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 3-4 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 Avianca LifeMiles website. 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.
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
Avianca’s most recent promotion on buying LifeMiles sees up to 125% bonus miles available. This offer may be targeted to specific members and expires on 18 September 2018. Here’s the latest offer:
- Buy up to 50,000 LifeMiles and receive 105% bonus miles
- Buy 51,000 to 100,000 LifeMiles and receive 120% bonus miles
- Buy 101,000 to 200,000 LifeMiles and receive 130% bonus miles
If you were to purchase 101,000 LifeMiles during this promotion, you would receive 232,300 miles at a cost of USD3,333 (~$4,466).
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
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
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 on the right of the screen when searching for award flights on the LifeMiles website:
The LifeMiles “Screenshot Method”
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find and book the flights you want using the LifeMiles website. Simply search for the route you’re after, selecting either a specific airline or “Smart Search”.
But sometimes the flights you want don’t appear. In most cases this is due to a lack of award availability. But if you believe there is award availability and it’s simply a problem with the LifeMiles website, you can employ the infamous LifeMiles “screenshot” booking method. This is sometimes needed for award bookings with multiple flight sectors.
To use the “screenshot method”, send an email to email@example.com and include all of the following information:
- Your LifeMiles membership number
- Details of the flight/s you wish to book
- Your phone number (including country code)
- Colour scanned copy of all passengers’ passports
- Screenshots showing no award availability on the LifeMiles website. (If you are travelling A-B-C, and availability is showing for A-B and B-C, include those screenshots as well.)
Within a few days of sending your email, you should receive a response by email advising whether or not the requested flights can be booked. If approved, you can then call LifeMiles to pay for the booking and have it ticketed.
There is plenty of discussion about the LifeMiles screenshot method on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Lifemiles screenshot method