Lifemiles+ Subscription: Bonus Miles, Award Discounts, Waived Fees

Lifemiles+ Subscription: Bonus Miles, Award Discounts, Waived Fees

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We’ve just seen the launch of new avianca lifemiles credit cards in the United States, issued in partnership with Cardless. To go along with that, a new paid lifemiles+ subscription has just been introduced, and it’s potentially a great deal.

Details of the lifemiles+ subscription service

The avianca lifemiles program has launched a new lifemiles+ subscription service, replacing the former club lifemiles program. This can be useful even if you’re not a frequent avianca flyer. The lifemiles program is extremely valuable for Star Alliance redemptions, so this offers useful perks even if you just want to use lifemiles to redeem on partners.

The lifemiles+ subscription has four pricing tiers, offering a bundle of benefits. Before we look at the benefits of each tier, let me mention a few points:

  • When you sign-up for a subscription, you pay monthly, it’s valid for 12 months, and it auto-renews; however, you can cancel at any time, after the initial six months
  • Those with the $249 annual fee avianca lifemiles American Express Elite Card receive a complimentary lifemiles+ lite subscription for as long as they’re a cardmember, or alternatively, can receive a $20 monthly discount on any of the other bundles

Below is a chart showing the four tiers of subscriptions, and then I’ll cover the most significant perks of each tier, as I view it.

lifemiles+ subscription bundles
lifemiles+ subscription benefits

lifemiles+ lite subscription

A lifemiles+ lite subscription costs $20 per month (or is free if you have the premium lifemiles credit card), and offers the following perks:

  • 500 bonus lifemiles each month
  • 10% of miles back on Star Alliance redemptions; the 10% refund will post within 15 days of a redemption
  • Up to a 25% discount on avianca redemptions; this discount will immediately show when making an award booking
  • Double miles on purchases on a lifemiles credit card, up to 1,000 bonus miles per month

lifemiles+ basic subscription

A lifemiles+ basic subscription costs $50 per month (or $30 per month if you have the premium lifemiles credit card), and offers the following perks:

  • 2,000 bonus lifemiles each month
  • 10% of miles back on Star Alliance redemptions; the 10% refund will post within 15 days of a redemption
  • Up to a 25% discount on avianca redemptions; this discount will immediately show when making an award booking
  • Double miles on purchases on a lifemiles credit card, up to 2,000 bonus miles per month
  • No change or cancelation fees on lifemiles award tickets
Save 10% on Star Alliance award redemptions

lifemiles+ pro subscription

A lifemiles+ pro subscription costs $100 per month (or $80 per month if you have the premium lifemiles credit card), and offers the following perks:

  • 4,500 bonus lifemiles each month
  • 10% of miles back on Star Alliance redemptions; the 10% refund will post within 15 days of a redemption
  • Up to a 25% discount on avianca redemptions; this discount will immediately show when making an award booking
  • Double miles on purchases on a lifemiles credit card, up to 4,500 bonus miles per month
  • No change or cancelation fees on lifemiles award tickets

lifemiles+ max subscription

A lifemiles+ max subscription costs $200 per month (or $180 per month if you have the premium lifemiles credit card), and offers the following perks:

  • 10,000 bonus lifemiles each month
  • 10% of miles back on Star Alliance redemptions; the 10% refund will post within 15 days of a redemption
  • Up to a 25% discount on avianca redemptions; this discount will immediately show when making an award booking
  • Double miles on purchases on a lifemiles credit card, up to 10,000 bonus miles per month
  • No change or cancelation fees on lifemiles award tickets
Receive fee waived on lifemiles awards

I’m impressed by the value of lifemiles+ subscriptions

The new lifemiles+ subscription is incredibly well thought out, and if you like to redeem miles for premium cabin redemptions on Star Alliance carriers, you should seriously consider this. The way I view it, there are three key perks, which I’ll focus on:

  • A certain number of monthly bonus miles (500-10,000)
  • An unlimited 10% discount on Star Alliance awards
  • Waived change and cancelation fees on lifemiles awards (except the lite tier), when that would normally cost $150-200 per ticket

Let’s do some number crunching. Let me note that I value lifemiles at around 1.4 cents each, and the program frequently has offers letting you buy miles around that cost, if not a bit cheaper.

The lifemiles+ basic subscription is the lowest tier that offers waived change and cancelation fees, which I consider to be really valuable, so let’s do the math on that. You’d pay $30-50 per month, and would receive 2,000 monthly bonus miles, a 10% rebate on Star Alliance awards, and waived fees. In other words:

  • I value the 2,000 monthly miles at ~$28, so you’re paying ~$2-22 per month (by my valuation) for a 10% rebate on awards, and waived change and cancelation fees
  • Let’s say you redeem 200,000 miles per year through the program for travel on partner airlines; you’d get 20,000 miles refunded, which I value at $280, meaning you come out way ahead
  • That math doesn’t even factor in the waived fees, which can get you even more value

So, is it worth springing for one of the premium memberships? Looking at the lifemiles+ max tier, you’d pay an extra $150 per month, and the main perk you’d get is an incremental 8,000 bonus miles. That’s like buying lifemiles for just under two cents each — the program often sells miles for considerably less than that, so personally I think the sweet spot is the basic tier.

The one exception is if you plan on spending money on a lifemiles credit card, in which case the higher cap on earning double miles would add up.

I plan to sign-up for a lifemiles+ subscription. I’m just going to take some time to first think about if I plan to pick up the credit card first, to score the rebate.

The value proposition of lifemiles+ checks out

Bottom line

A new lifemiles+ subscription has been launched, and it represents a solid value. For a monthly fee, you can receive a certain number of bonus miles, a 10% rebate on Star Alliance redemptions, and waived award change and redeposit fees. This is a valuable new service for those of us who frequently make Star Alliance redemptions through lifemiles.

What do you make of the lifemiles+ subscription?

Conversations (32)
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  1. Charles Guest

    Another data point… the Lifemiles team says they got a memo saying that only tickets issued after May 20th, 2024 are eligible for a fee free refund. I talked to two separate agents. When I read the wording off the website: “To be eligible for this benefit, you must be subscribed to one of the Lifemiles + plans at the time of the cancellation or change. Members with a Lite plan are not eligible.” they...

    Another data point… the Lifemiles team says they got a memo saying that only tickets issued after May 20th, 2024 are eligible for a fee free refund. I talked to two separate agents. When I read the wording off the website: “To be eligible for this benefit, you must be subscribed to one of the Lifemiles + plans at the time of the cancellation or change. Members with a Lite plan are not eligible.” they told me I could create a ticket via the help center/black hole. Not optimistic.

  2. Jason Guest

    I signed up the basic plan after reading this article and called in to cancel one of the ticket I made couple months back. The agent told me that their system cannot cancel for free at this time and created a ticket for me. After 72 hours, this is still unresolved. Lifemiles team is so unreliable.

  3. JZ Guest

    I signed up the basic plan after reading this article and called in to cancel one of the ticket I made couple months back. The agent told me that their system cannot cancel for free at this time and created a ticket for me. After 72 hours, this is still unresolved. Lifemiles team is so unreliable.

  4. Sonny Guest

    Hi, Are you sure "Waived change and cancelation fees on lifemiles awards (except the lite tier), when that would normally cost $150-200 per ticket" this not ONLY for Avianca award tickets?
    By the way there's a minimum period you keep the suscription activated?

  5. Brodie Gold

    I signed up 3 days ago and called today to cancel a flight. They first tried to charge me a cancellation fee, and after I told the agent I was a Lifemiles + basic customer she shared that the system is not set up to handle the refund without the fee. She advised me to call back tomorrow. Here we go with the usual fckery of Lifemiles! ugh

  6. Matty Guest

    Do the monthly miles contribute towards obtaining Avianca status?

  7. Meredith s Guest

    For those who have the existing club lifemiles subscription: should we consider changing to this one?

  8. Eric Guest

    Has Lifemiles implemented an ability to make changes/cancellations online without dealing with call center?

  9. glenn t Diamond

    The waived fees component makes a basic subsciption compelling. Those usurious fees have been the thing that stopped me from making any booking other than a close-in one where changes or cancellation is less likely.
    The monthly earned miles are of minor value given the regular bonus sales.
    I am assuming this monthly activity would keep the expiry date rolling forward 12+1 months too.

  10. Dt123 Diamond

    Great job! 3 Avianca posts in 24 hours. This is EXACTLY how you get them to devalue their award miles.

    1. Bob Guest

      There is a new credit card to push!
      Its like blogger xmas!

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Bob -- I don't get a commission on anything related to lifemiles, whether it's buying miles or the new credit cards. I'm just trying to cover what I'd consider to be an interesting development. :-)

  11. Mick Guest

    I’ll be signing up. With mileage plus flying off the handle a big problem with lifemiles as an alternative is the change fees. I like to book placeholders then book better flights right up until my departure date. This solves ONE of the problems with lifemiles.

  12. NIck Guest

    If I get a basic subscription would I be able to cancel an itinerary booked prior to being a subscriber without fee?

    1. Andrew Guest

      This is the real question.

    2. Brodie Gold

      Nick,
      According to their website the only requirement is you are a member at time of cancellation or change. I just signed up for the basic plan and will update when I cancel an award flight.

    3. Brodie Gold

      I signed up 3 days ago and called today to cancel a flight. They first tried to charge me a cancellation fee, and after I told the agent I was a Lifemiles + basic customer she shared that the system is not set up to handle the refund without the fee. She advised me to call back tomorrow. Here we go with the usual fckery of Lifemiles! ugh

    4. Sonny Guest

      Any update about this @brodie?

  13. uldguy Diamond

    Does anyone see this as a desperate attempt by lifemiles to raise money with no risk on their side? If it was AA, DL, AF/KL or BA I wouldn’t necessarily think this way, perhaps because I don’t really see them doing such a thing.

    1. NicktheGreek Guest

      BA offer a subscription model for Avios, and also let you multiply your organically earned avios by 1-3× for a fee, so I'd say Avianca is just jumping on the bandwagon....

    2. DenB Diamond

      Selling airline tickets is "desperate attempt... to raise money with no risk on their side". This is a subscription scheme offer from an airline. LifeMiles has been "on the verge", according to naysayers, for a decade now. Meanwhile some of us are booking trips with LifeMiles, for half what people pay in other programs.

  14. Davisson Guest

    Put the two hundred dollars a month in to a index fund. 1000% better investment

  15. NateNate Guest

    Is your caps lock broken?

    1. Timtamtrak Diamond

      Is who’s broken? If you’re referring to lifemiles, it’s a branding choice on their part that the L at the beginning of the word is lowercase. Why? Who knows, but might be a clue that avianca is also spelled only with lowercase letters.

    2. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ NateNate -- See here:
      https://onemileatatime.com/news/avianca-rebranding-lowercase/

    3. NateNate Guest

      Yes but the name of the airline is still Avianca. If you search for Avianca in the NYTimes, they still capitalize it.

      Unless this is a paid post / marketing post, I think you should capitalize it.

  16. Calidude Guest

    We assume that Avianca’s tech department will be able to program and keep track of all these bonuses and benefits. They can barely manage a website and their call center is bad on a good day and makes me weep on other days.

  17. CF Frost Guest

    Airlines are a terrible place to invest currency. It seems like madness to buy a subscription

    1. Mick Guest

      I disagree. Ben sets out the “investment” variables pretty well. Spend $200 or so over a year. Get x y x return. I’d factor in a benefit of $200 conservatively from being able to change tickets at will.

      If you spend x and get x + y in return isn’t that a decent decision?

  18. Brodie Guest

    Curious if the waived fees are applied to bookings made prior to the subscription?

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Brodie Gold

Nick, According to their website the only requirement is you are a member at time of cancellation or change. I just signed up for the basic plan and will update when I cancel an award flight.

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Ben Schlappig OMAAT

@ NateNate -- See here: https://onemileatatime.com/news/avianca-rebranding-lowercase/

1
Davisson Guest

Put the two hundred dollars a month in to a index fund. 1000% better investment

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