Sharing miles between frequent flyer programme accounts is usually a poor idea, as often you must pay for the privilege at a price not much less than the cost of simply buying miles. You might think “if I add my partner’s 15,000 miles to my 55,000 miles I’ll have the 70,000 miles I need for my reward flights”, but you would usually be better off just buying the required 15,000 miles for your account. Sure, you’d pay a bit more today. However your partner’s account would retain a balance of 15,000 miles and you would be able to use them in the future.
Occasionally, however, a promotion comes along that reverts this conventional wisdom. And it only happens when the sharing process involves the creation of new miles in the process. One such promotion is currently being offered by Avianca’s LifeMiles program – it will be available until March 30th, 2021.
LifeMiles is notorious for selling miles cheaply, which can then be spent on reward flights on any Star Alliance partner. (the best rewards are usually Business or First Class to Europe or Asia) Repeated devaluations (and the closure of travel hacker loopholes) has sucked some, but not all, of the value out of the programme.
But when this “share miles” promotion comes along – you pay $15 to share 1,000 miles with a friend or family member – you can generate new miles even cheaper than normal. Here’s how…
- Step 1 – Account 1 shares 20,000 miles with Account 2 and pays $300 to share those miles. Account 2 actually receives 44,000 miles.
- Step 2 – Account 2 shares 44,000 miles with Account 1 and pays $660 to share those miles. Account 1 actually receives 96,800 miles.
What is the Net Effect?
Thanks to that circular process, you now have an extra 76,800 miles. (96,800 less your original 20,000) You (and your partner) paid $960 to move some miles around. This works out to 1.25 US cents per mile.
The key to making this trick work is starting off with some miles to share. From there you can create new “bonus” miles in the process. It also helps to have accounts opened in the names of people you trust – family, partner, etc. and who don’t mind that you manage their accounts for them.
This promotion runs regularly enough that it might make families consider using Avianca LifeMiles as their main Star Alliance program. Instead of having orphaned miles in various accounts, you can cost-effectively merge several Lifemiles balances together every once in awhile.
Although promotions such as this one are rare, they can be excellent methods of generating new miles cheaply… simply by sharing miles with somebody, and having that person share them right back to you!
Have you ever shared miles with a friend or family member? Let us know…