Why you should buy Lifemiles, and not US miles

This festive month is always full of transfer and purchase promotions.

US Airways: Get a 100% bonus for buying/gifting miles

100% Bonus

You can buy up to 100,000 miles through this promotion which is extended through to December 7 as noted in the terms and conditions. Accounts need to be at least 12 days old. Similar terms as other promotions. There are some items of note for Canadians, though:

Make sure that you to keep in mind of the additional costs that will we will be dinged on just because we’re Canadians! It sucks, doesn’t it? So, if you’re buying 45,000 miles (enough for a trip to North Asia in Business Class), you’re looking at

$1,750 (USD) in buying the miles themselves. That’s around 1740 Canadian Dollars. Then, you’ll be including a up to 3% foreign transaction fee for buying with a Canadian Credit Card (unless you have the Marriott Chase Visa!), as well as a 7.5% tax recovery charge and a 12% HST. That is really painful. So in total, you’re looking at 2,160 Canadian Dollars for a round trip business class to Asia (via europe). Is it a great deal? Maybe, if you’ve already budgeted for a trip. Not something you’d do on a whim, unless you’re a trust-fund baby (and I’m not one of them, unfortunately). That’s 2.4 cents per mile, numbers wise.

The other promotion is a 2×1 promotion from Lifemiles:

There are multiple reasons why this is a better value than buying US miles, although Lucky disagrees. If you look at the numbers, you can get 45,000 miles for 300 USD, no HST, no recovery fee. This works out to 1.5 cents per mile. However, also remember that you can buy 60% of your miles through Cash and Points at 1.275 cents per miles. Working out the currency conversion, you’re looking at 1.4 cents per mile. That’s a whole lot cheaper than US Dividend Miles. Only a foreign transaction one. Furthermore, I do believe this is a travel purchase, so you can get category bonuses with whatever credit cards you have.

I actually would say Avianca miles are insanely valuable, because we can’t earn UA in Canada. Although you can’t have a stopover in addition to your destination on round trips, the value lies in mixing a one way with a return in another program, like BA Avios. Essentially you can get a one way in business/first class to mostly anywhere in the world for under $1,300. If you’re again, planning a trip, it’s definitely an option to look at. This is also why it makes Aeroplan such a worthless currency. The only strength that Aeroplan still has is the 3 stops you can have on an intercontinental trip. If you only have 1/2 destinations, you can pair Avianca with an AA award with a North American Gateway City stopover and that renders your Aeroplan with a maximum of 2 cents per mile. Not so appealing anymore. Remember that lifemiles currently do not charge fuel surcharges on any carriers, so it’s definitely useful on carriers like LH, TG, NH, and OZ. It is true that they have horrible phone agents, but if you’re buying miles you’re not looking for complex itineraries. It’s excellent for simple one way redemptions.

As of right now I will be passing on the promotion as I purchased miles last time the promotion happened (September I think), and so I’m going to Tokyo in April in business class! But then again, considering you can do LH F for way less than a thousand dollars, I might reconsider…




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