Over the past week and a half AviancaTaca LifeMiles has made some modest mileage price increases in their award chart and increased the cash component of cash and points awards from 1.3 to about 1.5 cents per mile.
These changes were made without any advance notice (as they’ve made earlier changes to their award chart as well).
Some frequent flyers went rather ballistic on the LifeMiles Facebook page. Their social media reps were at first denying that any changes had been made.
Now, apparently, LifeMiles has sent out an email acknowledging the changes. I haven’t received it, perhaps because I subscribe in Spanish (thinking I’d get more info out of them if they don’t have to first translate to English – guess not).
Here, German frequent flyer site vielfliegertreff.de, with the aid of Google Translate:
In the last week we have some adjustments to the tables of the redemption of miles for airline tickets. These changes, especially the only Star Alliance member airlines flights to and from Oceania, Africa, Asia and the Middle East operated. We have not made any changes to the tables of redemption between the Americas.
Based on market conditions, these adjustments the miles up to 5,000 Miles for Economy Class Life up to 10,000 Miles Life Business Class and up to 25,000 Miles First Class Life increased required.
Given historical data, the adjustments affect less than 1% of the tickets in Life Miles redeemed.
Apart from the changes mentioned above, for the first time in more than two years, we have a minimal increase in the price of miles that are purchased when our customers flexible use payment option.
This does not affect most of the redemptions in Life Miles. The cost of purchased miles through Flexible Payment is clear in the redemption process and the tool allows our customers until needed, the number of miles that you think is correct to a maximum of 60% of the miles for redemption of a ticket . purchase
Thank you and we always have the feedback that we. Fanpage of our partners and value your preferences
I’m sure it’s more articulate in the original.
And I think it’s actually quite a reasonable note, although for most members the claim that the price of the cash component of awards hasn’t gone up in two years falls on deaf ears as the program has only been a part of the Star Alliance for 11 months.
Still, I don’t see the changes as that draconian though I certainly don’t like them. The real issue is that the changes are made with no advance notice whatsoever, and not even with contemporaneous acknowledgment.
Programs should provide reasonable notice before making changes so that members who have been saving up for awards don’t have the rug pulled out from underneath them. No program should operate like Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football.
I’d have been perfectly fine with things if they had brought these changes to the attention of members in advance.
Instead, it serves as a good illustration and reminder that programs can and do make changes whenever they wish (although in Europe sometimes that generates litigation). And it’s why I don’t like carrying huge mileage balances to save for a future time, or buying miles without a specific immediate purpose.