Changes to LifeMiles Award Chart Again — With No Notice

A tale of two aircraft tails at El Salvador International Airport in San Salvador: the old TACA livery displayed on the left; and the new TACA livery displayed on the right. Photograph by FlyerTalk member aw. Click on the photograph for a trip report written by aw.

The award redemption chart for the LifeMiles frequent flier loyalty program of Avianca and Taca has changed recently — and it is not the changes in and of themselves that has sparked heated discussion on FlyerTalk, but rather how the changes were implemented.

First, no advanced notice was given about the select changes to the LifeMiles award redemption chart, which range from a minimum increase of 5,000 LifeMiles for redemption of business class awards to the Middle East, South Africa, Central and South Asia to a maximum increase of 50,000 LifeMiles for redemption of a first class award to South Africa.

Second, there was already a perceived devaluation of the LifeMiles award redemption chart which occurred only five months ago — again, without any advance notice and without updating the award redemption chart even though the changes in redemption levels increased “across the board.” Despite that first devaluation, some FlyerTalk members believed that the perceived devaluation was not that significant.

Third, FlyerTalk member Coolers questions the timing of the unannounced award redemption chart changes, posting that “They must think themselves clever for putting these through right after the Freddies, hoping it’ll long be forgotten for next year” — and FlyerTalk member dre_techie elaborates that “This was imminent after winning some Freddie Award. But I guess people were overwhelmed with excitement and voted although that wasn’t in their best interest…”

Although FlyerTalk member GUWonder states that “Under this suddenly changed award chart, business class award travel from most of the EU to India requires nearly double the miles that AA requires for the same. Ouch!”, FlyerTalk member oneworld82 opines that “Well it doesn’t look too bad. If they leave it as it is for 1/2 years I am cool.”

The “good news” is that the latest perceived devaluation is not widespread, as there are a number of regions which remain unaffected — this time around, anyway. Of course, the good news is actually bad news if you travel to the affected regions as a member of the LifeMiles frequent flier loyalty program.

However, more disconcerting is the practice of implementing changes by certain frequent flier loyalty programs without announcing said changes to its members. Regardless of the significance of those changes, a lack of official communication can contribute to the undermining of trust by a customer to the airline — and no business can afford to allow the trust of its customers to erode without suffering some sort of financial effect.

What do you think?

Comments (Showing 5 of 5)

  • starflyer at 6:39pm May 22, 2013

    Looks like LifeMIles has about as much integrity as Delta SkyMiles. Another airline(s) to add to my do-not-fly list.

  • smit0847 at 8:14pm May 22, 2013

    I think LifeMiles has about as much respect for its members as it’s members do for LifeMiles….

  • LADELTA777 at 10:32pm May 22, 2013

    Who flies TACA anyway ?

  • lsed at 8:15am May 23, 2013

    This article hasn’t accounted for the C+M devaluation.

    Triple Whammy!

  • Brian Cohen at 9:25am May 23, 2013

    That is because that perceived devaluation was not yet known at the time this article was written.
    Here is an update, thanks to you posting that comment, lsed. I appreciate it!

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