Buy One-Way Star Alliance Award Tickets at a Discount: Avianca LifeMiles 100% Purchase Bonus Back for August

Avianca is back with a 100% bonus on purchased LifeMiles through August 30.

That brings the price of purchased miles down from 3 cents to 1.5 cents apiece — which is cheaper than purchasing US Airways under their 100% bonus.

Lifemiles seems to run these bonuses quite frequently.

You can buy up to 75,000 miles under this offer and will receive 150,000 miles. The most miles you can buy in a calendar year is 150,000. (That means if you max out this bonus that’s also your limit for the year.)

The rules say you have to have been enrolled in the prior prior to August 1 to take advantage of the offer. They say that each time they run this bonus, which is why I suggest enrolling in the program even speculatively just in case you want to buy miles through a future offer.

The Lifemiles program is one of my ‘hedges’ against US frequent flyer programs going ‘revenue-based’. If US airlines kill the value of their award charts, there are frequent flyer programs all over the world and they certainly won’t all make similar changes at the same time. So I can take refuge in the really valuable non-US programs.

Positives about the Avianca Lifemiles program:

  • The award chart is pretty reasonable for most destinations
  • One-way awards are available for half the cost of roundtrip
  • They offer cash and points awards bookings. As long as you have at least 40% of the miles needed for an award in your account, you can buy the difference in miles for ~ 1.5 cents per mile.
  • No fuel surcharges on awards
  • Online booking of Star Alliance partners is available

Negatives about the Avianca Lifemiles program:

  • No mixed-class awards, all flights need to be in the same booking class — so you cannot add a domestic coach segment to an international business class award, for instance.
  • Program changes (albeit mostly minor tweaks) have been made multiple times without notice — some award chart increases, and increases in the cost of cash and points awards.
  • No long or overnight connections or open jaws can be booked online.
  • Unhelpful call center agents.

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About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. @Gary — You should also note that these purchases are processed as foreign transactions, so be sure to use a card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees! (I’ve made this mistake before!)

  2. I’m trying to sign up for the program but it keeps giving me an error box in the zip code section asking for me to input the “Area code”. Has anyone run into this? I tried adding the 4 digits at the end of the zip code as well but that didn’t work either.

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if after this promotion is completed and people have already bought miles, that they once again increase the cash & points cost like they did after the May 2013 promotion.

  4. I think AV is the NEW official consolidator for *A premium class inventory, given US’s price increases and departure from the alliance.

    And you can quote me on that. 😉

  5. @Gene, are you sure? I did a purchase last year with the Amex PRG and there was no foreign transaction fee added!!!

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