Avianca LifeMiles will soon expire after just one year. As of 15 April 2018, Avianca LifeMiles expire if no new miles are earned for 12 months. Redeeming miles will no longer extend the validity of miles in the account. What’s more, Avianca will no longer inform members before their LifeMiles expire!
In our view, Avianca’s new LifeMiles expiration policy is particularly harsh. Frequent flyer points with most other airlines will not expire unless there is no account activity – which includes both earning and redeeming points – for 2-3 years. Even Qantas Frequent Flyer points won’t expire unless there is no account activity for 18 months.
An exception will be made for members with LifeMiles status and holders of a co-branded Avianca credit card. These members’ miles will continue to be valid for 2 years.
For most Australian users of the program, this change means that you’ll need to buy at least a small amount of LifeMiles at least once per year to keep your account alive.
The new LifeMiles terms & conditions state that, from 15 April 2018:
Any miles accrual transaction in a member’s account in the Program extends the validity of the miles in the account of such member for a term of twelve (12) months from the date of such accrual of miles. Other transactions that may affect the balance of miles in a member’s account, including redemption transactions, will have no effect on them and will not extend the validity of the miles in such account.
It is the member’s obligation to be aware of the expiration date of its’ miles… LifeMiles assumes no obligation to notify the member on the upcoming expiration of its miles.
A final condition states that there may be an opportunity to reclaim expired LifeMiles. But this is not a guarantee:
Once the validity of the miles has expired, the total miles balance in the member’s account will expire and the new balance will be zero (0) miles. LifeMiles LTD and/or the Airlines may, but are not obligated to, establish special conditions for the reactivation of expired miles and may also establish a charge for the reactivation of the same.
This change is likely designed to increase the profitability of the LifeMiles frequent flyer program. Reducing the validity of miles will increase the rate of breakage, or the number of miles that expire each year. Expired miles are pure profit for the airline.
Under Avianca’s current policy, LifeMiles expire only if there is no account activity for at least 2 years. Both earning and redeeming miles currently counts as activity. Miles earned prior to 14 April 2018 will still be covered by the current policy.
Avianca LifeMiles is a popular frequent flyer program because miles are often sold at a generous discount. These miles can then be redeemed for flights with Star Alliance airlines. But if you do plan to buy miles from Avianca, make sure you don’t let them expire!
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Avianca “Lifemiles” – Questions and Discussion