After United elevated award charges on some MileagePlus awards by over 100%, the most effective Star Alliance “candy spot” awards now largely come from international carriers. Whereas navigating a international airline’s frequent flyer program could appear daunting, the rewards could be important.
That is notably true for Colombian airline Avianca and its LifeMiles frequent flyer program.
LifeMiles presents extremely interesting redemption charges for Star Alliance awards and extra distinctive options that make this program price your consideration. Let’s delve into the whole lot it’s essential to find out about Avianca LifeMiles.
How one can earn Avianca LifeMiles
There are numerous methods to earn Avianca LifeMiles, however the probably avenue for TPG readers is thru its partnerships with main transferable factors applications. You may at present switch your American Categorical Membership Rewards factors, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards to your LifeMiles account at a 1:1 ratio. These applications typically provide switch bonuses — although there are not any at present in impact.
In case you’re seeking to prime up your transferable factors balances, you are able to do so by making use of for these prime presents:
Moreover, you may switch Marriott Bonvoy factors at a 3:1 ratio. Not like most main applications, you will not obtain the 5,000 bonus miles for each 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy factors you switch; LifeMiles was one of many applications that misplaced this function in 2022.
Past bank cards, Avianca typically presents reductions on LifeMiles purchases. Previously, we have now seen costs drop as little as 1.2 cents per mile, though the everyday sale value ranges from 1.3 to 1.35 cents per mile. These charges are considerably decrease than TPG’s valuation of LifeMiles at 1.7 cents every. Whereas shopping for factors speculatively is usually not really helpful, these gross sales is usually a good possibility in case you have a particular redemption in thoughts.
In case you continuously journey on paid tickets with Star Alliance carriers, it is likely to be price contemplating crediting your miles to Avianca. This may be advisable when you discover extra worth within the LifeMiles program than in different choices like United MileagePlus or Air Canada Aeroplan. Crediting your miles to Avianca can also be useful when you do not journey sufficient to earn elite standing however nonetheless wish to maximize your redemption alternatives.
Associated: The place to credit score paid flights in every alliance for probably the most doable factors
Reward your inbox with the TPG Day by day publication
Be part of over 700,000 readers for breaking information, in-depth guides and unique offers from TPG’s consultants.
How one can redeem Avianca LifeMiles
As a member of the Star Alliance, Avianca means that you can use your LifeMiles for flights on Avianca or any of its alliance companions. Moreover, Avianca has partnerships with GOL and Iberia, offering alternatives to earn and redeem LifeMiles on choose flights operated by these airways.
LifeMiles follows a typical zone-based award chart for many flights. Nevertheless, flights inside the U.S. typically deviate from the usual award chart. Dynamic pricing is usually unfavorable. Nevertheless, these discrepancies have typically labored in favor of vacationers, providing advantageous redemption choices.
This is a one-way financial system flight from San Francisco Worldwide Airport (SFO) to Los Angeles Worldwide Airport (LAX) that costs out 1,000 miles cheaper than Avianca’s award chart suggests:
Redeeming LifeMiles is usually an easy course of that includes logging into the LifeMiles web site and trying to find your required award flight.
Nevertheless, you will need to be aware that whereas Avianca ought to have entry to the identical Star Alliance award availability as United and Air Canada, the service’s data know-how is understood to have limitations. This can lead to phantom award area, the place seats seem on-line however should not bookable.
Conversely, Avianca might not all the time show obtainable award area on United or Aeroplan. Due to this fact, it’s advisable to double-check your search utilizing one other Star Alliance search engine or instruments like ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s dad or mum firm, Pink Ventures) earlier than transferring factors to Avianca. This ensures you’ve gotten correct and up-to-date data earlier than continuing along with your redemption.
Associated: The perfect web sites to seek for Star Alliance award availability
LifeMiles candy spots
Most often, you’re confronted with a trade-off between low award charges and excessive gasoline surcharges or spending extra miles to keep away from additional prices. Nevertheless, LifeMiles is among the few applications that excels in each elements. It presents extremely aggressive charges for Star Alliance awards and doesn’t go on gasoline surcharges to LifeMiles members. Because of this, you may anticipate to pay minimal taxes and costs when redeeming an award ticket.
Lufthansa top notch from the U.S. to Europe
Between Porcshe amenity kits and gourmand inflight eating, Lufthansa’s top notch is commonly a dream come true for award vacationers.
United typically costs Lufthansa first-class awards to Europe at round 121,000 miles every means. Air Canada Aeroplan expenses 100,000 factors when there’s award area. Whereas Asiana and Lufthansa provide decrease charges, each applications impose excessive taxes and costs.
In the meantime, Avianca presents top-of-the-line methods to e book Lufthansa top notch on miles. Award charges begin at simply 87,000 miles every means and carry minimal taxes and costs.
At 30,000 and 63,000 miles, Star Alliance financial system and enterprise class awards aren’t unhealthy offers, both.
To match, this is what you’d want from different Star Alliance applications that accomplice with transferable level currencies:
- United MileagePlus: 44,000 miles for financial system; 88,000 miles for enterprise; 121,000 miles for first
- Air Canada Aeroplan: 40,000 factors for financial system; 70,000 factors for enterprise; 100,000 factors for first
- Singapore Airways KrisFlyer: 30,500 miles for financial system; 81,000 miles for enterprise; 121,000 miles for first (be aware that these would additionally incur a lot increased gasoline surcharges along with the additional miles)
ANA enterprise and top notch from Honolulu to Tokyo
If you wish to journey to Japan on a shorter daytime flight, you may contemplate going from Honolulu’s Daniel Okay. Inouye Worldwide Airport (HNL).
LifeMiles expenses simply 27,500, 48,000 and 66,000 miles for one-way flights in financial system, enterprise and top notch (respectively) between Honolulu and Tokyo’s Narita Worldwide Airport (NRT). These award charges are not less than 10% lower than what Aeroplan, KrisFlyer and MileagePlus cost for a similar route.
Enterprise class from the U.S. to Asia
As anticipated, award charges from the mainland U.S. to Asia are increased, with one-way flights from Chicago’s O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) to Taiwan Taoyuan Worldwide Airport (TPE) costing 47,000 miles and 90,000 miles in financial system and enterprise class, respectively.
However, this will nonetheless be a good approach to attain the continent for fewer miles than you’d see via different applications.
Enterprise class to New Zealand
Though premium-cabin award area on Air New Zealand is notoriously tough to seek out, one other LifeMiles candy spot is the service’s enterprise class to Auckland Airport (AKL), with flights costing simply 80,000 miles.
As Aeroplan sells these awards for 75,000 factors, you may contemplate reserving via Air Canada — although when you’re shopping for LifeMiles, it is nonetheless a candy spot price understanding about. For reference, this award prices 110,000 miles with United MileagePlus.
Enterprise class to South America
LifeMiles additionally presents nice award charges on sure South American flights. Lie-flat, business-class awards price simply 35,000 miles from Newark Liberty Worldwide Airport (EWR) to Jorge Chavez Worldwide Airport (LIM) in Lima, Peru — a hidden gem for a flight of this size.
Longer haul business-class flights like from Washington’s Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD) to Sao Paulo-Guarulhos Worldwide Airport (GRU) price 52,800 miles. Nonetheless, that is decrease than the 60,000 factors and 80,000 miles that Aeroplan and United cost.
When touring in long-haul enterprise or top notch, it’s normal to come across mixed-cabin awards via LifeMiles. This occurs within the following conditions:
- When airways do not provide top notch on shorter routes, requiring passengers to attach in enterprise or financial system class
- When there is not award area in your required cabin
Most loyalty applications decide the award price by the very best cabin of service used. Nevertheless, LifeMiles takes a distinct method. They value every leg of the journey individually based mostly on the category of service booked. This typically results in a reduced price for mixed-cabin tickets.
Within the above instance, it can save you 3,040 miles on a one-way ticket to Europe by beginning your journey in financial system class at Orlando Worldwide Airport (MCO). The entire price would then be simply 59,960 miles. The flight from Orlando to Chicago’s O’Hare Worldwide Airport (ORD) does not have award availability in United’s home top notch, so it is a nice approach to nonetheless get the award you need.
Alternatively, even when there’s availability on your whole journey, you might resolve it is not price utilizing additional miles for a shorter connecting flight. Even then, you may choose financial system and save a few of your rewards for later.
Associated: The perfect methods to journey to Europe utilizing factors and miles
Issues with Avianca LifeMiles
Regardless of LifeMiles providing interesting award charges, it may not be this system for you. This system has a status for error-prone data know-how and inconsistent customer support.
LifeMiles members typically encounter web site glitches when redeeming their miles. On one event, LifeMiles deducted the miles from my account for a easy round-trip, economy-class Europe award flight however did not problem the ticket. Though I had hoped an agent would have the ability to resolve this shortly, it took round three hours and conversations with half a dozen brokers to finish this course of.
Moreover, when you reserve an financial system award ticket and enterprise class turns into obtainable, LifeMiles requires you to pay a cancellation charge to redeposit your miles. You may then rebook your flight in enterprise class.
When you might save 1000’s of miles reserving with Avianca, canceling your ticket might be tedious and dear. You sometimes cannot cancel award bookings on-line, and Avianca is sluggish to problem refunds.
Avianca LifeMiles is a frequent flyer program that has confirmed its price within the award journey world. With its engaging redemption charges, lack of gasoline surcharges and partnerships with main transferable factors applications, LifeMiles presents nice worth and suppleness to its members. Whereas there could also be some customer support challenges and quirks to navigate, the advantages outweigh the drawbacks for a lot of vacationers.
So take the time to discover Avianca LifeMiles, delve into its candy spots and unlock the probabilities it presents on your future travels. With some research and planning, you may profit from this invaluable program as you contemplate the place to switch your bank card factors.
Further reporting by Ethan Steinberg.