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Avianca’s LifeMiles program is a great way of scoring Star Alliance awards for cheap. Aside from reasonable redemption rates, easy ways to accumulate miles and no fuel surcharges, it offers somewhat regular promotions — both for buying miles and booking awards.
The latest sale allows members to redeem for Star Alliance flights to/from and within Asia with up to a 31% discount. You’ll need to redeem by August 14, 2019, but your flights can occur beyond that.
The discounted awards are valid only on certain routes and city pairs, which you can see here. Some highlights include:
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG), Seoul (ICN), Shanghai (PVG) and Taipei (TPE)
- San Francisco (SFO) to Hong Kong and Taipei
- New York (JFK) to Beijing (PEK)
- Chicago (ORD) to Taipei
- Washington D.C. (IAD) to Beijing
- Houston (IAH) to Taipei
- Vancouver (YVR) to Beijing and Taipei
- London (LHR) to Taipei
The discounts vary by route and class of service. For example, you can save 10% on a first-class flight from New York or Washington D.C. to Beijing. The new award price would be just 81,000 miles one-way, down from the usual 90,000 mile rate.
Meanwhile business class between New York and Beijing wasn’t discounted, you can fly business class from Washington D.C. to Beijing or Los Angeles to Hong Kong, for instance, for 64,000 – 67,500 miles one-way, which is 10% – 15% less than the usual 75,000 miles requires.
Avianca doesn’t actually operate any of the routes on sale. So, you’ll find yourself on products like Air China’s first class to Beijing.
EVA Air’s business class on flights to Taipei.
Or Asiana business class on flights to Seoul.
The maximum 31% discount only applies to business class awards between Bangkok (BKK) and Seoul (ICN), which will bring the cost to 25,000 miles one-way instead of 36,000.
If you’re short LifeMiles, you can instantly transfer points from American Express, Capital One or Citi. Keep in mind that Capital One is offering a 25% bonus on all miles transferred to LifeMiles through July 31 so you could get fantastic value from your miles by stacking both of these promotions.
Another option is to purchase LifeMiles. The program just launched a new sale which allows members to buy LifeMiles with up to a 125% bonus. By pairing the buy miles promotion with this award sale, you could effectively buy one of those first class flights to Beijing discussed earlier for just $1,320 (plus $5.60 in taxes and fees) — those are flights that normally costs $8,000+ one-way.
To stretch your savings even further, you’ll want to use a credit card that offers a high return on airline spending since LifeMiles purchases are directly processed by Avianca. The Platinum Card® from American Express will earn 5x Membership Rewards points while the Chase Sapphire Reserve will earn 3x Ultimate Reward points per dollar.
Featured image of Air China’s 747-8 business class by Zach Honig / The Points Guy.
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