It has just been announced that Avianca LifeMiles’ United States credit card is being discontinued. I’m curious to see if LifeMiles will partner with a different bank, or what exactly is going on.
Banco Popular closing LifeMiles credit cards March 31, 2022
Avianca LifeMiles currently has two credit cards in the United States, both of which are issued by Puerto Rico’s Banco Popular. The bank has just reached out to cardmembers to inform them that all cards will be closed as of March 31, 2022.
The card issuer also stated that no annual fees are being charged between January 1 and March 31, 2022, and that any annual fees charged between February and December 2021 will be automatically credited back to the account.
While it’s pretty common for credit card benefits to change over time, it’s not all that often that you see co-branded airline cards discontinued altogether. Many in the miles & points world picked up LifeMiles credit cards over time, given that the cards offered decent welcome bonuses. The perks of the cards were reasonably good as well, at least for those who fly Avianca with any frequency.
Will there be a new LifeMiles credit card?
It’s anyone’s guess why the LifeMiles credit cards are being discontinued:
- It could be that LifeMiles is starting a relationship with a new credit card issuer, that’s a bit more mainstream than Banco Popular
- It could be that Banco Popular wasn’t happy with the profitability of the card portfolio (in terms of card spending, number of members, etc.), and that it no longer made sense to issue these cards
LifeMiles can be incredibly useful for Star Alliance first & business class award redemptions, as the program frequently sells miles at a discount, and is also transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One, and Citi ThankYou.
If Avianca LifeMiles were to launch a co-branded credit card with another issuer, which one would be most likely? This is purely speculation on my part, but:
- Amex and Citi don’t really issue any “niche” co-branded airline credit cards, but rather only massive card portfolios (Delta and American, respectively)
- Chase does issue some lower volume cards (Aer Lingus, Iberia, etc.), but the fact that LifeMiles isn’t transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards suggests to me that there’s not much of a relationship there
- Barclays seems to me like the most likely bank that would partner with LifeMiles
Only time will tell what’s next, and if LifeMiles has plans for another credit card, or if the popular program will just focus on selling miles directly and mileage transfers.
Banco Popular’s Avianca LifeMiles credit cards will be discontinued as of March 31, 2022, and all annual fees paid since February 2021 should be credited. Banco Popular is more of a niche card issuer in the United States, so I always found the partnership a bit unusual.
I’m curious to see what’s next for LifeMiles in the United States, and if we see a new co-branded credit card, or what.
Did you ever get an Avianca LifeMiles credit card? If so, what was your experience with it?