Avianca is a member of Star Alliance, so their LifeMiles program gives members access to a large number of airlines, such as United, Lufthansa, SWISS, ANA, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways, and more. While there aren’t any credit card programs that transfer miles to LifeMiles, the airline frequently sells miles at a deep discount. For example, in October 2015, it was possible to buy Lifemiles for as low as 1.32 cents per mile, a great price to redeem for premium awards.
Some of the great things about LifeMiles are that you can book one-way awards, which helps you with mixing and matching different awards to suit your travel plans. In addition, LifeMiles doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on any airlines, so taxes and fees are very reasonable.
In my opinion, the biggest drawback of using LifeMiles was that you could not mix cabins on an award. For example, let’s say you found Lufthansa First Class space from Chicago to Frankfurt, but the only award availability from your home city to Chicago was in Economy class. In the past, you could not mix an Economy Class seat into a First Class award, and would have to find your way to the gateway city on another ticket. Often times, this meant purchasing a ticket with cash or with another set of miles.
However, Avianca LifeMiles now supports mixed cabin itineraries! Check out the following screenshot, which prices United Economy Class alongside Lufthansa First Class!
For people based in North America, there are some good values on the Lifemiles award chart. Here are some one-way prices, and remember, there are no fuel surcharges or late ticketing fees:
- North America to Europe in Business Class for 63,000 miles
- North America to Europe in First Class for for 87,000 miles
- North America to Central Asia/South Asia in Business Class for 78,000 miles
- North America to North Asia in First Class for 90,000 miles
All in all, I think this is a long overdue improvement to the LifeMiles program, as it makes booking a full trip with connecting flights a lot easier!