Avianca LifeMiles will now straight-up sell you elite status. And with this change they fully supplant US Airways’ role inside of the Star Alliance.
US Airways used to be known as ‘the official consolidator of Star Alliance premium cabin seats’ (HT: eponymous coward), the idea was that they would sell miles cheap and as a result let people buy the business and first class seats that the rest of the Star Alliance didn’t expect to sell for cash at a deep discount.
No one monetized their frequent flyer program, and the award seats of their partners like US Airways.
But now US Airways and American have merged, US Airways has left the Star Alliance.
Fortunately Avianca LifeMiles has stepped up to the plate — with frequent discounted mileage purchase offers (selling miles even cheaper that US Airways!), and now an offer to straight up sell elite status which is something US Airways used to do also.
Avianca LifeMiles Will Sell You Instant Silver and Gold Status
Avianca now sells their Silver and Gold (bottom and mid-tier) elite status, but not their top tier Diamond status.
Here are the prices:
Status updates within 24 hours of purchase. The membership kit can take up to 4 weeks to receive (and a membership card may be required for entrance into partner Star Alliance lounges). Status lasts one-year from purchase.
Who is This Good For?
It’s not worth it for Star Alliance Gold status alone, in my opinion, because you can buy a United lounge membership for about a quarter the cost (or get the United Club card, no fee the first year, which comes with lounge access).
Still, Star Alliance Gold benefits like priority boarding, extra checked baggage allowance, and lounge benefits are nice.
To make this offer worthwhile you need to have planned meaningful amounts of intra-South America travel or US-South America travel with Avianca planned.
Here are the LifeMiles elite benefits for Silver and Gold status:
The Most Valuable Redemption Program in Star Alliance
When the program joined Star Alliance a year and a half ago I declared it the most generous in the alliance.
After United’s devaluation, that’s highly likely true.
They are part of my “Devaluation Plan B” which is to look to international frequent flyer programs for value if and when US programs devalue further.
- They have a reasonably priced award chart
- There are no fuel surcharges
- They offer one-way awards
- They frequently sell miles cheap, ~ 1.5 cents apiece.
- They offer ‘cash and points’ which means that as long as you have 40% of the miles needed for an award you can buy the rest at the time of redemption for ~ 1.5 cents apiece.
That said, their call centers are frustrating and they don’t permit “mixed cabin” redemption — so if you are redeeming a transatlantic business class award, all segments need to be in business class (including domestic US flights, and intra-Europe flights).
A History of Changes Without Notice
(HT: Loyalty Lobby)