a screenshot of a flight schedule

Buying LifeMiles For 1.5 Cents Can Be A Great Deal

LifeMiles 100% Bonus

In case you missed it, Avianca LifeMiles / TACA (an El Salvadorian Airline), recently announced that they are running a 100% bonus on the purchase of LifeMiles. The Points Guy had a nice write up on the offer.

The only catch is that you had to be a LifeMiles Member prior to them announcing this promotion.

If you aren’t a LifeMiles member, I HIGHLY suggest signing up here so you can take part in FUTURE 100% bonus promotions. They seem to run the promotion every other month!

I signed up last December when they ran a similar promotion, so now I am eligible to participate in this promotion!

If you are asking yourself, why on earth would anyone want to purchase LifeMiles for a program based in El Salvador, the answer is simple……they are a Star Alliance Partner!

This means you can use your LifeMiles on almost all Star Alliance Partners!

In addition, LifeMiles doesn’t impose any dumb fuel surcharges, allows One Way Awards, allows Singapore Business Awards, and you can book Star Alliance Awards online!

For 1.5 Cents per a Mile, that is a steal!

Is It Worth It To Buy Miles?

As I talked in January, when US Airways ran a similar promotion, there are certain instances when buying Miles makes sense.

Typically these reasons include you not having any Miles, have a large Family, or if the price of an Economy Ticket is equal or less than the price of purchasing Miles to redeem for a Business Class Award.

In the case of LifeMiles, the promotion basically allows you to buy LifeMiles for 1.5 cents each, so 150,000 Miles (including the 100% bonus) would cost you $2,250.

Obviously that is not a small chunk of change, but given that you can get almost anywhere around the World in Business Class with 150,000 LifeMiles, it isn’t a bad deal!

At the end of the day, the value proposition to buy LifeMiles simply comes down to basic math.

Buying LifeMiles To Get To Singapore

For those of you not familiar with LifeMiles, View From The Wing has talked about how lucrative the program is.

I took his advice and thankfully signed up for the LifeMiles program but the reason for my sudden interest in LifeMiles is that my Brother is studying abroad in Singapore next semester.

Since he is in College and doesn’t have any Miles, his original plan was to just buy a Revenue Economy Ticket.

Since he doesn’t know his exact return date, he would need to purchase a One Way ticket to Singapore in August.

Looking on Kayak, the cheapest One Way I could find was $1,067 on Cathay Pacific. Yikes!

a screenshot of a flight schedule

One Way tickets are kind of annoying because if my Brother had a set Return date, a Round Trip Economy ticket would only be $1,455 (or only $400 more than the One Way)!

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When this LifeMiles promotion came out this week, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try out the LifeMiles program since my Brother needed a One Way flight and was already planning on buying a $1,067 Economy ticket!

According to the LifeMiles Award Chart, it is only 62,500 Miles for a One Way Business Class Ticket or 32,500 Miles for an Economy Ticket to Singapore from the US.

Multiplying that by 1.5 Cents per a Mile, it comes out to $937.50 for Business Class and $487.50 for Economy, which is a steal!

In this either case, flying Business or Economy, it is way cheaper to buy LifeMiles for an Award rather than buy a regular Revenue Economy One Way ticket for $1,067!

Cash & Miles Option

While buying LifeMiles is already a great deal, what is even more unique about the LifeMiles program is that they allow for Cash & Miles redemptions, as long as you have 40% of the Miles needed for the Award already in your account.

What is really funny is that the rate they “sell” you the extra Miles is only 1.275 Cents per a Mile, which is of course cheaper than the pirce via this 100% bonus promotion…

So for Economy, instead of buying 32,500 Miles, you could buy 13,500 Miles for $202.50 and then pay $244.95 in cash, for a grand total of $447.45!

a screenshot of a computer

For Business Class, the same Cash & Miles option holds true.

Instead of purchasing 62,500 LifeMiles, you could buy 25,500 Miles for $382.50 and then pay $474.58 in cash, for a grand total of $861.08!

a screenshot of a flight schedule

While the difference between 1.5 Cents and 1.275 Cents isn’t huge, every tenth of a penny counts!

If you purchase these Miles via a Credit Card like the AMEX Premier Gold Card (which is what I am planning on doing!), you should earn 3x for this purchase.

Searching Via LifeMiles.com

Before purchasing any LifeMiles, I highly recommend searching LifeMiles.com for availability before purchasing any Miles!

Searching via Lifemiles.com is a bit quirky, but it is still better than USAirways.com, which is comical…

The biggest downfall of LifeMiles is that you can’t mix Cabins on Awards. So if your flight is in Business, is has to be in Business the entire way. You can’t mix Economy and Business, or First and Business, etc.

This is extremely annoying for First Class Awards, but is manageable for Business and Economy Awards.

To search for my Brother’s flight, I went to LifeMiles’s English site.

Under the Enjoy tab, you can click on Air Travel and it will take you to the Award Search Engine.

Make sure you select your Preferred Carrier as Star Alliance.

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For my Brother’s flight to Singapore, only 2 options came up from Chicago in Business Class. Either ANA & Singapore, or solely ANA.

Although earlier in the day when I searched, there were options for Sinagpore Business Class, which was surprising.

a screenshot of a flight schedule

From what I have heard, ANA Business is pretty good.

Since LifeMiles doesn’t show what type of Plane it is or and is a bit clunky in showing the itinerary, I typically cross reference the flight with United.com.

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Upon cross reference, I was able to see that the plane is a 777-300ER. According to SeatGuru, this ANA plane has fully lie-flat seats!

Also this flight has an easy 4 hour layover in Tokyo. Since it is a Business Class Award, my Brother will have Lounge Access!

Trouble Finding Availability

More that likely if you were to search United.com for the same dates from above, you would get a ton of different options.

The reason for this is because most options to Asia on United.com are “Mixed Cabin” meaning you fly in Business Class on United or Lufthansa, but then connect onto Singapore Airlines (or Thai, etc) where you are seated in Economy, even though it is a Business Class ticket.

These options don’t show up on LifeMiles because they are “Mixed Cabin”, which LifeMiles doesn’t allow.

If you are having trouble finding availability because of “Mixed Cabins”, try searching out of other Star Alliance Hubs like NYC, ORD, SFO, IAD, LAX, or IAH.

LifeMiles Credit Card

Although one normally wouldn’t think of ever getting a LifeMiles Credit Card, since the Card is issued from US Bank, it might actually make sense to get it if you don’t have the Radisson Card yet.

Current offer is for 20,000 LifeMiles with no Minimum Spend!

Link To LifeMiles Card


If you don’t have a LifeMiles account yet, MAKE ONE so you can get in on the next 100% bonus promotion!

While buying LifeMiles may not be for everyone, in certain situations it is definitely worth it!

My Brother was planning on spending $1,067 on an Economy Revenue Ticket to Singapore.

By simply buying some LifeMiles, he can now either spend $853 and fly in ANA Business Class or pay $447 and fly in Economy!

Not only is that a substantial savings over the $1,067 Economy Revenue Ticket he had planned to buy, but when you are flying 23 hours, there is a huge difference in sitting in Economy or in Lie-Flat Business Class.

If you have a family or are running low on Miles, I highly suggest getting in on this promotion because for the same price you are going to pay for an Economy tickets, you can fly in Business!

This is especially true for people going to India, Asia, Australia, etc where the rates for Economy Tickets can easily pass $1,500 a person!

My Parents will probably want to visit my Brother in Singapore later in the year but unfortunately they are running low on miles.

Instead of just buying Economy tickets to Singapore, I am going to make them both LifeMile accounts and hopefully Avianca runs this promotion again so they can fly there in Business Class!


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  1. Parag – this is a nice post. But please grammar-check your writing before posting. Since the substance of your writing is quite strong, it seems like sloppy writing is the primary reason your blog is not more highly regarded. Among the many errors, an item cannot be "somewhat unique" or "fairly unique". It either is one-of-kind (unique) or it is not. No modifiers. Other than the style, though, this post was informative.

  2. If someone has tons of UR points to transfer to united then does it make sense to buy Lifemiles?
    Do Lifemiles open up any redemption opportunities that United miles dont?

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