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New Amex Transfer Bonus to Avianca LifeMiles: Get 15% More Miles!

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Avianca LifeMiles is the quirky – but highly useful – mileage program run by Colombian airline Avianca. Its website isn't the easiest to use and you'll pay dearly if your plans change, but it can be worth it for rock-bottom award rates. And if you've got Amex points, you might need even fewer to book your next flight.

LifeMiles is currently giving existing members a 15% bonus when transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to the airline program. But critically, you won't see this 15% bonus when you log into your Amex account: LifeMiles is handling it on the backend when you transfer points from cards like the *amex gold* or *amex platinum*, kicking in a 15% bonus afterward.

This transfer bonus is available through March 15.


LifeMiles Amex Transfer Bonus Banner


Not sure how (or why) to transfer your miles? Read our full guide to Amex transfer partners!

Using transfer partners like LifeMiles is one of the best ways to put your Amex points to use for even more value. These transfer bonuses make it even better – think of it as a way to get some free airline miles.

But there's a possible hitch: The terms state that you must be previously registered as a LifeMiles member in order to be eligible for this promotion. If true, that means you can't sign up for a LifeMiles account today and earn a 15% bonus on your transfer. Whether that's the case in practice is anyone's guess, but it's worth keeping in mind. And that's just another reason why it's worth signing up for some airline loyalty accounts in advance so you're ready to take advantage of a transfer bonus when it arises.

Keep in mind: These transfers are a one-way street – once you send points to Avianca, you can't get them back to your Amex account. That's why we typically urge travelers to scope out award availability to ensure the flights they want are bookable before transferring any points.

But with a mileage program as lucrative as LifeMiles, you've got plenty of options to put this transfer bonus to use.

Read more: Save Your Points When Booking Flights, Transfer Them to an Airline Partner


Best Ways to Use This LifeMiles Transfer Bonus

Even if you'll never fly Avianca and have no plans to visit Colombia, you should know about LifeMiles.

It's far from perfect, but LifeMiles can be one of the best mileage programs in the world for booking Star Alliance airlines like Lufthansa or SWISS to Europe, EVA Air to Asia, or United and Turkish Airlines all over the world. It combines low mileage rates with just $50 to $100 in award taxes and fees. That makes it a go-to for travelers looking to book business or first class seats with their points and miles.

Heading to Europe? You'll never pay more than 63,000 miles one-way for a business class award to Europe with Avianca LifeMiles. That's true whether you're flying to or from the East Coast – like this SWISS business class flight from Geneva (GVA) to New York City (JFK) – or even booking a connecting flight to Europe from way out on the West Coast.

With a 15% bonus, you'd only need to transfer 55,000 Amex points to make it a reality. 


SWISS Avianca booking


Using just 63,000 miles for a one-way business class ticket to Europe is tough to beat, but thanks to some of the quirks of LifeMiles, Avianca actually one-ups itself … by offering flights on TAP Air Portugal business class from New York City (JFK) to Lisbon (LIS) for just 35,000 miles one-way. This is one of the cheapest ways to fly international business class, period.

And with a 15% bonus, you can book this nearly seven-hour flight in a lie-flat seat by transferring just 31,000 points and nominal fees.


jfk lisbon lifemiles


Maybe Africa is more your style. While it may not win awards for the fanciest business class seats, Ethiopian Airlines is often the quickest way to fly to almost anywhere in Africa. For instance, you could fly from Toronto (YYZ) to Cape Town (CPT) with a stop in Addis Ababa (ADD) for 78,000 miles one-way in lie-flat business class. With a 15% bonus, your cost drops to just 68,000 points for flights all the way from North America to South Africa!


toronto to cape town on ethiopian airlines using lifemiles


If you're not concerned with flying at the front of the plane and just want to get to your destination for even less, LifeMiles has something for you too. When flying from the Northeast U.S. to Northwestern Europe, economy awards start at 20,000 LifeMiles for a one-way economy ticket. All other economy awards are supposed to price at 30,000 one-way from the U.S. to Europe, but you'll find that's not always the case.

Take this one-way economy flight from Denver (DEN) to Brussels (BRU), for example. This flight should price out at 30,000 miles one-way, but in reality, it only costs 23,000 LifeMiles one-way. With the current bonus, you'd only need 20,000 Membership Rewards plus ~$75 in taxes and fees for the one-way.


lifemiles den-bru economy 

Need more guidance on putting your LifeMiles to use? Read our complete guide to booking the best LifeMiles Sweet Spots!


How to Transfer Amex Points to LifeMiles

Now that we've covered the “where” and “why,” let's cover the “how” – as in, how can you transfer Amex points to Avianca LifeMiles and get this bonus? It's easy, and it works just like every other Amex transfer partner.

One potential speed bump: According to the terms, you must be an existing LifeMiles member to get this transfer bonus. The LifeMiles promotion page directs new members to enroll at LifeMiles.com however, there's no telling whether or not doing so on the spot would make you eligible for the current bonus – and you won't know until the miles show up in your account. But if we had to guess, we'd say it's worth a shot.

Once you've registered, or if you're already a LifeMiles member, you’ll need to log in to your Amex account and navigate to the “Rewards & Benefits” page. Once you’ve done that, select the “Transfer Points” option highlighted below.


Amex Transfer Points Screenshot 

From there, scroll down and select Avianca LifeMiles from the list of more than 20 options. You'll need to enter your LifeMiles account information if you haven't done so already. Once that's done, you can enter how many Amex points you'd like to transfer to Avianca.


Amex Membership Rewards transfer to Avianca LifeMiles 

Unfortunately, because the bonus is done on the back end by LifeMiles, it won't immediately calculate how many points you'll get after factoring in this 15% bonus. Just multiply the points you've got by 1.15: 50,000 x 1.15 = 57,500 LifeMiles, for example. Or, if you know you need a certain amount of miles to book a ticket with Avianca, divide that number by 1.15 … and be prepared to round up to the nearest 1,000.

Let's say you need 63,000 LifeMiles to book a Swiss business class award from Chicago-O'Hare (ORD) to Zurich (ZRH). With that math, 63,000 / 1.15 = 55,000, which means you'd need to transfer 55,000 Amex points to LifeMiles.


A Word of Caution

The LifeMiles program is full of sweet spots … but that comes at a cost. Have I mentioned the quirky nature of this mileage program?

With LifeMiles, you need to know what you're getting into. And there are plenty of pitfalls to be aware of when using this otherwise valuable mileage program.

  • A buggy website & IT issues: You may encounter several errors while searching for flights. The website will often “time out,” forcing you to reload or sign out completely and sign back in. You'll need to pack your patience when booking with LifeMiles.
  • LifeMiles may not see all award availability: It can be the best program for booking Star Alliance flights … but only if those awards are available. Avianca LifeMiles doesn't always get access to the same award space as other Star Alliance programs, so be sure to confirm the flights you want are bookable through LifeMiles itself before transferring any points.
  • Poor customer service: If things go wrong or you want to make any changes to your trip, there is no way to do this online … and trying to work with an Avianca agent over the phone can be a painful experience.
  • Hefty change and cancellation fees: All the big U.S. airlines and many foreign airlines have waived cancellation fees to scrap a ticket and get your miles back, but not Avianca. The airline charges as much as $150 for a date change on award tickets and $200 to cancel.
  • Miles expire: One of the most important things to keep in mind is that your Avianca LifeMiles do expire. You'll need to accrue some miles at least once every 12 months to keep those miles active.


Bottom Line

Got a trip in mind where LifeMiles could come in handy? Use this 15% bonus when moving Membership Rewards to Avianca LifeMiles to book flights for even fewer points.

Just remember: These transfers are a one-way street, so it's probably not worth taking advantage of this transfer bonus unless you've got a specific redemption in mind. But if you can make use of it, it can be a great way to stretch your points even further.

Don't wait too long, though. This Amex LifeMiles transfer bonus is available through Friday, March 15!


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Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

6 Responses

  • Do you know if you can recieve 5k bonus miles more then once? I did a 50k transfer haven’t got my bonus miles yet but its only been 12hours

    • Shouldn’t be an issue. I would just wait to ensure you get the bonus miles within 24ish hours before starting another transfer.

    • Hi Michelle, you can not. Only Amex Membership Rewards points (not Delta SkyMiles) can be transferred to Life Miles.

  • It looks like this deal was sent out by lifemiles but representatives at amex are not aware of the bonus and it also doesn’t show up when trying to transfer amex to lifemiles (still showing 1000points for 1000 miles) Are you aware of the issue?

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