Concern about possible devaluation of points

Avianca’s life miles program has in recent years been a popular one for our members. Despite being based in Columbia, it has offered some unique opportunities to buy points and travel cheaply at the front of the aircraft, thanks to its membership in the Star Alliance. With a generous 100% bonuses for buying miles every second month, return business class flights to Asia from Australia were possible for under $1,400 with little waiting or planning. But it’s not all good; the program does have some downsides.

For a start, the airline does have a history of making changes overnight that can devalue their program. As a result some tread lightly when it comes to stockpiling miles. It also seems they like to treat the locals differently to their overseas members when it comes to changes in the program. This became evident in recent times when one member received an email addressed to an account with a Columbian residential address.

I got an email from Lifemiles today (in Spanish so wont post it) but it basically says that from mid October they are going to reassess redemptions to ¨maintain a logical relationship between the points they charge for redemptions and the commercial fares available in the market place¨! It almost sounds like Qantas where they claim ¨some will go up, and some will go down¨. Have just hesitated to buy a swag more points in the latest transfer 2×1 offer.

Complicating the picture at the time was the bimonthly bonus offer for transferring miles. With news of an impending price increase for miles purchases, this could be the last chance to buy miles so cheaply. On the other hand, not buying on speculation and using the points already banked was clearly the advice of a few members

Haven’t received the email yet but doesn’t sound too good. Anyone with large balances should book travel before October and NOT buy speculatively!

With the email content pointing to flights with just Avianca and its local partners, some hope was held that there would be no change to Star Alliance redemptions. That hope was dashed last weekend, when another email was received, this time by a far wider audience.

In this occasion, we are announcing changes to our redemption fares for flights with Avianca and Star Alliance member airlines…To be sure that our members have the opportunity to understand all changes before these take place, all modifications will be effective from October 15th, 2014.

While the changes do include price rises, there are also decreases as well. And for those affected by the rises, almost three months notice has been given to make a booking, which is a generous move by comparison to the airlines previous changes. How has this affected your plans? Will you be taking advantage of the notice period to use your points, or are the more attractive Business Class redemptions to Asia now firmly in your sights, join the conversation about the changes HERE.

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