Your guide to Avianca LifeMiles!
Updated: Dec 17, 2020
How do I earn these miles?
You can transfer them from American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, and Citi ThankYou Points. Amex and Citi have a 1:1 ratio, while Capital one has a 2:1.5 ratio!
Avianca is one of the few airlines to sell their miles at heavy bonuses (often 100% or more!). If you need to top up your account or see the perfect redemption, this may be the best option to go with.
Avianca is a Star Alliance Partner. This means you can redeem their miles on any Star Alliance carrier such as United or Lufthansa. The best redemptions are 63,000 points for business class from the United States to Europe or 78,000 points from the United States to Southeast Asia.
There are two main benefits. One is the low award cost. For example, 87,000 points for Lufthansa First Class from the United States to Europe. This is an award that costs more than 100,000 points on any other program. Another benefit is the fuel surcharge. For instance, if you use Aeroplan to book a flight on Lufthansa, you will be hit with $500+ per person surcharges. LifeMiles doesn’t pass that on to you so that can be a big money saver! In exchange, they charge a $25 booking fee.
A short-haul domestic flight will cost $50 to cancel and you will not be refunded the $25 booking fee. A long-haul flight will cost $200 to cancel plus the $25 booking fee. Changes will cost $150. It’s better to cancel a short-haul flight and rebook rather than paying more!
LifeMiles can be a valuable tool, but it can be extremely hard to book. We have seen many times when representatives don’t know what to do in the call center. At times, the website is dysfunctional by displaying phantom award space. We didn’t even post an award chart to this post because even that can vary at times due to their IT systems.
When LifeMiles works, it’s amazing. When it doesn’t, you will be regretting the redemption. It’s best to create redemptions that are simple (nothing complicated!). For instance, its better to just have one flight on your itinerary such as from San Francisco to Frankfurt. If you add any other connector flights (ex. From Reno to San Francisco on United connecting to Frankfurt on Lufthansa), it will be extremely hard for LifeMiles to price the itinerary out, and even see the space. If you have a complicated itinerary, it’s best to go to another program like Aeroplan.
What do you need to take away?
You should take on Avianca LifeMiles with a grain of salt. Redemptions that happen are amazing.