LifeMiles is one of my favorite programs when it comes to redeeming Star Alliance award tickets.
They may not have the most generous routing rules when it comes to stopovers, but you can fashion basically any reasonable route using the “screenshot-individual-segments-to-email” method. They can also be a pain to cancel, and has recently increased the cancellation fee. However, they frequently discount their miles, and you can often buy them for as little as 1.375 cents apiece. If you have at least 40% of the miles required for an award, you can also pay 1.5 cents per mile to cover the rest. Their awards are also reasonably priced, and for me it’s a great way to travel in premium cabins from the US to Asia.
It appears that LifeMiles has updated their award charts, and has now added 3 separate zones in the US and Europe. This means award travel within these regions will become more distance-based. However, LifeMiles has not increased the highest cost, which means long-distance travel will cost the same as they do now, but shorter flights may cost you less.
LifeMiles Award Zones in the US
Here are how the zones break down in the US:
(Interestingly, West Virginia and Washington state were not listed on Avianca’s chart…but a quick test shows that they fit in Zone 1 and 3, respectively).
And here are the new costs (in Economy, Business, First):
- Within the same zone: 7,500/15,000/35,000
- Between Zone 1 and Zone 2: 10,000/15,000/35,000
- Between Zone 1/2 and Zone 3: 12,500/25,000/35,000
Where this new “chart” shines is with short flights, and in some cases may be even more attractive than United’s own chart. United charges 10,000 MileagePlus miles for travel (in coach) in the US less than 700 miles, and 12,500 miles for travel (in coach) within the continental US otherwise.
Take a look at this example, from Boston (BOS) to Cincinnati (CVG) next week. United charges 12,500 miles one-way in Economy, and 25,000 miles one-way in Business. Meanwhile, Lifemiles charges only 7,500 miles one-way in Economy, and 15,000 miles one-way in Business.
On top of that, LifeMiles doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee, which can mean extra saving if you are booking a ticket for travel less than 21 days out. Even if you are flying less than 700 miles, LifeMiles can still represent a potential discount from United, provided that the flights are within the same zone.
LifeMiles Award Zones in Europe
The new LifeMiles chart also divided Europe into three zones for more granular intra-Europe award prices. Here are the 3 zones within Europe.
As far the pricing goes, Europe 1 and Europe 2 are basically the same zones. It costs the same to fly within Europe Zone 1 as between 1 and 2. I am not sure why LifeMiles divided them up further, perhaps for future adjustments.
Anyway, here are the prices for intra-Europe travel (in Economy, Business, First).
- Within Zone 1 or 2: 12,500/20,000/30,000
- Between any Zone (1/2/3) and Zone 3: 15,000/27,000/39,000
It’s important to note that this isn’t the first time LifeMiles has divided these regions up into zones; they did so last December for a promotion, where they divided Europe and the US each into two zones. But it looks like the award zones are now finding a permanent place on the award chart.
With these new changes, you can fly domestically on United for as little as 7,500 LifeMiles, which is a pretty good deal. For those interested in short-haul premium cabin awards, this LifeMiles chart also offers a discount compared to redeeming directly from United.
All in all, this is a welcomed change to the LifeMiles award chart, and I can definitely see myself taking advantage!