In an unexpected turn of events, American Express Membership Rewards has added a new transfer partner, Avianca LifeMiles.
Avainca is a Star Alliance carrier based in Colombia. In addition to Air Canada Aeroplan, ANA Mileage Club and Singapore KrisFlyer, LifeMiles gives you another option to book Star Alliance awards by transferring Membership Rewards. Amex points transfer 1-to-1 in increments of 1,000, and sometimes you can score bonus miles during a transfer promotion.
Other means of getting your hands on some Avianca miles include Citi ThankYou Points, which transfer 1-1, and Marriott points, which transfer 3-1 plus 5,000 miles for every 60,000 points converted.
Where Avianca LifeMiles shines.
- Avianca LifeMiles doesn’t charge a close-in booking fee that United charges for flights booked within 21 days of departure.
- No or low fuel surcharges.
- LifeMiles has a few sweet spots on certain redemptions.
- If you’re short on miles, you have the option to book award flights with a combination of miles and cash.
- It’s possible to book mixed-cabin flights for fewer miles than premium cabin all the way.
- Partner awards can be booked online.
Where Avianca LifeMiles lacks.
- No free stopovers are allowed. You must book extra flights as separate awards.
- Reddit users have reported subpar customer service in case you need to reticket.
- Some awards don’t show up in the online search, even if other partners show them as available to book.
It’s important to keep in mind that Avianca frequently sells LifeMiles for as low as 1.5 cents per mile. Given that you can extract more value from your Membership Rewards points, you might not want to transfer all your hard-earned points into the program. However, if a free ticket is what you’re after, then save your cash and make a transfer.
What awards have you booked with Avianca LifeMiles in the past?