Avianca LifeMiles Award Chart Changes

Filed Under: AviancaTaca, Awards

Yesterday Avianca’s LifeMiles program sent out an email to members announcing program changes as of October 15, 2014. Here’s what the email said:

To maintain a reasonable relation between the miles we charge for redemptions and the commercial fares available in the market, adjustments are necessary at times.

In this occasion, we are announcing changes to our redemption fares for flights with Avianca and Star Alliance member airlines. With these changes, some destinations will require more miles and others will reduce the amount of miles required. Some routes will not have variations.

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.

First of all, kudos to Avianca LifeMiles for announcing these changes in advance. Last year they made several award chart changes without notice, and I think we did a good job calling them out on it. And it’s clear our loud feedback did have an impact, since they’re giving several months notice this time around (which I can guarantee they wouldn’t have done otherwise). So kudos to us collectively for that, I think.

Now back to these changes. On the plus side, LifeMiles now seems to “get” that you have to announce changes in advance, though I don’t quite think they got the memo on how that’s supposed to work.

They published a webpage outlining the changes… sort of.

They publish the number of miles needed in select markets for travel in economy on Avianca (which I can assure you isn’t how I like to redeem my LifeMiles). 😉


And the chart is fun, as you’d expect from an airline as geographically challenged as Avianca. They publish separate rates for travel out of Miami and Florida… really?!

But I think what most of us care about are LifeMiles changes to their Star Alliance award chart. About that they simply publish:

As for changes in air ticket redemption with Star Alliance member airlines, these include increases up to 13.000 miles in Economy Class and up to 26.000 miles in Business Class. Both cases apply for roundtrip flights from North America.

For roundtrip flights from Mexico, there will be reductions up to 15.000 miles and increases up to 14.000 miles in Economy Class, also reductions up to 20.000 miles and increases up to 28.000 miles in Business class.

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.

Economy redemptions will go up at most 14,000 miles in economy, 28,000 miles in business class, and an undisclosed number of miles in first class — at least those are roundtrip. And it’s funny because they stress how they’re being transparent — “to be sure our members have the opportunity to understand all changes before these take place…” — yet they don’t publish the changes!

Then the terms and conditions on that page say the following:

The table shown above is illustrative only; its intention is to summarize the amount of miles that will be required per region for the X class in economy cabin. The amount of miles required for a ticket redemption is calculated based on a specific origin and destination and could not match with the amount of miles shown on the table above, it could be higher

It seems like the chart may be distance based in some form, as opposed to region based. Or at least they have very, very specific regions.

Bottom line on LifeMiles changes

I think the lesson to be learned here is that you should redeem all your miles before October 15, 2014. And don’t get me wrong, I appreciate that, because it’s more details than we’ve had to work with in the past!

In the meantime, for tips on redeeming Avianca LifeMiles, check out my primer post.

How bad do you think the LifeMiles changes will be?

  1. LifeMiles is a joke. I’ve spent nearly 2 years trying to convince them that the airport of Lilongwe, Malawi (LLW) actually exists and that multiple Star Alliance partners fly there. Their responses seem to be sent by a random word generating machine – things like “It is a pleasure to greet you. I would like to apologize, therefore if you let us to know to verify your comprehension.” This kind of half-arsed incomprehensible information from them is par for the course.

  2. And it looks like Lufthansa 1st class is no longer bookable with Lifemiles – that’s the real devaluation for me.

  3. I’m trying to understand….are changes going to be announced on October 15th and then take effect immediately?

    So until October 14th (and for the following 11 months) we can book under the current chart?

  4. @ Seth — My reading is that they take effect for bookings made starting October 15, so you can book until October 14 at the old rates, even for travel on subsequent dates.

  5. Lucky,

    Wrt “They publish separate rates for travel out of Miami and Florida… really?!”

    This makes complete sense for Avianca Lifemiles because Avianca is the main Colombian airline. Lifemiles is targeting the large population of Colombians in Florida, specially Miami. On United it costs 40K miles to get to Colombia from North America, including Florida. With Lifemiles, you need less. So it doesn’t surprise me that they have these special rates. Heck, even to Bogota.

  6. @ Juan — To clarify, my surprise isn’t with the fact that they publish a separate award chart out of Florida, but rather with the fact that they publish a chart out of both Florida AND Miami, since Miami is in Florida.

  7. not just for this change but as a group, the travel industry follows our losers in washton pretty well, using ambiguous language or flat out lying in your face.

  8. Not to mention Orlando as well. What’s really puzzling is why traveling from Miami is actually *more* expensive than from Florida.

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