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When Banco Popular launched the new Avianca Visa cards in late 2016, I was thrilled. If you used the promo code Avianca circulated via email, the normal 40,000 point offer was increased into 60,000 points after your first purchase. Not being familiar with Banco Popular, I was honestly a bit skeptical. But they approved me with a huge credit limit (SEE: My highest credit limit ever came with…what new card?), I made some charges, and the points posted.
Yet, I still haven’t done anything with those LifeMiles. But I now there is currently a great opportunity!
Discounted LifeMIles StarAlliance awards
Often when carriers run award sales, it is on their own metal. Not this time. Avianca is running a sale on awards between now and the end of the month on StarAlliance partners for flights between Asia and the western United States. Awards at all levels are offered at reduced prices. Here are the sale prices:
Normal prices for U.S. to Asia is 70,000/150,000/180,000 LifeMiles round-trip in economy/business/first. Intra-North Asia flights are normally 30,000/45,000 miles for economy/business. Check out the LifeMiles chart here.
The notice for the sale appeared to be circulated by email. I searched my inbox for it, but came up dry. You can find a few details in this FlyerTalk thread. I can’t even come up with a landing page for the sale as I’ve seen during previous promotions! BUT I did confirm the pricing. Here is San Francisco to Tokyo:
Not that you’d want to use your LifeMiles to fly United’s 2x4x2 business class on their soon-to-be-retired 747s.
It turns out that there appears to be a domestic sale as well? Here we have San Francisco to Boston:
This should price out at 25,000 miles in business, but it is showing as only 22,500. Economy has a 2,500 mile reduction, too. Given that another post in the same thread showed a discount on intra-Europe flights, this must be the case for North America as well.
Ways to obtain LifeMiles
Avianca routinely runs sales on LifeMiles. You can currently get a huge bonus when purchasing miles. If you need a lot of LifeMiles for a premium cabin redemption, it still won’t be cheap. But you’ll almost always come out ahead buying LifeMiles for an award over actually purchasing a business or first-class revenue ticket.
You can also get LifeMiles by transferring Starwood points. Make sure you transfer in increments of 20,000 to take advantage of the 25% transfer bonus. Remember that you can also simply pay in “cash & miles”, effectively buying the rest of the miles you need for an award. But this is not always at the best rate offered during a sale.
Avianca has some great sweet spots on their award chart. Most famous, in my opinion, is their 87,000 mile one-way award between the U.S. and Europe, making LifeMiles a great way to book Lufthans first (although there are reports of Lufthansa blocking space).
I’ve not really considered Asia a sweet spot, but with the current award sale, prices are certainly competitive with other programs. Plus, Avianca doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on award tickets. Ever. Another reason I love the program!
Book by May 30 if you want to take advantage of this award sale!