport to another (like I sometimes do), this could totally make sense.
For example, a round-trip flight between Arcata airport and Albuquerque typically runs about $500. Factoring in the taxes and award booking surcharge, the savings here is roughly 50%. If you manage to score award seats around the holidays, it could be even greater.
This is definitely a less lucrative way to use purchased miles (versus premium cabin). But if you live near a regional airport with obscenely high prices (like I do), it may be worth buying miles to fly for 30-60% of the cost.
Top off for an award after transferring miles from Citi ThankYou Points
This was the first thing that actually came to my mind, but I saved it for last. Since the 145% bonus is available for any amount of miles purchased, this is the perfect time to purchase a few if you are within striking distance of a great award after transferring ThankYou Points to LifeMiles. In case you missed it, LifeMiles was just recently added as a TYP partner. And they are definitely the option I am eyeing most.
Overall, this promotion is a great opportunity to score some cheap(er) travel if you are in the market for LifeMiles. Purchase by November 27th (Cyber Monday) if you decide to pull the trigger.
Featured image courtesy of J. Babinski under CC 2.0 license.