Avianca LifeMiles Makes Award Chart Changes Without Notice (For The Better)

Filed Under: AviancaTaca

LifeMiles is the single most active Star Alliance frequent flyer program when it comes to selling points at a discount. They seem to have a bonus on purchased or transferred miles more often than not, and that leads to some great opportunities to snag premium cabins on Star Alliance carriers at a discount.

Fly ANA first class at a huge discount using LifeMiles

Avianca joined the Star Alliance back in 2012, and for a couple of years the program was truly spectacular. Then in 2014 they made two changes, which together pretty significantly decreased the value of LifeMiles:

On the plus side, at least LifeMiles gave notice of both of the above changes, a lesson they learned after making some minor adjustments without notice less than a year after joining the Star Alliance.

Anyway, it looks like Avianca LifeMiles has again made some minor adjustments to their award change without notice… except they’re for the better.

Here’s the old Star Alliance award chart:


While here’s the updated Star Alliance award chart:


So what’s changing?

For awards between North America and Brazil:

  • Business class is going from 60,000 miles to 50,000 miles one-way
  • First class is going from 70,000 miles to 67,500 miles one-way

For awards between Brazil and Europe:

  • Economy class is going from 60,000 miles to 45,000 miles one-way
  • Business class is going from 97,500 miles to 72,500 miles one-way
  • First class is going from 129,000 miles to 105,000 miles one-way

This change decreases the cost of Lufthansa business class between Brazil and Europe

Bottom line

While I’m generally opposed to award chart changes without notice, this is one I can live with. 😉 I think LifeMiles has learned their lesson regarding making negative award chart changes without notice, so I doubt we’ll see that anytime soon.

Based on the promotions we’ve seen from LifeMiles lately, it sure seems like they’re starting to regret raising the price of miles and devaluing their award chart, given that they’ve been offering even bigger than 100% bonuses on purchased miles.

While perhaps not within the spirit of the alliance, there’s tons of money to be made by selling miles at a discount, even when people redeem them for international premium cabin seats. Here’s an example of how much Star Alliance award seat reimbursement rates are between airlines.

For LifeMiles it’s a function of finding exactly how much people are willing to pay for miles in order to maximize their profits.

  1. I don’t know if I agree with Avianca doing this. What they are doing is tying in their award inventory to seat capacity: in other words, making it as dynamic as Delta.

    Anyone paying attention to fares would know that Brazilian seat capacity has been dramatically high because of the crash of their currency, the economic recession, and people cutting back on travel.

    Can’t sell seats? Lower redemption mileage!

    Where this differs from programs like Flying Blue where they put sales on during the off-season, and even AA’s off-peak pricing, is that if Avianca continues to modify their OFFICIAL award chart without notice (changes good OR bad), I will have less confidence in their mileage program.

  2. You’ve got your calculations a bit wrong, there, Ben. You’ve highlighted the Brazil to Middle East column in the older chart and taken those redemption rates to compare with the newer chart. The correct comparison is as follows. Its still a good change though :

    For awards between Brazil and Europe:

    Economy class is going from 47,500 miles to 45,000 miles one-way
    Business class is going from 95,000 miles to 72,500 miles one-way
    First class is going from 114,000 miles to 105,000 miles one-way

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