I have used LM several times so I can share with you my experience. My redemption so far with LM includes:
- SIN – CDG, ZRH – SIN on SQ A380J
- ZRH – NRT on LH J
- NRT – YYZ and return on AC and NH J
- BNE-TPE-LHR on BR J
- SYD – ICN on OZ J
- NRT – SYD on TG F
- PER – JNB – GRU on SA J
- SYD – NRT on TG F
- LAX – NRT – SIN on NH F
- SYD – HND – ORD on NH J
- ORD – NRT on NH F
The term “easy” can mean many things. So in a way you can say it is easy to redeem but also it is very hard to redeem.
If easy means availability, then I would say it is certainly better than oneworld redemption, ie. Compare with Qantas and AA, you are more likely to find award availability.
If it means routing rules, then yes, it has one of the most flexible routing rules so you can come up with some really creative routing which are usually not allowed by other airlines. (Try to book BNE to NRT via YVR! No other airlines except LM will allow you to travel to Japan and transit in Canada!)
But in terms of booking, then I would say it’s a mixed picture. If all you are after is a straight forward direct flight between A&B, then it is very simple. Go online and book it. You can even top up with cash. But if your itinerary involves connection, then it gets tricky. Eg. You might think SYD to LHR via BKK on Thai airway should be a straight forward connection, but LM’s buggy search engine won’t display it even though the flight is available. This is where you will need the “ScreenShot technic”. (Please refer to LM’s guide in Keith’s site for details of this method.) If you can master this technic, you can pretty much connect to anywhere in the world as long as there are no mixed cabin and connection time is within 24 hours. I have heard successes in people booking complex itinerary like:
- SYD-SIN-NRT-JFK then return on JFK-ICN-BKK-PER, both in J for 80K LM one way.
- SYD-BKK-CDG-FRA-FCO in J for 85k LM.
The easiest way to do it is search your availability in United.com. Whatever is available to UA is available to LM (assuming it’s not a phantom space in UA). Search identical itineraries in LM. If it’s unavailable, then you need to search segment by segment and screen shot it as per guideline.
As you can see with my redemptions, I started with some really simple itineraries when I first started. Once I get more used to it, I started to get more complicated itineraries. So it’s easy but not so easy.
Hope that helps.
I have a love hate relationship with lifemiles.
Prob the cheapest program to buy miles in, but at times will take note effort to make a booking.
Haven’t tried the screen shot method as yet. It doors help to get around the 8 hour transit limit, bit you then have the worry the seats might be gone by the time LM get around to doing your booking.
Great answer Michael, great help for the beginners with LM like myself.
I just jumped on the latest string of bonus offers, and booked SYD – ICN on OZ J in late 2016.
The one thing that has me confused about it is the whole seat selection (which seems, by the little I have read, a bit tricky with OZ). Do you have any tips?
Just to add as a first time user of the whole LM method, the guide mentioned was very useful and turned out to be quite a painless process (so far) ;).
It used to be possible from this link:
I’ve selected my seat using it. But it mightn’t work anymore. You just need to call Asiana directly to select a seat.
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Why search via UA rather than LM (assume segment by segment)? If I find a segment on UA that’s not available on LM, can I screen shot that ans send to LM for booking?
Of course you can search on LM’s online search engine. It’s just that if you want to look at availability over a month, it’s much easier to look at UA on the calendar view. LM only show one week at a time.
Also if your itinerary is a bit more complicated (eg, BNE to JFK), I can guarantee you LM won’t show it. But UA will show BNE – BKK – NRT/ICN – JFK. So you know which segment to search.
Also if connection is more than 8 hours, LM search engine won’t show but UA will.
I just find it much easier to have an idea on what’s available before I go into each segment.
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