Four Great Ways to Get Tons of Avianca LifeMiles (Star Alliance)

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Avianca’s LifeMiles is a Star Alliance frequent flyer program. You can use their miles to redeem on airlines like United, Lufthansa, Thai, Asiana, Scandinavian, and Swiss.

They’re a transfer partner of two major currencies so you can combine points into a LifeMiles account, and you can earn their points quickly with their credit card as well. Not enough miles? They’re selling points very inexpensively.

In fact they’ve largely taken over the old US Airways role as the ‘official consolidator of Star Alliance premium class seats’. If there are excess seats on a Star Alliance airline, those airlines are — in effect — selling distressed inventory to LifeMiles members at a discount.

Here are (4) great ways to generate LifeMiles quickly that are available right now. Two are limited-time offers, and one is brand new.

Avianca is an Airline — and Not Just a Frequent Flyer Program That Sells Partner Seats Cheap

Transferring American Express Points

This week American Express added LifeMiles as a points transfer partner. There are several ways to pool points and amass points to generate a large LifeMiles balance.

The new American Express® Gold Card offers 4 Membership Rewards points per dollar at restaurants and on up to $25,000 in calendar year purchases at U.S. supermarkets. It earns 3 Membership Rewards points per dollar on flights booked directly with airlines and Meanwhile the Platinum Card® from American Express earns 5 Membership Rewards points per dollar on airline purchases.

Transferring Citibank Points

A year ago Citibank added Avianca’s LifeMiles as a points transfer partner.

This means you can combine points from American Express and from Citibank into the same account (as you can do with some other transfer partners) in order to amass points quickly and redeem for great awards.

Buy Them Cheap

Through Monday only LifeMiles are on sale with a 140% bonus. You’ll see the offer once you log in.

If you buy 101,000 – 200,000 miles you get a 140% bonus (lesser amounts of miles earn a lower bonus). At that level you’re buying LifeMiles at 1.375 cents apiece.

60,000 Miles for Credit Card Signup

LifeMiles has a US-issued credit card and in general I’m a fan of co-brand cards that aren’t issued by Chase, American Express, Citibank or even Bank of America. This one is from Banco Popular.

Via One Mile at a Time applying for either of these cards using promo code LM17WB by December 1 will yield an extra 20,000 bonus miles meaning that the premium card earns 60,000 after first purchase.

Using LifeMiles

LifeMiles is a fantastic Star Alliance program. I have a few hundred thousand of their miles, and I’ve never used them to travel on Avianca. Instead I use them for premium cabin awards on airlines like Lufthansa, Asiana, and Thai Airways. And I use their cash and points awards to book United’s domestic first class.

You can fly business class to Europe for 63,000 miles each way or Southeast Asia for 78,000. First class (Lufthansa) is 87,000 miles each way between the US and Europe.

Lifemiles has no fuel surcharges and a reasonable award chart. However not all connections are bookable, you’re pretty much limited to the options you see on their redemption website (which is serviceable) and telephone customer service is challenging (e-mail is better).

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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Editorial note: any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. Comments made in response to this post are not provided or commissioned nor have they been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any bank. It is not the responsibility of advertisers Citibank, Chase, American Express, Barclays, Capital One or any other advertiser to ensure that questions are answered, either. Terms and limitations apply to all offers.


  1. The current 140% bonus on purchased miles offer seems to be targeted. But there is another and cheaper way to accumulate these miles. Using the monthly subscription service to get Avianca LifeMiles, you can get them as low as 1.35 CPM collecting 112,000 miles over a 12-months period. You may cancel anytime, but full bonus only applies if you only complete the subscription period. Not sure if the subscription option is subject to annual purchase limits.

  2. Fantastic info…but I just went to the Lifemiles site to purchase miles and the promo offer is not there to buy the miles with a bonus yet? Hmmmm..thoughts? Thanks.

  3. Hi Gary

    Is it possible to get either or both the cards if one is based in Canada.
    I am aware Canadians can get ” Global American Express Cards”.
    If so, how is it possible ?


  4. Lifemiles has been devalued to the point where it’s all but worthless. Things to know
    – $200 cancellation fee per seat for long haul premium class
    – Spotty availability for LH, AC, UA, SQ awards that other programs can see
    – Many blacked-out connections on TG,
    – CA mostly errors out
    – and SK doesnt exist
    – Even if the site does show you your desired flight, when you come to checkout the website has a habit of failing “sorry there has been an error”

    And when you compare the price of buying a paid ticket and the miles you’d earn on it, it’s often better off than gambling on securing a Lifemiles award

  5. @Harry hv pretty much says it all. Gems are hard to find. Only if you are happy to endlessly scratch around the bottom of the barrel you may come across something.
    Perhaps the biggest downer is the penalty for changing or cancelling a flight, which must be done by phone; in itself a tedious process. In all a very customer-unfriendly experience.
    Not for the fainthearted, and certainly not for the impatient.

  6. The miles also expire. It’s a strange formula — you can’t keep them going only by using them, but I think you have to also get some periodically.
    Also, in my experience, they can offer some pretty weird itineraries for US trips — you can’t really build your trip, but take what they offer. I have had good luck booking from Richmond VA to HLN, flying on United.

  7. I love lifemiles. Have booked a ton of redemptions through them. The phone line isn’t even that bad anymore. Most of the ua searches show up minus some xn connections. But for Ord to Europe/Aus/japan its wonderful. And cheap

  8. After last April’s bonanza of Lufthansa first class availability a year out for most routes, this has completely dried up and there seems to be nothing available within two weeks of departure. I checked daily all through September and not one F seat from the US to FRA/MUC came up. Has anyone else experienced this or has anyone been able to book some lately? A worrying sign.

  9. Try the TripPlus website…I also tried to purchase via Lifemiles website directly, but no Bonus was offered…However, the TripPlus website does offer the Bonus program but I couldnt find the 140% bonus, only up to 135%…

  10. When you mention STAR alliance airlines, specially Lufthansa, may I suggest you be honest with readers that in order to redeem miles on LH Swiss and their partner ( in which LH has interest or ownership ) one must sell their kidney to full fill their dishonest and pathetic FUEL SURCHARGES which runs between $600 to $1000 if not less.

    Please be honest !!!

    Yes we know you get KICK BACK from these crooks like LH and BA but be honest and do right reporting.

  11. Keep in mind that Banco Popular is VERY VERY picky about who they issue cards too. I have excellent credit and a plenty high income and it took 3 weeks of back and forth via phone and emailing docs (pay stubs, w-2s, etc.) to get approved. Total hassle, but worth the buy-tic-tacs-Get-60k Miles. Just be prepared to work for it.

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