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Avianca "Lifemiles" - Questions and Discussion

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
I know I wasn't great at maths at school, but this has got me stumped.

I'm looking at buying LM in the current 145% promo.

When I look at buying 160,000 miles for one-way awards for 2 pax (currently have 1,600 LM in my account) the fee is: US$2,244

When I look at buying 320,000 miles for return awards, the fee is: US $4,851

How is it that buying a lesser amount is less than half the full amount?

I thought the 160,000 miles are getting the 135% bonus and the 320,000 miles would be in the 145% bonus.

TYIA!
 
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MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
The reason for this I think is that you are exceeding the total number of miles you can earn under the promotion - including bonuses - in any one year (the max is 200,000).

After that, while you technically shouldn't be able to purchase them, they're selling them to you at the full whack of USD33 per 1000, no bonus.

In any event, there really is little reason to buy the full miles for an award. With the 'points plus pay' option you only need 42%* of the miles for an award and the rest you top up with cash at the time of ticketing the award.

The 'top up' miles - at 42% and the rest 'cash' - will work out to 1.5c each. Now under this deal you may be able to buy points as low as 1.345c each, but for me it's not really worth it to save th .015c per point when I'm potentially sitting on thousands of points I may not be able to use.


*technically you only need 40% of the miles to use the points plus pay, but as the additional points are sold on a sliding scale the 'sweet spot' cuts out at 42%. After that you're back to paying $33 per 1000 points instead of $15 per 1000)
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
The reason for this I think is that you are exceeding the total number of miles you can earn under the promotion - including bonuses - in any one year (the max is 200,000).

After that, while you technically shouldn't be able to purchase them, they're selling them to you at the full whack of USD33 per 1000, no bonus.

In any event, there really is little reason to buy the full miles for an award. With the 'points plus pay' option you only need 42%* of the miles for an award and the rest you top up with cash at the time of ticketing the award.

The 'top up' miles - at 42% and the rest 'cash' - will work out to 1.5c each. Now under this deal you may be able to buy points as low as 1.345c each, but for me it's not really worth it to save th .015c per point when I'm potentially sitting on thousands of points I may not be able to use.


*technically you only need 40% of the miles to use the points plus pay, but as the additional points are sold on a sliding scale the 'sweet spot' cuts out at 42%. After that you're back to paying $33 per 1000 points instead of $15 per 1000)
<<<penny drops>>>

Oh that makes sense. Thanks!
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
The reason for this I think is that you are exceeding the total number of miles you can earn under the promotion - including bonuses - in any one year (the max is 200,000).

After that, while you technically shouldn't be able to purchase them, they're selling them to you at the full whack of USD33 per 1000, no bonus.

In any event, there really is little reason to buy the full miles for an award. With the 'points plus pay' option you only need 42%* of the miles for an award and the rest you top up with cash at the time of ticketing the award.

The 'top up' miles - at 42% and the rest 'cash' - will work out to 1.5c each. Now under this deal you may be able to buy points as low as 1.345c each, but for me it's not really worth it to save th .015c per point when I'm potentially sitting on thousands of points I may not be able to use.


*technically you only need 40% of the miles to use the points plus pay, but as the additional points are sold on a sliding scale the 'sweet spot' cuts out at 42%. After that you're back to paying $33 per 1000 points instead of $15 per 1000)
So to clarify, I only buy 42% of the 160,000 points I need (67,200) and then use points+pay for the remainder of the transaction?
 

MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
So to clarify, I only buy 42% of the 160,000 points I need (67,200) and then use points+pay for the remainder of the transaction?
yeah - it's about 42%.

Go in and make a dummy booking then use the points + pay slider. You'll see the cash component starts off quite high (more than $33 per 1000) but as you progress, the cost per each additional 1000 points decreases. Somewhere in around the middle of the slider, the cost per 1000 points is actually in the negative. It then goes back to being a steady $15 per 1000. This goes right the way until about 42 (maybe 43%) of the miles. You'll see a huge jump in the cost at a certain point, and that's how you know you've hit the 'sweet spot'.

The downside is that your total cost for the whole award works out at 1.5c per mile. On a 160K award this will cost you USD2400.

Buying the miles at 145% bonus works out to 1.345c per mile IIRC. The total for your award would be USD2152.

Whether or not the extra cost is worth it is up to you and your circumstances. I usually buy awards in the 40-99k zone, so the difference between 1.5c and 1.345c is negligible, and worth the peace of mind that I'm not sitting on a satck of miles.

YMMV :)
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
yeah - it's about 42%.

Go in and make a dummy booking then use the points + pay slider. You'll see the cash component starts off quite high (more than $33 per 1000) but as you progress, the cost per each additional 1000 points decreases. Somewhere in around the middle of the slider, the cost per 1000 points is actually in the negative. It then goes back to being a steady $15 per 1000. This goes right the way until about 42 (maybe 43%) of the miles. You'll see a huge jump in the cost at a certain point, and that's how you know you've hit the 'sweet spot'.

The downside is that your total cost for the whole award works out at 1.5c per mile. On a 160K award this will cost you USD2400.

Buying the miles at 145% bonus works out to 1.345c per mile IIRC. The total for your award would be USD2152.

Whether or not the extra cost is worth it is up to you and your circumstances. I usually buy awards in the 40-99k zone, so the difference between 1.5c and 1.345c is negligible, and worth the peace of mind that I'm not sitting on a satck of miles.

YMMV :)
It's weird - I don't seem to be able to use the points + pay slider on any dummy bookings. I've tried different destinations and configurations. It's greyed out and won't respond to clicks (see image).

I wonder if it's because I don't have the minimum 40% in points already? I only have 1,600 points in my account.

LM slider.jpg
 
Last edited:

MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
You have to select the flight first, but maybe you can't if you dont have enough miles.

Anyway - for your particular route, the 'sweet spot' is 44%.

breakdown as follows:

46K + $510
45K + $525
44K + $540
then
increments of 1K + $15
until
37K + $645
36K + $660
35K + $675
34K + $703
33K + $738
32K + $778


The miles + pay in bold are all past the sweet spot. Anything before 46K and you've missed the sweet spot in the other direction. Plus taxes (actual, no fuel) and the $25 booking fee. But those would apply regardless.
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
You have to select the flight first, but maybe you can't if you dont have enough miles.

Anyway - for your particular route, the 'sweet spot' is 44%.

breakdown as follows:

46K + $510
45K + $525
44K + $540
then
increments of 1K + $15
until
37K + $645
36K + $660
35K + $675
34K + $703
33K + $738
32K + $778


The miles + pay in bold are all past the sweet spot. Anything before 46K and you've missed the sweet spot in the other direction. Plus taxes (actual, no fuel) and the $25 booking fee. But those would apply regardless.
Thanks so much for those figures.

I assume those miles are based on one 80,000 award. LMK if I'm wrong.

Really appreciate it as I can't access the slider. I suspect it's because of my lack of miles in my account.
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
For anyone thinking of buying LM, the LM website is not allowing the purchase of miles at the moment.

I spoke to CS earlier this morning and they confirmed it's not working and are trying to resolve it. They told me to try in a couple of hours, but it's still not working.

I'll try again tomorrow and hope it's resolved.
 

MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
Thanks so much for those figures.

I assume those miles are based on one 80,000 award. LMK if I'm wrong.

Really appreciate it as I can't access the slider. I suspect it's because of my lack of miles in my account.

Confirmed, theose were for one award.
 

paragjain

Newbie
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
6
Hi Everyone - I'm new here & also to Lifemiles.. I'm unable to go to the "FLY" section of the website - its erroring out. Have e-mailed them & called but noone picks the call. I called Bogota - whats the best Customer line number to call?

Is anyone else experiencing this issue? Is there any workaround way to get to redemption section?

Also, i tried via App - but I can't seem to change language to english - whats the way to change default language?

Thanks in advance!
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
Hi Everyone - I'm new here & also to Lifemiles.. I'm unable to go to the "FLY" section of the website - its erroring out. Have e-mailed them & called but noone picks the call. I called Bogota - whats the best Customer line number to call?

Is anyone else experiencing this issue? Is there any workaround way to get to redemption section?

Also, i tried via App - but I can't seem to change language to english - whats the way to change default language?

Thanks in advance!
Welcome to AFF!

If you're new to LM, you might want to start with other programs first. As someone mentioned recently, it's not for the faint of heart. The time and stress you experience trying to buy miles and/or make bookings can be enormous.

The website is an absolute nightmare and broken in so many ways. And customer support can be hit and miss.

I have been trying to buy miles with the current 145% promo for the last 2 days but the website was showing constant error messages and not completing the payment. I succeeded today on the phone. But then the CS person clearly didn't want to help me with booking the award, even though the error messages were happening on the phone as I was speaking to her.

Now I can't book the redemption I want as the website is not working again. So I'm trying to call back or I might email support: support@lifemiles.com It's never ending problems! :(

The number I've called a couple of times over the last few days is +1 800 284 2622.

Good luck!
 

paragjain

Newbie
Joined
Jul 22, 2019
Messages
6
Welcome to AFF!

If you're new to LM, you might want to start with other programs first. As someone mentioned recently, it's not for the faint of heart. The time and stress you experience trying to buy miles and/or make bookings can be enormous.

The website is an absolute nightmare and broken in so many ways. And customer support can be hit and miss.

I have been trying to buy miles with the current 145% promo for the last 2 days but the website was showing constant error messages and not completing the payment. I succeeded today on the phone. But then the CS person clearly didn't want to help me with booking the award, even though the error messages were happening on the phone as I was speaking to her.

Now I can't book the redemption I want as the website is not working again. So I'm trying to call back or I might email support: support@lifemiles.com It's never ending problems! :(

The number I've called a couple of times over the last few days is +1 800 284 2622.

Good luck!
Thanks golderhorn! Appreciate your input.

Is it possible for you to indicate from your experience, which program could be best? I mostly travel between MEL - SE Asia (BKK/SIN), preferanly on Star Alliance operators..
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
Thanks golderhorn! Appreciate your input.

Is it possible for you to indicate from your experience, which program could be best? I mostly travel between MEL - SE Asia (BKK/SIN), preferanly on Star Alliance operators..
What about United? Their award search engine is fairly easy to use.

They have a 40% sale on points on at the moment until this Friday:

But you would have to have a United account, which is free.

Other members have much more experience than me though so ask others as well. :)
 

MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
Unfortunately United is very expensive to buy miles, compared with Lifemiles.

Under this 40% off promo, the 80K UA miles required for a one-way AU-USA redemption in business class will set you back USD1806 (includeing tax recovery fee of USA126). This compares to Lifemiles - who also charge 80K - of USD1076. A massive USD800 each way.

If the Op is looking for a star alliance program to join, Singapore Airlines might be an option. This also has a credit card earn possibility through partners.
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
Unfortunately United is very expensive to buy miles, compared with Lifemiles.

Under this 40% off promo, the 80K UA miles required for a one-way AU-USA redemption in business class will set you back USD1806 (includeing tax recovery fee of USA126). This compares to Lifemiles - who also charge 80K - of USD1076. A massive USD800 each way.

If the Op is looking for a star alliance program to join, Singapore Airlines might be an option. This also has a credit card earn possibility through partners.
Yeah, I compared the AC fare SYD-YVR I’m trying to book on LM at the moment compared to the United 40% off sale that’s on this week.

About an additional USD$1000+ for the same flight on United even with the sale compared to LM.

But that said, I’ve spent many hours today on the phone to LM trying to buy the points. Finally got that sorted.

Then a few more hours this afternoon trying different options on the website, and calling support again with no luck.

So I’ve sent an email to support with my flights, dates, passport photos etc.

Guess I just cross my fingers and hope someone responds in the next week and the award seats don’t disappear in the meantime. So frustrating!
 

MEL_Traveller

AFF Supporter
Joined
Apr 27, 2005
Messages
18,912
And it will potentially get even more expensive on UA when they move to full dynamic pricing :(

What was the problem trying to book the flights with LM?
 

goldenhorn

Member
Joined
Apr 11, 2011
Messages
392
And it will potentially get even more expensive on UA when they move to full dynamic pricing :(

What was the problem trying to book the flights with LM?
I get to the points + pay section of booking the flight, click ‘continue’ and then get an error page. Can’t proceed past that step.

Have tried different browsers, clearing cache, choosing AC instead of Smart Search. Nothing worked.LM error.jpg
 
Last edited:

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