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Here at AwardWallet, we're big fans of Avianca's LifeMiles program. Avianca offers great redemption rates for Star Alliance awards, doesn't pass on carrier-imposed surcharges, runs frequent transfer bonuses from flexible rewards programs, and you can regularly buy LifeMiles at a considerable discount.
This month, Avianca has two lucrative, limited-time promotions going at the same time:
- Discounted Star-Alliance Award Redemptions for Select Markets
- Buy LifeMiles with up to a 140% Mileage Bonus
Discounted Star Alliance Award Redemptions
- Discounts only available between specific city pairs in particular classes of service
- Up to a 33% discount on per-segment mileage cost
- Book between February 11th and March 12th, 2020
It's not unusual for airlines to offer discounted award pricing on their metal (Flying Blue has a monthly promo for awards on Air France and KLM aircraft.) Still, it is slightly more unique for an airline to offer discounted pricing on flights operated by partners. In this case, all of the discounted itineraries to/from a U.S. city are to Asia.
These are only the city pairs involving a U.S. city. For the complete list, visit this link.
LifeMiles already has some of the most lucrative pricing on award tickets to Asia, even without the promotion. But during this promotion, you can book yourself in Star Alliance first-class from LAX to Seoul for only 76,500 miles!
Up to 140% Bonus Miles When Buying LifeMiles
- Tiered bonuses dependent on the number of miles purchased.
- Valid between February 11th- 27th, 2020
- You must register using your LifeMiles # first
- When buying LifeMiles, be sure to confirm that the purchase reflects the promotional bonus.
Avianca regularly holds sales for buying LifeMiles. We've seen promotions in the past offer up to a 145% bonus on LifeMile purchases. Still, if you max-out this current promotion of 140% bonus miles, you're bagging Avianca miles at just 1.375¢ per mile.
Another essential thing to consider is that Avianca doesn't process LifeMile purchases through a third-party, meaning the charge will code as an airline purchase, and you should use the best card for airfare purchases. For instance, if you were to purchase these miles using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you'd earn 5X Membership Rewards points per dollar. If you were to buy these miles with a Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you'd earn 3X Ultimate Rewards points per dollar. Make sure to use the right card!
Unique Opportunities for High-Value Redemptions
We don't usually recommend buying miles unless you already have a specific redemption in mind for them. However, with the ability to stack these two promotions together, we thought we'd take this opportunity to outline the possibility of buying enough miles for a few of these specific redemptions.
- LAX to ICN in First Class — This itinerary only costs 76,500 LifeMiles to book with the discounted Star Alliance award promotion. Using the “Buy Miles” sale, you could buy enough miles to book this for only $1,188. Considering first-class tickets to Asia from L.A. regularly costs between $5-10k, this is a great deal.
- SEA to TPE in Business Class — Since this itinerary only costs 60,000 Lifemiles, you could buy all the necessary miles for $924. One way Business-class tickets usually cost between $2-4k, so this would be at least a 50% discount.
- IAD to PEK in First Class — At 72,000 Lifemiles per way, you could use the promotion to buy all the miles you need for $1,122. These tickets usually cost $10k!
Thinking Outside the Box
What's even more remarkable about the Discounted Star Alliance Award Promotion is that some of LifeMile's unique booking quirks affect the promotional pricing as well. In case you didn't already know, one of the peculiarities of the Lifemiles program is that award pricing is based on the ratio of the trip flown in a specific class of service. This leads to the possibility of booking even cheaper business or first class awards to Asia by adding on a short economy or business class flight at the beginning or end of the route. One of my first dummy searches' found one such itinerary:
Since this itinerary is technically between L.A. and Seoul, it qualifies for the promotional pricing. However, since the second leg would be in business class, the actual price would only be 76,340 LifeMiles.
We love airline programs that mix things up now and then. With these two promotions combined, there's a lot of opportunities to save on these already significant redemptions, especially if you were planning to travel to Asia.
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