LifeMiles Is Adjusting Their Mileage Expiration Policy

Filed Under: AviancaTaca

Avianca’s LifeMiles program is one of the most useful programs for premium cabin Star Alliance redemptions. They often sell miles at a discount, so buying miles from them is a great way to book discounted first & business class tickets on some Star Alliance carriers.

The program has just announced an adjustment to their mileage expiration policy, which is worth being aware of. As if April 15, 2018, Avianca LifeMiles is modifying their mileage expiration policy:

  • Currently miles expire after 24 months of inactivity, and any sort of mileage activity (including earning or redeeming miles) extends the expiration date of your miles
  • Under the new policy, miles will expire after 12 months of activity, and only earning miles will extend the expiration date of your miles (meaning that redeeming miles will no longer reset the expiration date of your miles)

Miles earned prior to April 15, 2018, will continue to have the old expiration policy, while miles earned as of that date will be subjected to the new rules. Those who have a LifeMiles credit card or elite status in the LifeMiles program will continue to have their miles valid for up to 24 months, though still only mileage earning activity resets the expiration of the miles.

This is of course a negative change, though ultimately a very minor one. It’s unfortunate that they’re both cutting the validity in half while also reducing the activity that qualifies towards resetting the account.

The good news is that it still shouldn’t be too tough to reset the expiration of miles. LifeMiles sells miles inexpensively and is also transfer partners with Citi ThankYou, so it’s not going to cost you a ton to keep the miles active. On top of that, LifeMiles has more partners than ever before, so getting qualifying activity isn’t tough. The bigger issue is just staying on top of things, though mileage management services like AwardWallet help with that.

(Tip of the hat to View from the Wing)

  1. This will definitely keep me away from collecting lifemiles. Having miles expire after only 12 months is horrible and then only adding miles extends it? This is very consumer unfriendly.
    DL miles don’t expire (although they aren’t worth much).
    AA miles are valid 18 months while redeeming miles will extend your miles.
    Southwest only counts adding miles to reset the clock, at least they give you 2 years.

  2. Any updates on how long it takes for a Citi TY points transfer? When they were announced as a transfer partner, reports were that it was taking a few days.

  3. I read the T&C on the new rules. It’s unclear to me whether buying miles to prolong the expiration date is considered something that will cut it. It seems that flying on Avianca and/or having their credit car will be valid activity.

  4. with a strong promoter for Life miles , didnt you get any tip that they would screw their members like this?

  5. I used to love Lifemiles but nowadays there are worthless! They rarely have availability, when they do they send you on a very long an complicated route, plus they amount of miles necessary is totally out of proportion. It´s a shame, since I usted to take great advantage of this program, but it seems like Avianca and Lifemiles are both going downhill.

  6. I too would question whether buying resets the clock, as buying is not “earning.”

    If that is the case, then it is not such a minor change as portrayed above.

  7. From LM’s info:
    “Accrual of miles means any transaction that increases the balance of the accrued miles in the member´s account………. the following accrual activities do not extend the validity of the miles in the member´s account: 1) the birthday bonus or any other miles bonus that may be given by the LifeMiles Program and LifeMiles LTD so establishes.; 2) the migration of points or miles from other loyalty programs to the LifeMiles Program made as a consequence of the union of both loyalty programs or the migration of one member from another loyalty program to the LifeMiles Program; and 3) the merger of accounts of the LifeMiles Program, including those derived from a member´s duplicate accounts.”

    Based on this, I would say buying LM will extend the validity.

    ” In the case of the transfer of miles from a member´s account to another, the activity in the account of the transferring member will extend the validity of the miles that are kept in its account for twelve (12) months or twenty-four (24) months if it has an Elite Status, from the date of the transaction.”

    Transferring from another account also counts. So it’s possible to simply create an account for your wife/dad and transfer back and forth 1000 for a fee if $30. Do it during the 100% transfer bonus and you get extra 2000 miles.

  8. They are also charging $0.033 per mile when you need more(less than 60% of what you need) for award ticket.

  9. Can’t you do not to charity like 1 mile and reset expiration. You certainly could as I used it like 1.5 years ago.

  10. I’m not 100% convinced buying or transferring will count as earning. We shall see. Might have to credit a partner flight once a year.

    I guess I’ll transfer 1000 miles from Citi in early April to extend the validity of all existing miles till April 2020.

  11. The terms exclude “any other miles bonus that may be given by the LifeMiles Program” from extending validity. It’s not clear to me that miles purchases are excluded from “any other miles bonus”….

  12. Wow, I knew you were probably making quite some cash with selling their promotions. However, I had not assumed it would be either that much nor so easy to buy your opinion.
    This is definitely a major downturn and a huge disadvantage – yet compared to other programs you write about it even feels greedy how apologetic you are for them.
    While I fully understand that this is mainly business for you, there is a fine line of trust in objectivity that your readers place into you which one shouldn’t cross. This smells like pure promo à la tpg. What a pity.

  13. It’s a big deal (not a “very minor one”), and it’s a negative deal. I know bloggers have been enraptured with this program, but I can almost never find seats, even when they are available for specific flights when I search on United and Aeroplan. I agree with Ben1982 – credibility matters, and I don’t see much here.

  14. @Lucky and fellow readers: please keep the rest of us posted on your success in extending your expiration date with mileage purchase. Also, if anybody comes up with other creative ways to extend the validity of their LM balances, that would be appreciated as well. If I come up with or hear anything, I will send it in.

    Also, anybody complaining that “they’ve been had” by purchasing LifeMiles: we all have access to the T&C’s and we all know there’s a risk the rules will change mid-stream. I have a hefty lot of miles here that I don’t regret purchasing. Now I just have to play by the (new) rules to keep them until I use them. BTW: I have found that last-minute redemptions are fairly easy to come by – basically fire sale premium seats for Avianca and its *A partners.

  15. It’s on thing for OMAAT to splash this story, but there is no journalistic follow-up for the readers, like whether additional purchases of miles re-sets the expiry clock. Is there a new article in the making on how best to manage this new unwelcome development?

  16. Can anyone with experience please confirm if transfers (Amex, etc.) do in fact extend validity? My miles expire in April. Thanks

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