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Can’t find award availability with Avianca LifeMiles? Don’t give up until you try this trick

July 28, 2022
6 min read
Lufthansa Airbus A319 in Star Alliance livery
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Airline websites often have frustrating little quirks that make finding award availability harder than it needs to be. Frequent Miler recently outlined a helpful tip for those booking flights with Avianca LifeMiles, and we thought it would be of value to TPG readers.

Avianca is part of Star Alliance, a partnership of 26 airlines worldwide. You can use LifeMiles to book flights on Avianca’s many Star Alliance partners (and a few others, too). However, the website sometimes hides award inventory — unless you know the following trick.

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We’ll show you how to strongarm the LifeMiles website into giving you the flights you want. It doesn’t work every single time, but it’s a great plan B for when you’re not seeing award availability.

Outsmart Avianca’s award search tool to find the flights you want

(Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

When booking on LifeMiles.com, a drop-down menu exists above the area where you enter your travel details. The top three search options are:

  • Smart Search.
  • Avianca.
  • Star Alliance.

Further down the list, you can choose to make a more narrow search by selecting individual partners.

It would seem that “Smart Search” should utilize all options to present the best flights for your desired travel dates. But in practice, it underdelivers in a big way.

Let’s search for a business-class flight from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Poland's Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW). We’ll use the “Smart Search” option to locate flights — as most travelers would.

(Screenshot from lifemiles.com)

Using this method, the LifeMiles search cannot find any results for the week of Sept. 24, 2022. That’s frustrating, because we can see availability through other Star Alliance sites. Below is a business-class award on LOT Polish Airlines via the United Airlines site — but it doesn’t appear on the LifeMiles site.

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(Screenshot from United.com)

By switching the type of search on the LifeMiles site to “Star Alliance” instead of Smart Search, there are still no results for the week of Sept. 24, 2022.

(Screenshot from lifemiles.com)

However, because we’ve discovered through the United website that LOT Polish has a Saver Award available, we could instead ask LifeMiles to search specifically for LOT Polish flights via the drop-down menu.

(Screenshot from lifemiles.com)

Voila! The business-class LOT Polish ticket that we saw with United magically appears. We’ve effectively forced LifeMiles to examine LOT Polish as an option, which yielded the proper result (though interestingly, it still doesn’t show economy class to be available, as United did).

(Screenshot from lifemiles.com)

Related: Book this, not that: Star Alliance award tickets

How to earn Avianca LifeMiles

(Photo by Daniel Munoz/AFP/Getty Images)

Avianca LifeMiles is an award currency worth investing in. You’ll often find cheaper flights through LifeMiles than other competing airline currencies, particularly for premium seats on international routes. Read this post to learn how to book some of the best Avianca LifeMiles sweet spots.

Avianca is a partner of the following transferable points programs:

This makes LifeMiles one of the easiest currencies to earn. You can rack LifeMiles up quickly by opening cards such as:

Avianca also frequently publishes sales that allow you to buy LifeMiles at a huge discount. Just recently, Avianca awarded an up to 145% bonus on purchased miles.

Related: Transfer and maximize: The ultimate guide to Amex Membership Rewards

Bottom line

Searching Avianca’s LifeMiles website by individual airline can help you find award seats that won’t otherwise appear in the search results.

This technique won’t necessarily find every single award — but if you see inventory through another site like Air Canada Aeroplan or United Airlines that isn’t appearing with LifeMiles, trying this workaround should dramatically improve your success rate.

Featured image by dpa/picture alliance via Getty I
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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  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
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  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023