LifeMiles’ New Website Has Better Award Availability

Filed Under: AviancaTaca

The LifeMiles website has been down for the past several days, as LifeMiles announced that they were upgrading their systems. During this period, members weren’t able to redeem miles or perform any other account functions.

As I noted at the time, I was curious to see if they actually made substantial changes, or if they were simply cosmetic.

Well, the new LifeMiles website is now life, so I figured I’d share my initial thoughts, and I’m also curious to hear what you guys think. First of all, here’s a video LifeMiles put together showing their new user experience:

The new website is very… 2019. Everything is big, so there’s lots of scrolling and clicking required to do everything. Personally I don’t really get the trend of making desktop sites look more like mobile sites, but I guess to each their own.

For example, now when you search award flights you first enter the route, class of service, and number of passengers.

Then only on the next page do you enter the date, and this requires using a calendar that’s way too big, in my opinion.

After you select your flight, you’ll immediately be given the option of whether you want to reduce the mileage required by paying more cash.

What I was most curious about is if we’d see some actual improvements to availability. Historically LifeMiles hasn’t had access to some of the same Star Alliance award space as other programs. There was a lot of overlap, but not full overlap.

For example, historically LifeMiles hasn’t had access to South African Airways and SAS award seats, so I’m really excited that this seems to be fixed. I was able to pull up availability for my first choice of flights on both airlines.

I of course can’t guarantee that availability exactly matches what every other program has, but all the searches I’ve done return the same availability as other programs, which is fantastic news.

As a reminder, LifeMiles frequently sells miles directly at a discount, and is also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou, making it easy to build up a mileage balance with them.

Bottom line

LifeMiles is a program that I find to be extremely valuable for Star Alliance redemptions, and that I use all the time. It’s great for one-way awards, and I also love their lack of carrier imposed surcharges.

Personally I can’t say that I prefer the new LifeMiles website in terms of the look, though I do love that it seems to offer better award availability than before, which is great news.

Of course this site just went live, so please report back with your experiences in terms of ease of use, award availability, etc.

What do you make of the new LifeMiles website?

Comments
  1. This is very reminiscent of the Singapore Airlines website revamp 8 years ago (roughly): style over substance where they replaced a not-so-wowable site that was easy to navigate and functional with a clunky site that looked visually appealing but was such a chore to navigate and do bookings on (and buggy as hell when it first launched).

    My guess is a marketing agency advised on the new site rather than a company specifically specializing in booking engines and UI/UX.

  2. Am I crazy, or have they now made it impossible to book a one way ticket? I can’t seem to select the outbound date without also having to select a return date.

  3. Im also not able to sign up for a new account on their website for some reason. Errors out and says I should email their support team.

  4. Even better availability sounds like great news. Is the search faster? That was my biggest issue with their site. I’ll have to poke around a bit

  5. If it resembles the SQ site then it is a step back. The SQ site requires way too much scrolling. Super unpractical.

  6. I see availability and then when I go to book, I get error messages and tells me to contact the service center. Is this common? I tried searching 5 to 10 different routes and same thing happened for all.

  7. I noticed that all of a sudden I have to accumulate 50 segments to get gold status… And it used to be 45! What is up with that.

  8. @lucky would you recommend getting the Avianca Vuela Visa Card even though the extra 20k promo has ended? Thanks.

  9. When doing one way searches I show no seats. They I did the search again now showing seats. Also You can no longer see cash and mile options if you dont have enough miles to purchase the flight in the account. This is a downgrade from the old site as I like to see what the sweet spot was for purchasing miles.

  10. @John Q Flyer – that changed from 1st Jan. Segments required up from 22 to 25 for Silver, from 45 to 50 for Gold. Likewise more miles are now required 45k miles instead of 40k for Gold. Mind you, those are still quite low requirements compared to some airlines.

    Something I noticed is that the taxes/charges noted when initially searching seem to be wrong in a lot of cases. Once you follow through to book, they change (some up, some down).

    Lifemiles has an option to double/triple miles earned with them at a rate that has always been U$0.0145 per mile, any time. This is the same rate that they often run promos for, to buy miles. The multiply-miles-rate has gone up to U$0.015721 per mile with the new site – this could suggest we should maybe expect the best future purchase rate to be similar?

  11. Yeah, I just tried to do a redemption booking and got an error as I was going through the booking process. Had to go back to the homepage and sure enough after I searched again, the redemption I wanted is now gone! What an utter piece of garbage website this is. What a joke. They must have used the same consultants as SQ did when they redid their site…which still sucks!

  12. Note, the scheduled outage is Feb 1 to Feb 5, which means the outage is potentially not over yet… Let’s look tomorrow and see what happens.

  13. @ Raf

    Umm I just booked tonight LAX to TPE on EVA in biz, both flights are wideopen.

    SFO to TPE and YVR to TPE are open too.

  14. @ Eric Wu

    Ok , what’s the date you booked? I’ve been searching LAX-TPE / HKG-TPE-LAX , TPE-LAX , all of these route were available before the system upgrade , but now , i can’t seem to find any

  15. @ Eric Wu

    ok , you just booked the flight for tonight , and…..usually EVA will release to all alliance member , but before that EVA are usually the easiest airlines to book with , specially business class , now it just seems impossible , all the route , including United Airlines , almost every business are blocked

  16. I’ll be interested to check this out. Basically I was time and again finding award space on United and Aeroplan, then checking LifeMiles only to get the infamous “sold out” message. I gave up entirely on the program. Now I’d take another look if award availability is real.

  17. I work in IT. I’d be fired if a major software release took longer than a few hours. This forces me to be well planned and to find ways to roll to new systems faster. I can migrate TB databases to new servers or around the world with only minutes of downtime.

  18. Not good at all. I was happy when i read ypur post…i entered and after checking a couple of hours the big probñems weren’t solved.

    Still only 5 days to view {should be one month}, less award availability in business and first. EVA not working…ethiopian and turkish much less options than other programs..and i wprk with IT this should be much easier for the user. Not happy st all!
    Third time this chsnges for.me… i have DISTANCIA card, before it was lifemiles!!

    Nooooot happy at all!!

  19. WTF?? Big opening page on logging in~ all in Spanish with no option to change to English!
    Not the least bit functional FMPOV.

  20. What an incredible stupid design. Space wasting. Scrolling. Non-logical sequence.
    Totally useless.
    The bunch of IT guys who did it should be fired by now.
    And yes, if they used a consultant it was the same incompetent one that SQ used.
    Would love to expose the name.

  21. It is great for getting United flights here in the US for a reduced number of miles. Old site was a real pain to use and very buggy.

  22. I used to have those error problems all the time with the old site when trying to book. It used to be you could take a screen shot and email to customer service and they would book it for you.

    The thing I don’t like is that the results don’t show you the aircraft type operating a particular flight. All you get is the flight number, time and origin/dest. For me the aircraft often makes a huge difference in my choice.

    All in all I don’t think these changes are positive.

  23. Has anyone been able to actually make a booking with this new interface? It shows availability but always crashes when you select a flight?

  24. “The new website is very… 2019. Everything is big, so there’s lots of scrolling and clicking required to do everything. Personally I don’t really get the trend of making desktop sites look more like mobile sites, but I guess to each their own.”

    I hate that also, and it totally drives me away from businesses that do that. Look, like many others I do 90% transactions from my desktop at work or desktop at home, not via my phone. So please don’t dumb your site(s) down.

    Speaking of the SIA website, it is still a mess, even after all these years after their disastrous change. How can a major business in a supposedly tech-advanced base allow that to go on?

  25. Are there any more functions available that are currently done by calling (a PITA) ? It would be great if you could cancel or modify a booking without the pain of calling them. Would it be too much to hope for that revamping their entire call center was Phase 2 ? Or is that in the ‘Too Hard’ basket?

  26. Terrible new design. In addition to all useless clicking noted by all, it is impossible to change flight parameters, like city of origin, you have to literally start over and repeat the process. Plus just typing 3 letter airport codes is not enough – you have to then select the airport name from the pull-down menu.

  27. This website is terrible. For starters, where the hell do I get rid of that stupid spanish localization

  28. The app is completely dead.
    It is amazing how companies can screw things going from ‘not too bad’ to something that is plain stupid in terms of design, UI and UX.
    Probably never spoken to a customer before starting to dick around with the IT stuff. Disgusting

  29. Are not Users, just programmers the ones that change the site.
    Incredible how bad is it.
    Lifemiles should contact heavy users to ask for recomendstions..not to random people.
    Users with long experience using lifemiles.

    I hate the site…

  30. Is anyone able to get First Class options? On the routes I have checked it has never appeared as an option, but I don’t know if that is my search, or if the site no longer provides First Class.

    I find it quite clunky and non-intuitive, but on the positive, it is MUCH faster in the search. You can move through the 5 day windows much quicker than you could before.

  31. One important area after two days of playing around with it is this: The old site used to show plenty of last minute First seats on Lufthansa. The new site does not. It seems to default to Business Class only. I am saying this as First does not even show up as “not available” anywhere at any time. As well, I checked against Aeroplan and where they have Lufthansa First available LifeMiles does not.

    Summary: Either there is a bug that is not allowing First to be shown OR LifeMiles has eliminated First redemptions. Not sure.

  32. @Stuart – unfortunately I think it’s the latter, as there are a FEW dates where you will see Lufthansa First – IAH to FRA on 11th Feb, for example. You’re right though, old site had a lot more availability. Either way, the site gives error trying to redeem anything that is not an Avianca operated flight, so currently quite irrelevant.

    The Lifemiles mobile app still isn’t functioning at all yet, so let’s hope they’re working on the general system (website included) still…

  33. @Dane Thanks and yeah, I suspected as much. Let’s hope this get resolved soon or I am going to fight to get some points back I transferred and ended up not using there prior to the announcement and changeover.

  34. Did anyone notice that on the multi-city award search, it forces you to return to your destination.

    If you type in ORD-BUD-IST-DPS it will force you to return to ORD in the next field

  35. As of early this morning (2/7/19), the site was still buggy. And still plagued with the same or worse issues than before the “re-design”:

    * Pages often wouldn’t ever really finish loading, dates wouldn’t actually display across the top of the search results page unless moused over.
    * Filtering for “Business/First” also displayed Economy awards
    * Each resulting flight found has to be clicked and opened to see what’s actually available and to discern whether it’s only Economy or also Business/First (despite selecting the B/F filter)
    * Using the arrow keys to move the search dates still progresses only 2 days in either direction (instead of 7 – I don’t need to see 5 of the same results I’ve already seen)
    * There’s no data on the flights themselves other than the airline and number (no aircraft info or duration)
    * Availability actually seems worse than before the change, particularly for international Business and First flights; I even checked for flights in 2020.
    * The site also continually displays buttons to “Log-in” even though I’m already logged in
    * There’s no info at the bottom of the pages like Contact info; to get to that, I had to back out all the way to my profile page.

    The search experience and availability is simply worse than it was before, not better.

  36. Saturday and every single flight comes back No Disponible, their search engine has got itself disconnected ?

  37. @mike..exactly!!!
    I have arround 420.000 miles…i want to use them on business and furst and i can’t. Before was bad but much much better. I hate lifemiles!

  38. grrrrr this lifemiles site is sooooo annoying!!!
    put the old plataform, was baadddddd but much better than thisone!

  39. Unfortunately, this has been a trend in UI design for the last five or so years — designers now greatly favor aesthetics over functionality and usability. The new UI hallmarks are lots of white space, significantly less information displayed on each page, lots of scrolling and extra clicks required, use of strange inscrutable icons instead of words, infinite scroll, oversized text, lots of movement, etc. The sites are very pretty, but it’s all at the expense of functionality/usability, especially for power users.

  40. This new website is not working. I have been trying to get use to it But I can’t. It is not user friendly at all. Please this take into consideration and bring the old website back. Please.

  41. As noted above- the new site is not working. It was working earlier today, but now will not load the search tool after clicking “FLY”.

    I was going to buy some miles today…but if this is going to be a recurring theme, I’m re-thinking that decision.

    Get it together, LifeMiles.

  42. Website doesn’t work, non-functional, spanish only to boot, scratched this idea after 10 minutes wasted.

  43. @Lawrence~ you can switch to English but it’s not obvious, like so much else on the site. It is much less user-friendly, and I severely doubt it has more premium availability than the last one. This is the third change they have made since I started using LM, and it is the worst. The last one just needed a few tweaks, not dumping. Whoever designed this new thing has duped the LM management; they should ask for their money back!

  44. This is horrible! No first or business availability to LHR, DUB, or EDI for June or July. Ugh!

  45. lifemiles.com is not showing availability for an AC non-stop flight that is showing available on united.com and aeroplan.com. I just requested a manual reservation via email, but I’m not particularly optimistic. Seems like the same old problems with a new, terrible interface.

  46. I have been looking at bus/1st class redemptions from Sing-Ldn and Syd-Vancouver for 2020 and am unable to come up with any flights either searching for one way or return. Is this new website a way of eliminating these flights and only offering economy??? It cannot be just a “glitch”!!!!

  47. Robyn, check the routes/dates on UA site. It will save you a heap of time and frustration. If you find something you might want, zero in on it on LM site. If it’s not there be prepared to phone LM to ask. Be prepared to book then and there though.

  48. First class did show up yesterday but not today but may or may not show up tomorrow. Best guess Lufthansa is blocked but other first class options such as ANA might not be blocked. Moving target at best.

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