We all earn plenty of miles from actually flying, but as I was explaining to a friend, that’s just one way to increase our mileage balances. There are credit card offers that come with miles offers, but sometimes the best way to increase our miles for an award trip we want to book is simply to purchase miles from the airlines. Right now we have two very different promotions running. One from United Airlines and one from Avianca LifeMiles. The offers will appeal to different people, so let’s explore them both and see which one is right for you!
If you’re looking to increase your stash of United miles, now is a great time because United has a bonus running through May 24. United likes to play games, and in this case they’re calling it a MYSTERY OFFER. When you sign into your account you’ll see which bonus you’re eligible for. I got lucky and for me a 100% bonus on purchased miles is a sweet deal (about 1.88 cents per mile). This can be, depending on your bonus offer, the best price you’ll ever see for United miles, so at the very least, check your account!
How to Buy United Miles
If you’re planning on utilizing this promotion, here’s what you need to do:
- Visit United’s Buy Miles page.
- Click on Buy Miles.
- Enter your United MileagePlus account number and last name.
- Select the number of miles you want to buy and fill in the required information to finalize your purchase.
Now let’s look at the Avianca LifeMiles promotion. LifeMiles is a great program when it comes to redeeming Star Alliance award tickets. I’ve been a fan of the LifeMiles program for many years now. Because their awards are reasonably priced and my schedule and plans are usually flexible, I keep a stash of LifeMiles in my account. I use them to book business class seats to Asia, as well as to Europe. Putting LifeMiles on sale is nothing new, though this promo gets creative.
It a Buy 1, Get 2 + Additional Bonus offer so basically you’d receive up to a 125% bonus when buying 1000 LM or more. This Buy 1, Get 2 + a bonus is essentially a better price to purchase points even if you get the 100% offer from United. So if you’re one of the people who would be buying these LifeMiles for Star Alliance partner redemptions, it’s a better deal to purchase LifeMiles. You can use LifeMiles for domestic tickets on United and get very good redemption rates! However………..
The LifeMiles program is not now, nor has it ever been, for the faint of heart. Their search engine has always been buggy, they do block award space, and there are routing limitations. In the past year they have also changed the expiration policy on miles, changed award zones, and created a LifeMiles Club where you can get a monthly subscription for buying miles. That’s a lot to keep track of! If all that doesn’t turn you off to their program, and because of their competitively priced award chart and LifeMiles being cheap to buy so that you can fly premium cabins as a discount, you’ll like the current promotion.
So here’s the bottom line. Many miles/points enthusiasts don’t want to mess with LifeMiles. Heck, when I use my LifeMiles to book an award, I let my award booking team do all the heavy lifting. I’m not faint of heart, but I’ve had to call Avianca a few times and that’s always quite an experience 🙂 But not everyone has an Avianca account nor wants to deal with Avianca and their booking process or restrictions. United’s 100% mystery bonus is, after all, a 100% bonus and the best price you’ll see United miles on sale for. The best price isn’t always the best for everyone, right?
Whether or not you buy airline miles when promotions are running, it’s good to know about your options. We all like to travel more, for less! I keep a list of airline point promos handy to see if they’ll work for me. Depending on your travel plans, these two promotions might be worth checking out. Remember, never buy miles without a near future need for them, but if you need to top up an account or you’re planning a trip, these deals could work for you. As always, let math be your friend and make sure you have a planned use for these miles. If you do plan to take advantage of these offers, the United promo can be found here and the LifeMiles promo here.
Are you a buyer of United miles at these prices? Or does it take a 100% bonus for you to be interested? And I’m curious, are you still buying LifeMiles even with all the changes to their program?
Shelli Stein is a health and fitness entrepreneur who travels the world in search of culture, food, and fun! Besides contributing to PointMeToThePlane, you can find her at Joy in Movement.