Save 25% on Your Business Class Award to Asia With the Bonus for Transferring Amex points to LifeMiles and the Latest LifeMiles Sale

amex points to lifemiles

UPDATE 3.22 Just a few hours left for Award Sale

Update 3.22: The $40 Close-in Fee is no more! HT: Nick from The Frequent Miler

Nick has also found some Unicorn anomalies in the LM chart:

  • New York to Zurich: 16,500 miles
  • JFK to Brussels on Brussels: 22K miles
  • JFK to Lisbon on TAP: 23.5K miles

These redemption rates have nothing to do with the Award Sale. And there are more.

END OF UPDATE—————————

There are 2 forces at play. One is the 15% Amex bonus for transferring Amex points to LifeMiles. Another one is the up-to-31% LifeMiles award sale on flights on Asian airlines. That one ends on March 22.

Since most of us are primarily interested in traveling from/to the United States, I’ll spare you the suspense. This award sale is much smaller in scope than the previous one in November 2018. There are no First Class seats on sale. And you won’t get 31% off. You’ll get 15%, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at.

Avianca LifeMiles award sale

All flights from/to the U.S. are priced at 64,000 miles in Business Class vs. 74,000 miles per one-way travel. That’s a 15% (11,000 miles) discount. The itineraries are as follows:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to/from: Hong Kong (HKG), Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG), and Taipei (TPE)
  • Chicago (ORD) to/from Taipei
  • Seattle (SEA) to/from Taipei
  • San Francisco (SFO) to/from Hong Kong
  • Houston (IAH) to/from Taipei
From/To To/From New Cost Old Cost Discount (Miles) Discount (%)
LAX HKG 64,000 75,000 -11,000 -15%

The latest 15% bonus for transferring Amex points to LifeMiles

Amex currently offers a 15% transfer bonus to Avianca LifeMiles. In order to arrive at the 64,000 points needed for your Business Class flight to Asia, you’ll need to transfer 56,000 Amex Membership Rewards points.

This is not as lucrative as the recent 25% Citi ThankYou transfer bonus, but it’s still significant, especially combined with the additional savings from the Avianca award sale. You can save 19,000 miles or over 25%.

Most award seats I’ve found from the U.S. included Eva

That includes nonstop flights to Taipei, which was to be expected, but also flights to Hong Kong and Seoul, as well. This is really great news since Eva offers arguably the best Business Class seats of all Asian carriers.

amex points to lifemiles Eva to Hong Kong
Pay 56,000 Amex points for a Eva Business Class flight to Hong Kong

Having said that, I’ve also seen availability on Air Canada to Shanghai with a stop in Vancouver and an added bonus of saving a few thousand miles if you don’t mind sitting in Economy on your first leg to Canada.

amex points to lifemiles Air Canada to ICN
You can use even fewer miles on Air Canada to fly to Shanghai if you don’t mind an economy seat on the first leg to Vancouver

You must book before 3.22.19, but you can fly until the end of schedule

The wording on the LifeMiles website is not really clear.

Redeem your tickets from February 27th to March 22th, 2019, and get up to 31% discount in some Star Alliance flights.

I did confirm, though, that the Avianca award sale is valid until next March (provided there is availability).

amex points to lifemiles IAH-TPE
You can find availability until March 2020

What else do you need to know about LifeMiles?

Avianca charges a $25 fee to redeem an award ticket.

UPDATE 3.22: the $40 fee doesn’t appear anymore.

They also charge a $40 close-in redemption fee (within 2 weeks). I honestly don’t remember seeing that charge before they revamped their website in January 2019. I could’ve just missed it, of course.

Reader Jerry confirms that Avianca didn’t use to charge the close-in fee.

Another thing I don’t like is I can’t find the LifeMiles award chart anymore. It was there, easily found, on their old site – have they, too, taken a page from Delta? You can find the old U.S. Limited Edition Avianca chart here. 🙂

Keep in mind that Avianca also charges for any changes or miles redepositing. These fees vary, but it’s usually $150 on long hauls.

What else is good?

A Business Class flight on Thai between Seoul and Bangkok is 25,000 miles vs. the regular 36,000, the only 31% discount. This is a 5.5-hour flight, so it might be well worth it considering that you’ll only pay 22,000 Amex points if you take advantage of both deals.

To recap

You can save over 25% miles combined on a Business Class award ticket from the U.S. to some cities in Asia by taking advantage of the 15% bonus for transferring Amex points to LifeMiles and 15% Avianca award sale. Unfortunately, there are no deals from the East Coast this time around.

You can fly until the end of schedule (March 2020), but you must book your ticket before February 22, 2019. Most tickets I’ve found are on Eva Airlines, which offers a great Business Class seat and service that every blogger is raving about (I’ve never flown Eva myself).

For more information on Avianca LifeMiles read my comprehensive series.

Thoughts? Are you taking advantage of these deals?

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Yeah they don’t charge close-in fees before. Sneaky change.

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