Up to 33% off Star Alliance award bookings with Avianca LifeMiles on select routes
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The Avianca LifeMiles program is a points and miles enthusiast’s secret weapon for booking Star Alliance awards for cheap. The program receives additional kudos for making its miles easy to earn, and for not passing along exorbitant fuel surcharges to flyers. Its latest sale allows members to redeem for Star Alliance flights to, from and within Asia with up to a 33% discount. You’ll need to redeem by March 12, 2020.
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The discounted awards are valid only on specific routes. Here are some examples of standout discounts:
- Bangkok (BKK) to Seoul (ICN): 31% off business class
- New York (JFK) to Shanghai (PVG): 27% off economy
- Singapore (SIN) to Chicago (ORD): 20% off business class
- Seoul to Bangkok: 33% off economy
- Shanghai to Vancouver (YVR): 20% off business class
- Los Angeles (LAX) to Seoul: 15% off business class
While Avianca advertises up to 33% off award bookings, you’ll only find a few deals that breach 30% — the overwhelming majority are 20% and below.
One of the biggest discounts is for economy flights between Seoul and Bangkok. You’ll pay just 13,500 miles one-way (a 6,500-mile discount). Or, you can fly business class for 25,000 miles (a 2,000-mile discount).
Avianca doesn’t fly these sale routes, so you’ll fly on its Star Alliance partners like Asiana and Air Canada. You can book fantastic products like Eva Air’s 777 between Shanghai and Los Angeles. This seat costs 64,000 miles each way (a discount of 11,000 miles).
EVA air business class (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)It’s hard to ignore that the vast majority of sale destinations are affected by the coronavirus outbreak. But if you’re heading to these areas of Asia anyway, this is a great opportunity to book at a discount.
How to quickly earn Avianca miles
You may have sufficient miles to jump on this sale, even if you don’t think you do. Avianca is a transfer partner of most major flexible points programs:
- American Express Membership Rewards — 1:1 transfer ratio
- Citi ThankYou Points — 1:1 transfer ratio
- Marriott Bonvoy — 3:1 transfer ratio with 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000-point increment you transfer
- Capital One miles — 2:1.5 transfer ratio
If you don’t have any of the above currencies, you also have the option to buy Avianca miles. Avianca normally sells miles for 3.3 cents each, but through Feb. 27, 2020, you can purchase them for much cheaper. One Mile at a Time has an exclusive offer giving readers up to a 140% bonus. And the Avianca website currently advertises a “2 for 1” sale, though you can receive an even higher discount, depending on the number of miles you purchase. For example:
- 1,000 miles: 1,000 mile bonus (1.65 cents each)
- 50,000 miles: 52,000 mile bonus (1.61 cents each)
- 100,000 miles: 115,000 mile bonus (1.53 cents each)
- 150,000 miles: 187,500 mile bonus (1.47 cents each)
Stacking this sale with the Avianca award sale can offer an excellent value for your money. For example, if you were to purchase 60,000 miles, you’d receive a bonus 69,000 miles and spend a total of $1,980. That’s enough for two one-way business-class flights between Shanghai and Los Angeles in the seat pictured above. Two business-class seats on this route normally cost around $3,400, meaning you’d save $1,420 by purchasing miles.
If you do buy miles, be sure to use a credit card that offers a high return on airline spending, because LifeMiles purchases are directly processed by Avianca. The Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5x Membership Rewards points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve earns 3x Ultimate Reward points per dollar on travel, including airline purchases.
You can even earn 40,000 bonus LifeMiles with the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card after your first purchase in the first 90 days of account opening. Or, you can enroll in the Avianca LifeMiles subscription program for one year to receive miles for as little as 1.35 cents each. That won’t help you much for this sale, but you’ll be ready for the next one.
Featured photo by Dave Stamboulis Travel Photography/Getty Images.
JT Genter contributed to this post.
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