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Most of the time when I am approved for a new card these days, the credit limit issued is between $2,500 and $10,000. I have tapped out most of the credit that both Barclaycard and CitiBank are willing to issue me, often having to shift limit around to be approved for a product. I also make sure I lower my credit limit with Chase by at least $5,000 before applying for a new card.

My number of new card applications over the past two years has soared as well, and I have lately been getting denials (even besides those attributable to the dreaded 5/24). (SEE: I’m way over 5/24… I applied for a new Chase Ink card anyway)

Thus, I feel like I am close to capacity when it comes to the amount of credit that banks are willing to issue me.

Applying for the Avianca Vuela Visa

I didn’t know what to expect when applying for the Avianca Vuela Visa, which recently went live. If I could have bet on the outcome, I would have bet on a denial. So when my Avianca Vuela Visa application was instantly approved with a $25,000 credit limit, I was shocked.

Before the day I applied, I had never even heard of Banco Popular or Popular Credit Services. Apparently they are based in Puerto Rico. And they want to issue me a credit line of $25,000. Okay then.

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Honestly, I don’t really care who a card issuer is, if they are willing to approve me for a product. The Avianca Vida and Avianca Vuela Visa cards issued by Banco Popular are both very good offers. If you sign up for either card, be sure to use promo code AVSPWE when you apply (application link here – not an affiliate link). The Vuela card in particular has an incredible sign-up bonus of 60,000 LifeMiles after your first purchase, as well as good earning rates. The perks include:

  • Welcome Bonus of 40,000 LifeMiles after first card use (60,000 with the AVSPWE code)
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent on gas stations & grocery stores (very nice!)
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 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
  • Annual fee of $149, which is not waived

The Vida card is a lesser version with lower earning rates, an annual fee of $59, and an introductory offer of 20,000 LifeMiles (I have not confirmed that the bonus code increases that to 40,000). It may be worth the sign up bonus (if you don’t care about the app affecting 5/24), but it really isn’t worth keeping, in my opinion.

Why is the Avianca Vuela Visa such a good deal?

Prior to seeing the news on the coming new LifeMiles cards, I had never really researched the program. I heard the scuttlebutt from some that buying LifeMiles when on sale was a great way to fly first-class, but I never bothered figuring out why until I considered applying for the card.

LifeMiles are actually an incredible currency to collect, and their award chart has some phenomenal sweet spots. (SEE: Crazy geography lets you book awards for only 7500 miles) One of the very best uses of LifeMiles in my opinion is Lufthansa first-class from the U.S. to Europe. An F ticket from San Francisco to Frankfurt costs only 87,000 LifeMiles one way. Contrast that with United’s 110,000 mile price tag. Air Canada Aeroplan may look like a good option at only 70,000 miles, until you factor in fuel surcharges. These can easily run over $500 on an award ticket. Not worth it, in my opinion, but it may be for some.

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This is where LifeMiles shine. One of the biggest benefits to using LifeMiles is that, like using United MileagePlus miles, fuel surcharges are not imposed on award tickets! Ever.

So, with a single sign-up bonus from the Avianca Vuela Visa card and some grocery spending and/or MS (or transfer 20k Starpoints to 25k LifeMiles), you could easily have enough miles for a LF first-class award. That’s fantastic.

We’ll see if it is worth keeping the card in the long run. My wife and I will be headed to Central America at least once in 2017, so we may find our new LifeMiles card is worth keeping long term.

Header image curtesy of J. Babinsky, via creative commons 2.0 license

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