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Get up to 20% off Star Alliance awards to Asia through LifeMiles — including business and first class

Sept. 08, 2020
5 min read
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Today, Avianca LifeMiles announced an award sale for a handful of flights between North America and Asia. These flights depart from New York-JFK, Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Vancouver (YVR) and offer discounts of up to 20%. Discounted destinations include Tokyo-Haneda (HND), Tokyo-Narita (NRT), Seoul (ICN), and Taipei (TPE) and include economy class, business class and first class.

However, is this sale worth jumping on right now? Let's dive in and look at some actual redemption rates as well as things to consider before booking.

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You can use this sale to book ANA First Suite for cheap. (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

A closer look at the sale

You can view the full list of discounted destinations alongside their sale price here. The largest discount is offered on flights between San Francisco and either Tokyo-area airport — during the sale, you can book the ticket for 29,000 LifeMiles one-way in economy class, 60,000 in business and 72,000 in first class. This is 17% off the standard price of 35,000 LifeMiles in coach and 20% off the standard prices of 75,000 and 90,000 LifeMiles in business and first class. The discounted rates are available for all Star Alliance partners, including ANA, EVA Air and Air Canada.

Here's a sampling of other deals you can book:

  • HND to/from JFK/LAX from 30,000 miles in economy (14% off), 60,000 in business (20% off) and 76,500 in first class (15% off)
  • ICN to/from LAX from 64,000 miles in business (15% off) and 76,500 in first (15% off)
  • TPE to/from YVR from 64,000 miles in business (15% off)
  • NRT to/from JFK/LAX from 64,000 miles in business (15% off) and 76,500 in first (15% off)

You can book discounted flights between now and Sept. 25. 2020. The sale applies to flights through the end of calendar, so you can use it to book travel for summer 2021. All flights are bookable on the LifeMiles website and have only minimal taxes and fees added.

(Image courtesy of Avianca LifeMiles)

Related: Hidden gems of the Avianca LifeMiles program

Read this before you book

Before you utilize your hard-earned transferable points to take advantage of this promotion, make sure to keep Avianca's financial state in mind. The airline filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. earlier this year. This means that the airline can continue to operate during its bankruptcy, but the future of the company is still uncertain.

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While it's likely that Avianca will survive the coronavirus travel downturn, there's no way to be sure. LifeMiles operates as a separate entity from Avianca, so there's a good chance your miles would be safe regardless if the airline becomes insolvent. That said, LifeMiles members could lose the ability to redeem miles on Star Alliance flights, so your tickets and miles could be rendered worthless.

Related: What does Avianca’s bankruptcy filing mean for the LifeMiles program?

Earning Avianca LifeMiles

There are a handful of ways to earn Avianca LifeMiles, but our favorite is transferring points from American Express Membership Rewards points. These points transfer instantly to Avianca LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. Here's a look at the best cards for earning Membership Rewards points:

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express – Earn 100,000 points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the card in the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Gold Card – 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first six months of card membership.
  • American Express® Business Gold Card – Earn 70,000 bonus points after you spend $10,000 on eligible purchases in the first three months of card membership.
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express – Earn 120,000 points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. Terms apply.

If you're considering either the Amex Platinum or Amex Gold card, be sure to check the CardMatch Tool as well, since many TPG readers have recently been targeted for enhanced welcome bonuses of up to 100,000 points (offer subject to change at any time).

Bottom line

This sale presents a great way to book tickets to Asia for late 2020 and beyond. Just be aware that there's no guarantee that the coronavirus outbreak will be fully contained by the time you're set to travel. So make sure you read through the airline's cancellation policy before you book. Other than that, these tickets are worth considering if you're looking for a post-coronavirus trip abroad.

Additional reporting by Andrew Kunesh.

Feature photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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