Or, consider other cards for 50,000 or more miles or points that transfer into United miles with additional flexibility for your everyday spending.
$1,000 toward travel or transfer to United, Southwest, and more.
Citi®/ AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard.
THIS DEAL HAS EXPIRED
LifeMiles, the mileage program of Avianca / TACA Airlines has increased the bonus offer on its LifeMiles Visa to 40,000 miles from the standard 20,000 miles until April 30, 2014 via an email sent to all U.S. members of the LifeMiles program. You just have to spend $3,000 within 3 months on the card to qualify.
This card is issued by US Bank, which is one of the more conservative banks when it comes to approving credit card applications. In particular they are harder on people who have applied for multiple credit cards in recent months, so that means you’ll want to think a little harder before deciding to apply for this card, and answer these questions:
US Bank issues one of the most lucrative rewards cards available today, the Club Carlson Visa Signature, which offers up to 85,000 points when you sign up and is enough for up to 9 free award nights at Club Carlson hotels. It also has an awesome deal where on every award stay of 2 nights or more, your last night is free as a cardholder, which means on a 2 night stay you just pay with points for one night. So if you have been thinking of earning free nights at Club Carlson hotels (which are mostly Radisson hotels, which have a big presence in Europe) then you might want to go for this offer first.
LifeMiles is a unique program because you don’t have to fly them at all to get some great rewards. It’s a member of Star Alliance which means you’ll get access to United, Lufthansa, Air Canada and many other partners for flights in the United States.
The award prices are reasonable – you can get a business class ticket to Europe for 105,000 miles roundtrip and a domestic U.S. coach ticket on United is 25,000 miles.
It’s also easy to book online. In fact the only way you can book an award is online, so whatever you see there is what you get. You can poke around and look for award options here. Often times award space you see on United.com for Star Alliance flights won’t show up on LifeMiles’ search engine and unfortunately there’s not good way to book it otherwise as LifeMiles is picky about which flights it shows in its search results.
But the really cool thing is the ability to buy miles along with your award.
When you book an award you can buy up to 60% of the miles needed for an award on the spot, and the rate is about 1.5 cents per mile you buy. That’s not a great deal for a domestic coach ticket, but if you want an international business class ticket it’s outstanding.
So for example you could take the 43,000 miles you earn from the credit card bonus, and buy 62,000 miles for about $967. So for 43,000 miles and $967 you’ll get a round-trip business class ticket to Europe on airlines like Air Canada, Lufthansa, or United worth over $3,000, a really great deal, especially considering LifeMiles doesn’t add on fuel surcharges like other non-U.S. programs.
And Lufthansa has excellent availability in Business Class to Europe this summer thanks in part to the fact that United jacked up the price of awards on partners like Lufthansa to 140,000 miles roundtrip, making them less accessible to many people.
In fact with all the news of airlines making it harder to earn miles via flying, a good cash and miles option like this can be one of the most viable ways to get into business class on long flights at a reasonable price.
LifeMiles also has promos where you can separately buy up to 75,000 miles outright each year at about 1.5 cents each , so miles from this credit card are a great way to maximize those opportunities. But beware and don’t buy miles without a trip in mind immediately as LifeMiles has been known to increase the miles required for awards without advance notice.
You can look here to see how many miles you’ll need for many awards, though you’ll want to get a free LifeMiles account and login to see how the cash and miles options work.
In this case of course, get the card if you plan to be a member of the LifeMiles program for actual flying. There’s no annual fee the first year so you can get started quickly and start earning rewards for travel to Latin America with great availability.
The annual fee on the card is $75 but that’s waived the first year and you get a 6,000 mile bonus if your renew, which is worth about $90 considering you can buy miles for about 1.5 cents each.
This is a great opportunity to get a seat in business class to Europe at a discounted price, about the same as buying a coach ticket. And all you need to do is put $3,000 of your normal spending on the LifeMiles Visa to earn enough miles to do it.
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