LifeMiles New Subscriptions Let You Buy Miles Even Cheaper Than Before, Waive Change Fees
LifeMiles New Subscriptions Let You Buy Miles Even Cheaper Than Before, Waive Change Fees

View from the Wing

The new LifeMiles U.S. credit cards are interesting, especially their premium $249 annual fee card that offers an initial bonus of up to 100,000 miles and comes with a LifeMiles+ subscription.

The Avianca LifeMiles American Express Elite Card product normally costs $20 per month, or $240 per year, and gets you:

  • 10% discount on partner flight redemptions
  • 10% – 25% off Avianca (paid) flights
  • 500 bonus miles per month
  • Double miles earned on each card statement, up to 1,000 bonus miles per month
  • Extended mileage expiration (24 months), “access to exclusive reduced mileage campaigns, qualifying miles, and up to 40% discount in hotels/car rentals”

You can earn 18,000 extra miles per year and get 10% of the miles redeemed back with can be tens of thousands of miles – or more. That makes the subscription and card worthwhile for those who use LifeMiles.

This is only the lowest of four subscription levels, however. And cardmembers can use the $20 monthly Lite+ subscription cost as a credit to upgrade to the higher subscription tiers where things get pretty interesting.

For $200 per month ($180 for cardmembers) you get 10,000 miles per month and also a doubling of miles earned on the card up to 10,000 miles in addition to the other benefits of the program. If you’re using the card that’s 20,000 more miles for $180, which is 9/10ths of a cent per mile. However if you view the card as worth it to get (bonus) and worth it to keep (benefits) but it isn’t seeing much spend then the math won’t make sense on the top tier.

But what I love is that for every tier except the first one fees are waived for changes and refunds on award tickets.

  • Changes normally cost $150
  • Cancel/redeposit miles runs $200 (for premium cabin long haul), but can be as low as $50 (short haul coach)

An incremental $30 per month for the second tier gets you 2,000 miles, plus up to another 2,000 miles using your card, and waived fees. Even if you’re just getting 2,000 miles for $30 that’s 1.5 cents apiece and you’re coming out ahead on the deal with a single award ticket change in a year.

Obviously, if you subscribe, you’ll be bought into the LifeMiles ecosystem. It’s valuable. Many card issuer points transfer to them, they generally have reasonable award pricing and no fuel surcharges – and they’ve been investing in better customer service, too.

Gary Leff

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