Avianca's LifeMiles frequent flyer program has some outstanding specials on buying miles. These deals unlock some extraordinary value on Star Alliance Business and First Class flights when you buy LifeMiles.
Unfortunately, dealing with the LifeMiles program can be unnecessarily complicated and redeeming LifeMiles can be a challenge. Nonetheless, there is great value to be had if you understand the intricacies of this wonderful yet frustrating frequent flyer program.
Avianca typically offers very generous discounts around 4-6 times per year when you buy LifeMiles. It's not uncommon to see up to 145% bonus LifeMiles during promotions!
This guide explains how to buy and redeem Avianca LifeMiles for discounted premium travel across the Star Alliance network.
How to Buy LifeMiles
You can buy LifeMiles directly on the LifeMiles website. (If the website appears in Spanish, you can select the English language option in the top-right corner beside the log-in button.)
The cost is USD33 per thousand at full price, although the regular promotions can bring the price down to as low as USD13.47 per thousand.
As you'll be buying miles from a Colombian airline, we recommend calling your bank before the credit card payment is processed. To save on credit card surcharges, we recommend using a credit card with no international transaction fees.
There is an annual purchase limit of 200,000 LifeMiles, excluding bonus miles. However, you only need to buy 40% of the miles needed to redeem for an award flight in advance. You can later purchase the other 60% at a good price when booking your flights. So the annual purchase limit is not all that limiting.
To be eligible for the promotions on buying miles, you'll need to already be an Avianca LifeMiles member before the current offer was announced. Some offers are targeted. Join now for free to avoid missing out on future offers!
Special Deals on Buying LifeMiles
With Avianca's current promotion, you'll receive up to 125% bonus LifeMiles on all purchases between 1,000 and 200,000 miles. This offer expires on 27 February 2020 (El Salvador time).
The exact bonus will depend on how many miles you buy:
- Buy 1,000 to 10,000 LifeMiles and receive a 100% bonus
- Buy 11,000 to 50,000 LifeMiles and receive a 105% bonus
- Buy 51,000 to 100,000 LifeMiles and receive a 115% bonus
- Buy 101,000 to 200,000 LifeMiles and receive a 125% bonus
If you were to purchase the maximum 200,000 LifeMiles during this promotion, you would receive 450,000 miles (including 250,000 bonus miles) at a cost of USD6,600.
This is not as good as the previous LifeMiles promotion, which took place in early December 2019, where 145% bonus miles were offered on all purchases.
Beware that LifeMiles expire after 12 months unless you earn at least 1 mile every year.
The latest deals are discussed on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Avianca "Lifemiles" - Questions and Discussion
LifeMiles is also offering up to 33% off the mileage required for redemptions on selected Star Alliance routes until 12 March 2020. However, no Australian routes are included in this promotion; most of the featured routes are within Asia, between Asia & North America or between Asia & Europe.
Redeeming Avianca LifeMiles
In theory, you can book award travel on any Star Alliance airline (plus Iberia and Aeromexico) using the LifeMiles website. In practice, it's often not quite this simple. Nonetheless, here's what you need to know…
There are no stopovers allowed on LifeMiles award bookings, and transits cannot be longer than 8 hours. But mixed-class award bookings recently did become possible.
There are no fuel surcharges on LifeMiles awards - just a USD25 ticketing fee per booking. But, for some reason, award flights originating in Australia are more expensive than LifeMiles awards to Australia.
Here are some of the Avianca LifeMiles award sweet spots:
- Business and First class from Australia to North Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Hong Kong)
- Business and First class from Australia to Europe
- Business class from Perth to Africa with South African Airways
- Economy flights within Brazil
Here is the full LifeMiles award chart. Click on the image below to expand it:
If you need to complete a booking or make any changes over the phone, you may need to provide your LifeMiles account PIN number. This is a 4-digit number that can be set by logging into the LifeMiles website and editing your account profile.
For some inspiration, there is a detailed thread on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum where members post their successful LifeMiles award bookings: Avianca Life Miles - post your SUCCESSFUL award bookings here
LifeMiles + Money
As we mentioned before, you only need to have 40% of the miles for any given redemption in your account. You can then purchase up to 60% of the miles needed at the checkout using "LifeMiles + Money". Just use the slider after selecting your flight/s when booking on the new LifeMiles website.
LifeMiles Screenshot Method
If you're unable to book an itinerary involving connections online, you may need to employ the infamous LifeMiles screenshot method. See this AFF article for more information about this: The LifeMiles Screenshot Booking Method