Avianca LifeMiles Program: Overview and Sweet Spots Avianca LifeMiles Program: Overview and Sweet Spots

Avianca LifeMiles Program: Overview and Sweet Spots

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Avianca, the flag carrier and national airline of Colombia, is one of the largest airlines in South America. While many US-based readers probably haven't ever flown with the airline, they may be aware of its frequent flyer program. Avianca's LifeMiles frequent flyer program has become quite popular among points and miles enthusiasts for its numerous sweet spots.

Avianca is a part of Star Alliance — the largest global airline alliance — which means LifeMiles can be redeemed for travel on these partners to destinations across the globe. Additionally, LifeMiles is one of three Star Alliance programs that doesn't impose carrier surcharges and fees on award redemptions.

One of the biggest factors in the popularity of the LifeMiles program is the numerous sweet spots on the program's award chart. Add in the ease with which you can collect LifeMiles and the lack of carrier-imposed fuel surcharges, and Avianca is a top choice for both domestic and international travel.

In this post, we'll walk through the Avianca LifeMiles award chart and highlight some of the best LifeMiles redemptions.

A red-and-white Avianca Airbus A319 sits at an airport with a cloudy, blue sky as a backdrop. (Image courtesy of Avianca)
Take advantage of the Avianca LifeMiles program and numerous sweet spots through the award chart to redeem miles for flights across the globe on dozens of partners. (Image courtesy of Avianca)

How to Earn Avianca LifeMiles

There are dozens of ways in which you can earn Avianca LifeMiles. The LifeMiles program has no shortage of partners — ranging from other airlines to department stores.

You can earn LifeMiles on all Avianca and Star Alliance flights, and credit hotel stays at Hilton, IHG, and Best Western properties. However, there are even easier ways to amass a hefty sum of Avianca LifeMiles.

Avianca LifeMiles Co-Branded Credit Cards

Released in 2016 by Puerto Rico's Banco Popular, having a co-branded Avianca LifeMiles credit card is the easiest way to earn a ton of miles in a relatively short amount of time. Additionally, only a single purchase is required to earn the current new cardholder welcome bonus offered by both co-branded LifeMiles credit cards.

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card
Avianca Vuela Visa® Card
Annual Fee$149
Welcome Bonus 40,000 welcome bonus after first purchase
  • 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • Free additional piece of baggage for travel between the United States and Central America
  • A 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $12,000 spent each year
  • An additional 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $24,000 spent each year
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • You must be an Avianca LifeMiles member to apply
  • If you are not already a LifeMiles member, create your account here:
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option
  • 3X LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • 2X LifeMiles per $1 spent on gas stations & grocery stores
  • 1X LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
Avianca Vida Visa® Card
Avianca Vida Visa® Card
Annual Fee$59
Welcome Bonus 20,000 welcome bonus after first purchase
  • 20,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • No cap on the number of LifeMiles you can earn
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • You must be an Avianca LifeMiles member to apply
  • If you are not already a LifeMiles member, create your account here:
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option
  • 2X LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • 1X LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases

The best value of the two co-branded LifeMiles credit cards is the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card. New cardholders will earn 40,000 bonus miles after first purchase of any amount.

For example, I purchased a McDonald's McGriddle to earn the Avianca Vuela Visa‘s welcome bonus, which got me significantly closer to my flight in Lufthansa First Class.

Related: Earn up to 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles with Avianca Co-Branded Credit Cards

Buy Avianca LifeMiles Outright

Avianca is known for running some pretty lucrative promotions allowing members to rack up tens of thousands of bonus LifeMiles when purchasing them outright. It's not uncommon for Avianca to run these promotions at various times throughout the year. However, members can purchase LifeMiles at any time.

If you plan on purchasing LifeMiles, we highly recommend waiting for one of these promotional periods. Avianca just recently ran a promotion that allowed members to earn up to a 155% bonus when they purchased LifeMiles.

If you cannot wait for one of these promotions, you can purchase LifeMiles at any time, starting at 3.3 cents per mile. While not the worst value from purchasing points or miles, it pales compared to promotional periods in which LifeMiles can be purchased for as little as 1.2 cents per mile.

Transfer Points from Other Programs to Your LifeMiles Account

There are four transfer partners allowing members to transfer their points to their LifeMiles account. Here are the programs that allow for transfers to LifeMiles:

This makes the Avianca LifeMiles program much more valuable for the everyday points and miles fan. In addition, it opens up some exciting possibilities for anyone looking to combine flexible points from multiple programs to accumulate enough miles for an award flight.

Once you've racked up a ton of LifeMiles, it's time to take that dream award redemption. Here are some of the top sweet spots on the Avianca LifeMiles award chart.

Avianca's New LifeMiles Award Charts

Despite changes over the years, LifeMiles remains a strong program. While not the best Star Alliance award chart, the LifeMiles award chart still features plenty of sweet spots. Additionally, the lack of carrier-imposed fees makes these sweet spots even sweeter.

Unfortunately, the LifeMiles partner award chart is eye-wateringly complex and convoluted. Here's a look at the current Avianca LifeMiles partner award chart:

The complex Avianca LifeMiles partner award chart.
The overly-complex and hard-to-read Avianca LifeMiles partner award chart. (Image via LifeMiles)

You may be able to zoom in to view award redemptions; however, it's quite difficult to read. That being said, we'll break down the most up-to-date LifeMiles partner award chart in sections. You may also be able to download the image and use your device's image viewer to navigate the complex table.

Avianca LifeMiles Partner Award Charts





Avianca Region Definitions

For reference, here is how Avianca defines each region found on the partner award chart:


Avianca devalued its award chart for flights on its own metal a number of years back, and the award prices aren’t particularly competitive. So, most top-value awards are found when flying with Avianca's partners.

Best Value Avianca LifeMiles Sweet Spots

Here are some of our favorite Avianca LifeMiles partner award sweet spots:

U.S. Region 1 to Europe Region 2 in First Class for 87,000, Business for 63,000 LifeMiles

LifeMiles sweet spots from Washington DC to Frankfurt
Fly in Lufthansa First Class between the US and Germany for 87,000 LifeMiles and avoid carrier-imposed surcharges.

Sure, you can redeem miles for flights to Europe on United Airlines for as few as 60,000 miles in business class. However, redeeming MileagePlus miles for travel on partners will set you back 77,000 miles. This makes using Avianca LifeMiles a much more attractive option for Star Alliance partner awards.

LifeMiles sweet spots from Newark to Frankfurt
Travel in United Airlines Polaris business class between the US and Germany for 63,000 LifeMiles.
Image of United Airlines Polaris Business Class next to an image of Lufthansa First Class
Use LifeMiles to travel between the US and Europe in top premium cabins like United Polaris and Lufthansa First Class. (Images by Max Prosperi / AwardWallet)

U.S. Region 1 to Europe Region 1 in Business Class for 60,000 LifeMiles

LifeMiles sweet spots from Newark to London
LifeMiles are a great alternative to MileagePlus miles when redeeming for travel between the US and Europe.

U.S. Region 2 to Europe Region 2 in Business Class for 63,000 LifeMiles

LifeMiles sweet spots from Chicago to Stockholm
Redeem LifeMiles to travel to destinations across Europe in business class, including Stockholm with SAS.
One LifeMiles sweet spot is SAS Airlines new business class seat aboard an Airbus A350
Travel in SAS Airlines' new business class product using LifeMiles. (Image courtesy of SAS)

All U.S. Regions to Northern South America (i.e. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru) for 17,500 LifeMiles (or 35k in Business Class)

LifeMiles sweet spots from Houston to Bogota
Redeem LifeMiles for flights to Colombia and other northern South American destinations.

U.S. Region 3 to South Asia: 90,000 LifeMiles for Business Class or 47,000 LifeMiles in Economy

LifeMiles sweet spots from San Francisco to Singapore
Book flights in business class to destinations across South Asia for 90,000 LifeMiles.
LifeMiles sweet spots from San Francisco to Singapore
Fly nonstop between the US and Singapore for just 47,000 LifeMiles.

All U.S. Regions to the Middle East in Business Class for 78,000 LifeMiles

Fly in SWISS Airlines' amazing business class product from the US to Dubai for 78,000 LifeMiles.
SWISS Business Class seat aboard an Airbus A340
Use LifeMiles to fly in SWISS business class from the US to the Middle East. (Image courtesy of SWISS)

Transcontinental Business Class within the United States for 25,000 LifeMiles

Travel in comfort across the United States in business class for 25,000 LifeMiles.

All U.S. Regions to Australia or New Zealand in Economy Class for 40,000 LifeMiles

While not the most luxurious award redemption, you can still fly nonstop from the US to Sydney in economy for just 40,000 LifeMiles.

Flying coach to Australia or New Zealand isn’t the most ideal prospect. But, when you consider that you could redeem that award after just a single purchase on the Avianca Vuela Visa, this redemption becomes a lot more attractive.

All European Regions to the Middle East: 42,000 LifeMiles in Business Class or 24,000 LifeMiles in Economy

Travel with a number of Star Alliance partners between Europe and the Middle East with LifeMiles partner awards.

The Middle East to India in Business Class for 55,000 LifeMiles

Fly nonstop between the Middle East and India for just 55,000 LifeMiles.

Other awards offering fantastic value include business class redemptions within North Asia, which allow you to fly in premium cabins on some rather lengthy routes for just 22,500 miles. But, of course, the ability to redeem miles for Lufthansa First Class without ridiculous surcharges takes the cake.

Lufthansa first-class without carrier-imposed surcharges? Yes, please! (Image courtesy of Lufthansa)

Benefits and Pitfalls of the Avianca LifeMiles Program

As with all frequent flyer programs, Avianca has its pros and cons, which we’ve listed below.

The Pros of Avianca LifeMiles

  • No fuel surcharges on Star Alliance partner awards
  • The majority of Star Alliance partner awards can be booked online with relative ease
  • No close-in booking fees
  • Buy up to 60% of the miles required for an award via LifeMiles + Cash
  • Miles don’t expire as long as there is qualifying account activity every 12 months
  • Regular bonuses on purchased miles allow you to buy miles for less than 1.3¢ per mile

The lack of fuel surcharges and close-in penalties is a big plus for the program, but the miles expiry policy is perhaps the most overlooked of Avianca’s benefits.

LifeMiles won’t expire if you have qualifying activity in your account within 12 months of the last mile earned. Additionally, transferring points from another program counts as a qualifying activity.

The Cons of Avianca LifeMiles

  • Contacting customer service to handle reservations is difficult and can be an unpleasant experience
  • Flat $25 booking fee across all awards
  • High award change ($150) and cancellation fees ($50 per segment up to $200)
  • Avianca doesn’t allow stopovers or open jaws on award flights

Similar to our experience dealing with Aeromexico, Avianca’s call center is challenging to deal with if you need to book an award over the phone. The $25 booking fee is bearable if you factor in the lack of other fees on award flights. However, the change and cancellation fees are on the higher side compared to other programs.

The Bottom Line

Avianca's LifeMiles program has become a popular program among award-travel enthusiasts. There are several reasons why travelers like the LifeMiles program.

One of these reasons is the program's solid co-branded credit cards. With just a single purchase, both Avianca co-branded credit cards allow new cardholders to rack up a ton of LifeMiles. New <bAvianca Vuela Visa® Card cardholders will earn 40,000 bonus LifeMiles after first purchase with their card.

Additionally, the ability to transfer points from a number of flexible award currencies and frequent promotions allowing members to buy LifeMiles with a lucrative bonus are two other reasons to love the LifeMiles program.

The Avianca LifeMiles program presents a solid alternative to other Star Alliance carriers, particularly following recent devaluations on partner awards from United Airlines and Singapore Airlines.

Do you make use of the Avianca LifeMiles program? If so, what's your favorite LifeMiles award redemption?

4.6 / 5 - (17 votes)
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  • That awards chart is outdated.
    Economy from North America to North Asia (LAX to MNL) is now 47000 miles, not 35000 miles.

  • Frequenttraveller says:

    Is abyone getting an error message when they sign into their lifemiles account?? I’ve been getting a 403 error message for weeks now and have over 100K points in my acct that I want to use for an upcoming trip. What’s going on?

  • I have heard decent things about Avianca Lifemiles so I decided to see what their costs were.

    On their results for a r/t flight, it showed:
    M (the letter M , I believe) 168,778 + USD 1,869

    Does that mean it costs 168,778 miles plus $1,869 for this trip (DSM – MFE)?


    • Ed – you likely found a date with ‘view more results’ listings, meaning it didn’t have any award bookings available. That’s essentially showing you options to ‘buy’ (for lack of a better word) flights with your miles. That’s not at all a normal amount of miles to redeem for these flights. You should use a maximum of 25,000 miles for a one-way flight within the US48. However, there are better programs for domestic flights in the US with Star Alliance, such as Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles.

  • He viajado con Avianca en varias oportunidades desde Argentina a Perú y Colombia. Uno de los inconvenientes que me gustaría que subsanen respecto de la acumulación de puntos, es su vencimiento. Las condiciones económicas y políticas de un país son cambiantes y lo que uno proyecto hacer en los próximos meses puede cambiar drásticamente con medidas del gobierno como por ejemplo ocurre en Argentina con el cepo cambiario (restricciones a la compra de dólares) o impuestos exorbitantes para la compra de divisas extranjeras.
    En mi opinión no deberían vencer y eso es un incentivo para seguir adquiriendo productos de la misma compañía. Creo que ambos nos beneficiaríamos con esto. Siempre me ha sido muy placentero viajar con esta aerolínea.

  • Mike Johnson says:

    No chance to us lifemiles on Lufthansa business D seat , even I can see plenty of seat on hansa website, does lifemiles blocked partners’ business class ?

  • Nice way to save some miles and money on business class

  • Their website is not working. Any flight search comes back as NO flights available. Same thing on their app. They want you to call them and to book it over the phone. Customer service is in Colombia. Enough said.

  • It has a very good miles redemption program.
    Must be one of the best airlines in south america
    I have never traveled on Avianca yet, we hope to travel soon.

  • Yes, Avianca is reliable. Mainly after the separation of the Brazilian side that went bankrupt after that due to the oligopolium and over regulation in this market. We hope that the current government will change that, but for Avianca it arrived late because was already disabled shortly before the change of government that reversed the economy guidelines. Despite the difficulties, the old part of Avianca did better service than the rest of that market.

  • Alejandra Capacio says:

    Como todos los programas, tienen cosas buenas y malas, Entre las que destaco, que las millas vencen a los 12 meses, sin actividad, cuando otras aerolineas son 32 meses y como bueno sus canjes son muy ventajoso, en ejecutiva, el personal muy amable

  • Diana Marti says:

    I am an Avianca silver member, I use Avianca regularly to fly inside South America. Tried to book flights with miles through the page but never could ! I hope it begin to work properly.

  • Are they reliable?

  • Great alternative to United MileagePlus

  • Fuel surcharge is way to hide higher costs and inefficiency. This is not Avianca case definitely.

  • This article is wrong.

    One of the headaches of award travel on Star Alliance carriers is the prevalence of programs that charge hefty fees. Avianca’s award chart is not the most attractive Star Alliance chart out there, but besides United and Copa, LifeMiles is the only program not charging fuel surcharges on any partner awards.”

    Eurobonus is not charging fuel surcharges on any partner awards.

  • “The reservations department is difficult to deal with if you need to call an award in by phone”

    Spot on! It is nearly impossible to speak to some one who speaks decent English and willing to help there

  • No fuel surcharges is interesting.

  • Good program as long as they dont go bankrupt.

  • Is the award chart in this post still accurate? What I don’t like about LM is the lack of consistency and availability. Would love to see LM’s award prices combined with UA’s routings.

    • Hey John, Avianca pulled the award chart from their website, so we don’t know how much this reflects the current award pricing. For the most part, the current minimum prices still seem to follow the award chart. Please do share any feedback if you find different prices for specific routes.

  • Natalia Quirino de Oliveira says:

    I hope they do not bankrupt. I have a flight with them and Avianca is such a great company.

  • I had status with Avianca when they did a status match, and didn’t really look into their award chart. No fuel surcharges is a big plus!

  • Great article. Avianca is a great option especially if you fly to and from South America or plan to do so.

  • Thanks for the useful post and summary. I’ll have to look into Lifemiles now, but am a little bit concerned about the website quality comments.

  • Can you actually book Lufthansa first using Avianca miles? I thought they blocked access to everyone but Miles and More.

    • Only in the last couple of weeks before departure, although there are occasional exceptions. The best strategy is to book Biz class further in advance and change to first in the last week.

  • This provides me with an oppourtunity to maximize my travel to the Carribena, thanks for the article

  • Makes me happy that Avianca is stepping up to the plate and competing more in the reward travel arena.

  • What is the best way to use Avianca miles now ? Las time I’ve spent the miles a few years ago .

  • Lets go to Columbia!

  • Have they improved the website? Never been able to make a points booking online…

  • Great info! Thanks!

  • Good introduction to what they do and don’t offer

  • no transfers from MR I assume?

  • Any good ideas for “sweet spots” not from the USA but from Thailand?

  • You say that it can be a hassle if you have to call and book your flights does this offset the money/miles savings enough? In my mind it doesn’t. It should be easy to book with money or miles with any carrier. I don’t have the time to sit and take forever to book tickets. I know that it could be more miles but I’ll stick with carriers I’m more familiar with. Everyone has a trade off somewhere. We all make that choice.

    I am happy to have that choice and the options that ya’ll give are invaluable so I can make a more informed decision.

  • No fuel surcharges is great. And with Star Alliance you can fly Lufthansa, which is a nice airline.

  • Avianca has great bargains for miles but flying from Spain and not USA so cant find something attractive to use the points for

  • I agree with the post. I thinks Lifemiles are still very useful though they were really good in the past.

  • Most Lifemiles “sweet spots” have been due to Avianca not knowing world geography. In the past, they included Guam as domestic US. And all of Russia as Europe.

    Even now, if you look at the award chart above, you can notice that the “United States 1” region includes east coast states and Washington. While I assume they mean Washington DC and not Washington state, “United States 3,” the US west region, includes all the continental western states except Washington. Could you book Seattle to Newark for “United States 1”?

  • If only their website worked most of the time and one was actually able to book any of these…

  • Good info! Two things to be aware of:

    1) Their website is so broken, half the flights I’ve tried to book didn’t work online and then when I called I got it done but just barely, their reps are not much better than the broken website!

    2) I added in 1,000 Thank You Points to my account because they were expiring and at first I thought it didn’t work, but the next day it updated with the new expiration date luckily! 🙂

  • So what are the other airlines that dont charge for fuel? It said avisnka was 1 0f 3

  • Few years ago I’ve flight on Turkish and Asiana from VKO to SEL via IST in biz class . It was a best way to spend Avianca miles . I took a flight VKO-KHV via SEL ( domestic Russia ) and leave in Seoul . It was much cheaper tHan VKO -SEL , even in economy .

  • says:

    Hope Avian doesn’t read this!

    • Their miles have been constantly “on sale” for as long as I can remember, so I find it difficult to believe Avianca has any illusions about the workings of their program, nor do I think Avianca is too going to be too concerned about one more post about how best to use their miles to redeem awards.

  • Lifemiles used to have a fully functioning web booking interface. That has been severely buffed. A typical booking would error out after pax info is typed in.

  • And, Banco Popular would be light in most folks credit card supply.

  • IMHO Lifemiles doesn’t have good sweet spots anymore after they killed all the boomers.
    It’s just a decent overall program, which is not too bad but also not really outstanding.

  • In general I find the LifeMiles programme very interesting.
    Both the earning rate and the miles required for the rewards are quite good compared to other programmes.
    Moreover, LifeMiles doesn’t add fuel surcharge on award tickets.
    The only concern is its financial situation.
    Maybe someone knows something more about this.

  • This writeup is fantastic and is why I subscribe. Please keep them coming! 🙂

  • Lifemiles is much devalued from what it was. I would definitely narrow down the “sweet spots” to Lufthansa and any other airline whose surcharges are otherwise unavoidable. Otherwise you’re mostly paying more miles than other ffps.

  • Steven William Van Meter says:

    I have flown Avianca numerous times, both internal (Colombia) flights and external – internationally. I have generally been pleased, though the last time it seemed their quality had slipped. Come to think of it, it may have been only because it was an internal flight. Those seem to have lower standards.

  • Thanks for the great info. This program is new to me, so I am excited to give it a try and hopefully save some $$/miles!!