A few months ago I wrote about Club LifeMiles, LifeMiles’ new offering in buying miles, which runs on a subscription model. You pay a monthly price, and get a certain number of miles in return. There are also tiered bonuses that are rewarded every year; you can basically get up to a 33% bonus if you subscribe to the most expensive plan for a year.
Club LifeMiles: Buying Miles through a Monthly Subscription Plan
I found the idea intriguing, and may be beneficial to certain folks. This is because the monthly pricing means the expiration of your miles will be pushed back every month. Starting April 15, 2018, newly earned LifeMiles will expire after 12 months unless there is a qualifying earning activity on your account. Subscribing to a Club LifeMiles plan means you will be accruing miles every month.
At the same time, I thought the plans’ values remain questionable. Even with the most expensive plan, which at the time cost $129.99 a month, you will only be getting 112,000 miles after a year. At that rate, you are basically earning miles for ~1.39 cents per mile.
The idea of a subscription sounds nice, but you are basically doing an installment plan for an eventual award. And since miles are basically currency that can
inflate or deflate with little to notice, this is a risky “investment,” if you can even call it that. I mean, 7,000 miles a month isn’t going to magically help you redeem a dream award in Lufthansa First Class, for example.
LifeMiles Altered The Subscription Plan Tiers, Effectively Lowering Prices
Well, it would appear that LifeMiles has made some changes to its subscription plans. Previously, you can purchase 500 to 8,000 miles per month, with a year end bonus. However, with the new plans, you can buy between 500 and 7,000 miles per month, with bonuses that awarded every 3 months.
Here are the available new plans:
|Plan (# of Miles)||Monthly Cost||Cost per Mile||Cost per Mile (With Bonus)|
|Plan 500||$9.99||2.00 cents||1.50 cents|
|Plan 1000||$19.49||1.95 cents||1.46 cents|
|Plan 2000||$38.49||1.92 cents||1.44 cents|
|Plan 3000||$56.99||1.90 cents||1.42 cents|
|Plan 5000||$91.99||1.84 cents||1.38 cents|
|Plan 7000||$125.99||1.80 cents||1.35 cents|
As you can see, it now costs more to buy miles without the bonus. However, if you factor in the bonus you get with committing for a year, the cost of miles is actually now lower across the board.
For example, if you buy the most expensive plan, “Plan 7000,” you will receive 7,000 monthly miles for $125.99. However, if you commit to an annual subscription, you will receive a tiered bonus throughout the year:
- After the 3rd month: 2,800 miles
- After the 6th month: 4,200 miles
- After the 9th month: 7,000 miles
- After the 12th month: 14,000 miles
This means that with the most expensive plan, you will now receive 112,000 miles for a total of $1511.88, or 1.35 cents per mile.
Of course, I feel obligated to point out that LifeMiles run promotions on the sale of their miles quite often. Even a modest, 130% bonus, will allow you to buy miles at 1.44 cents each. In recent years, we have seen bonuses up to 150%, which allows you to buy miles at 1.32 cents apiece. Even without a bonus, you can use the “Cash + Points” option at checkout. As long as you have 40% of the require miles in your account, you can buy the rest for as little as 1.5 cents each.
Still, if you are the kind of person who buys LifeMiles (and I can’t emphasize this enough), the adjustment means that the Club LifeMiles subscription plans might be worth a revisit. After all, the cost of 1.35 cents per mile basically equate to a 145% bonus.
If you have faith in the program and feel better about paying a smaller, monthly installment, while extending the life of your miles, I think there is merit to Club LifeMiles. However, if you don’t really mind paying more in one go for a potentially only slightly better discount, you can always hold out for those.