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Book lie-flat business class at premium economy prices with this promotion

At TPG, we’re big fans of LifeMiles, the points currency of the Colombian airline Avianca.

Avianca is a member of Star Alliance, so you can use LifeMiles to book Star Alliance itineraries even if you never step foot on an Avianca plane. As it turns out, LifeMiles will almost always require fewer miles to book Star Alliance award seats when compared with United MileagePlus.

The program is running a promotion where you can purchase points with up to a 145% bonus through July 26. That effectively brings the purchase rate down to 1.4 cents per mile.

If you’re interested in flying long-haul business class for the price of economy class, here are some great Star Alliance itineraries that you can book with solid savings thanks to the current LifeMiles promotion.

This means you can use the sale to effectively purchase business-class airfare for the price of a premium economy ticket on some routes.

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In This Post

Should I buy LifeMiles?

(Photo by DANIEL MUNOZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Before we dive into some Star Alliance itineraries, I want to lay out a few disclaimers.

Beyond the limited Star Alliance award space, at any point, without notice, LifeMiles may increase the number of miles required to book a given flight. In other words, while 63,000 miles might get you across the Atlantic right now, there’s no guarantee that the award rates will stay the same for flights booked later. Because of this, I don’t recommend buying miles unless you have a specific redemption in mind that you plan to book immediately.

Also, for each of these example flights below, I’m assuming that you’re buying at least 51,000 miles (before the 145% bonus) as LifeMiles only offers the purchase rate of 1.4 cents per mile when you buy at least 51,000 miles.

Oh, and one more thing — LifeMiles expire after 12 months of inactivity on your account. You can keep your miles from expiring by either earning or redeeming miles. Remember that your miles will expire if you have more than 12 months without earning or redeeming LifeMiles.

Now that we’ve covered the formalities, let’s look at a few examples.

Denver to Munich: $907.30 in Lufthansa’s business class

Business class on a Lufthansa Airbus A350-900

Lufthansa’s A350 business class. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from DEN to MUC using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

About a year ago, Lufthansa started operating daily service between Denver and Munich. Much to the airline’s dismay, this route hasn’t delivered the passenger load numbers that were hoped for. Award space is fairly open on this route.

Last summer, I managed to snag a business-class award seat traveling from Denver to Munich. Overall, I was pleased with the service and catering on board, though you’ll likely find yourself in Lufthansa’s dated 2-2-2-configured business-class cabin.

At 63,000 LifeMiles and $25.30 in taxes and fees for a one-way award ticket, you’re almost certain to be landing a great redemption.

San Francisco to London: $907.30 in United Polaris business class

United Boeing 787-9 Polaris business class

United Boeing 787-9 Polaris business class. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from SFO to LHR using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

Another solid use of LifeMiles is booking a one-way flight from San Francisco to London in United’s Polaris business class. You’ll have access to United’s world-renowned Polaris lounge at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which was rated the best business-class lounge in the world in the 2019 World Airline Awards by Skytrax.

While this can be a great deal for the eastbound flight, you’ll run into steep passenger duties (think $300 per person one-way) on long-haul business-class departures from the United Kingdom.

Related: Top-notch with a twist: A review of United 777-300ER in Polaris business class from Newark to Tokyo

Chicago to Vienna: $907.30 in Austrian business class

Austrian Airlines Boeing 767-300ER business class. (Photo by JT Genter/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from ORD to VIE using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

Although it operates a fleet of only nine long-haul aircraft, Austrian Airlines has a solid business-class product. When I flew with Austrian Airlines in 2017, there was a designated “chef” on board who prepared a royal assortment of Viennese delicacies. Business-class passengers could select what they wanted from the meal cart as it passed down the aisle.

Dessert consisted of sachertorte, apple strudel and freshly brewed Viennese lattes. Yum!

Austrian Airlines flies to O’Hare International Airport (ORD), John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), Dulles International Airport (IAD) and seasonally to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

Los Angeles to Singapore: $1,117.30 in EVA Royal Laurel business class

A lobster dinner in EVA’s business class. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from LAX to SIN using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

If poached lobster and butternut squash with pumpkin ravioli, Veuve Clicquot La Grande Dame 2006 Champagne (which retails for about $160) and Salvatore Ferragamo amenity kits pique your interest, EVA’s business class is for you.

As you might expect, award space is rare. But if you find seats, the LifeMiles promotion is your ticket to a $1,100 flight to Singapore.

Washington, DC, to Geneva: $907.30 in United Polaris business class

United’s business class on the Boeing 767-300ER. (Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from IAD to GVA using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

United flies its “high-J 767” between Washington and Geneva. The 1-1-1 configuration is ideal for single travelers but isn’t the best option for families or those traveling with companions.

Still, with 46 seats in business class, it’s not too hard to find award space. And a real highlight of the Polaris experience is access to the Polaris lounge at IAD, which recently joined the lineup of Polaris lounges.

Newark to Tokyo: $1,075.30 in Air Canada’s Signature business class

Air Canada business class

Air Canada business class. (Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from EWR to NRT using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

While Japan is far from reopening, you could book an onward flight from Tokyo to other destinations in Asia. You can refer to our guide on country reopenings for more information on which countries are welcoming American tourists.

Last month, I tried Air Canada’s Signature class, and I walked away quite impressed with the flight. The food portions were generous and the seats were comfortable.

For 75,000 LifeMiles, you can travel from Newark to Narita International Airport (NRT) via Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL).

Newark to Cape Town: $1,119.30 in Ethiopian’s Cloud Nine business class

Ethiopian Airlines A350 business class. (Photo by Wallace Cotton/The Points Guy)

Booking a flight from EWR to CPT using LifeMiles

(Screenshot from

For our last example flight, we’ll look at using 78,000 LifeMiles to fly to Cape Town. Ethiopian Airlines flies to Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C, but many of its flights to eastern and southern Africa have stopovers. For example, the first leg of this flight from Newark to Addis Ababa Bole International Airport (ADD) stops at Gnassingbé Eyadéma International Airport (LFW).

Admittedly, this isn’t the most direct way to South Africa, but if having a lie-flat seat is important to you, it’s an option worth considering.

Need more LifeMiles?

When you buy your LifeMiles, I suggest paying for them with a card like the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card or Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card. That way you’ll earn 2 Capital One miles for each dollar you spend.

And as you might have guessed, those Capital One miles are transferable to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio, along with American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

Bottom line

Star Alliance planes at SEA

(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

In the early days of 2021, Avianca had a similar sale that allowed members to earn up to a 150% bonus when buying LifeMiles. This promotion offers up to a 145% bonus on LifeMiles purchases, so you can travel on long-haul premium Star Alliance tickets for prices close to economy class. You can buy LifeMiles at this landing page.

You can always refer to our guide on the current points and miles promotions so you never miss a deal.

Featured photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy.

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