This was actually announced a couple of weeks back, though for whatever reason I forgot to post about it. So I figured better late than never.
Since joining the Star Alliance a couple of years ago, Avianca’s LifeMiles program has been big into selling miles. While their standard cost to purchase miles is 3.0 cents each, they’ve frequently offered 100% bonuses on buying and sharing miles, which lowers the cost to 1.5 cents each.
Anyway, LifeMiles has announced that they’ll be increasing the cost of purchased miles to 3.3 cents as of September 30, 2014:
Until September 30th, 2014, the price of the block of 1,000 miles will continue to be at USD30 plus taxes. From October 1st, 2014, such price will increase to USD33 plus taxes1.
Remember that you may use the miles you purchase to fly to more than 1,300 destinations on routes operated by Avianca, partner airlines or Star Alliance member airlines. Also, use your LifeMiles with our vast partner network that includes hotels, car rentals, restaurants, stores certificates, health and beauty, among others.
So presumably if they offer a 100% bonus on purchased or shared miles after September 30, that will mean that LifeMiles will cost 1.65 cents each to purchase, which is 10% higher than now.
My guess would be that they’ll offer either another 100% bonus on purchased or shared miles prior to September, though I could be wrong.
One of my biggest complaints of the LifeMiles program is that they have a history of making changes to their program without advance notice.
So while of course I don’t like to see an increase in the cost to purchase miles (especially since LifeMiles are one of the best ways to book premium cabin Star Alliance awards), I commend them for giving months of advance notice.
And in the grand scheme of things a 10% increase is mild.
While 3.3 cents per purchased mile is high, they’re running a JoS A Bank-style business model on their sale of miles, whereby the non-discounted retail cost isn’t even in peoples’ minds.
(Tip of the hat to Z)