One of the great developments we’ve seen on many airline award charts the past few years is the introduction of discounted short-haul awards. For example, that’s one of the best aspects of British Airways Avios, though it’s a concept many other airlines have followed in the meantime.
However, there aren’t many Star Alliance programs that offer discounted awards for short-haul travel within the US. There’s some good news on that front.
Avianca’s LifeMiles program has introduced new short-haul awards for travel within the US. Specifically, LifeMiles has split the US up into three regions (United States 1, United States 2, and United States 3). While no award costs are going up (which is to say that economy costs no more than 12,500 miles, and first class costs no more than 35,000 miles), they have introduced some lower award costs when traveling within those regions.
Here’s the new region based award chart for domestic travel within the US:
And here’s which states belong to each region:
United States 1:
Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC
United States 2:
Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin
United States 3:
Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming
What this means is that:
- Travel within any of the above regions costs 7,500 miles one-way rather than 12,500 miles one-way
- Travel between United States 1 and United States 2 costs 10,000 miles one-way rather than 12,500 miles one-way
Note that this new region based chart doesn’t apply for longhaul travel, but rather only for domestic travel. For longhaul awards you’ll still pay the same number of miles no matter what part of the US you travel to.
For example, you can fly between Seattle and San Diego for 7,500 miles one-way, even when a connection is required (meanwhile with British Airways Avios, it’s 7,500 Avios for a short-haul award, though only when flying nonstop):
Or an award ticket from Palm Beach to Newark would cost you 10,000 miles, rather than the previous 12,500 miles:
LifeMiles often sells miles at a discount, sometimes for as little as 1.375 cents each. So this could be a way to score a heck of a deal on a short-haul flight within the US, especially given that they can often be expensive last minute, in particular to smaller markets.
The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to every partner award seat, though I find that on United space generally pretty closely matches what United makes available to their own members. The other benefit is that you won’t pay a close-in ticketing fee, unlike when booking through United MileagePlus.
Could you see yourself booking discounted LifeMiles short-haul awards on United?