Avianca Pricing Awards to London Significantly Below Published Rates

Dec 20, 2018

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There’s something strange going on with Avianca’s Lifemiles award pricing. We’re finding award flights from the US to Europe on Star Alliance carriers for much less than Avianca’s published rates.

Normally, Lifemiles charges 30,000 miles one-way for flights between the US and Europe. However, we are seeing prices as low as 17,500 miles one-way. As far as we know, there’s no published sale on these routes and it also only appears to be affecting flights to London Heathrow. We conducted searches with a handful of other European cities but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

Unfortunately we’re only seeing economy awards at the lower price — you’ll still have to pay 63,000 miles for a business class ticket. Although all Star Alliance carriers like United and Lufthansa have the discounted pricing.

United Economy on the Boeing 767. Image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

Flights from Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR) are pricing at 17,500 miles one-way — that’s 12,500 miles less than the standard pricing.

We are seeing other routes including Newark (EWR), Charlotte (CLT), Boston (BOS) and Washington, DC (IAD), to London Heathrow at 20,000 miles one way.

Even better, these awards are pricing like this throughout the calendar, like this nonstop flight from Washington Dulles to London Heathrow in July, which is during peak summer travel season.

It also appears to be working on some return legs, too, like this round-trip itinerary from Washington, DC, to London in May for 40,000 miles total:

However, Lifemiles was pricing the return flight from London to Chicago normally at 30,000 miles. So round-trip you’d be paying 47,500 miles plus taxes and fees.

If you do want to book these, you can transfer Citi ThankYou points or American Express Membership Rewards points to Lifemiles at a 1:1 ratio. Just note that because this may be a glitch, it’s possible Avianca won’t honor these awards — and since you can’t transfer miles back once they’re in your Lifemiles account, make sure you can use them for anther booking or be willing to pay the published rate of 30,000 miles.

Also note that you might not be getting the best value out of your miles by booking an economy award, especially considering the taxes you’ll pay to fly out of London and how cheap cash fares to Europe have been recently. Still, if you were planning on going to London this year, this could be worth taking advantage if prices are high from your departure city.

If you do find other routes that are pricing below normal rates, comment below and share what you’ve discovered!

Featured image by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.

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