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Looking for another way to book Star Alliance award tickets?
You can buy Avianca miles and get a 100% bonus until May 30, 2014.
How Does It Work?
Link: Buy Avianca LifeMiles
You can buy up to 75,000 miles with this deal, and earn a 75,000 mile bonus (150,000 miles total).
Avianca charges $30 per 1,000 miles, or 3 cents per mile. So if you buy the maximum (75,000) miles, you’ll pay $2,250 and get 150,000 miles. You’ll pay 1.5 cents per mile ($2,250 cost of miles / 150,000 miles = 1.5 cents).
There are a few conditions on this deal:
- You can only buy a maximum of 150,000 miles per calendar year
- You had to have been a member of the LifeMiles program before May 5, 2014 (so you can’t create a new account just to participate in the promotion)
- The miles you buy won’t count toward elite status
Where Can You Go With Avianca Miles?
I like that you can use their miles on any Star Alliance airline, including United Airlines, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and Singapore Airlines. You can use miles to book 1-way award tickets, and they do NOT add fuel surcharges. And you can book flights on-line.
Note: You can only book flights that appear when you search online. You can NOT call in to book flights that don’t appear in Avianca’s online search.
But their telephone customer service is poor, so you might have a hard (read = impossible) time booking an award ticket over the phone. And they don’t allow mixed cabin awards, which means you can’t book a Business Class ticket on 1 segment and coach on another.
This isn’t good if you live in a smaller city that only has regional jet (coach class only) service, but want to book a Business or First Class ticket to Europe or Asia.
You can see how many Avianca miles you need by looking at their Star Alliance award chart. It shows the number of miles needed for a round-trip ticket, so just divide by 2 to figure out the miles needed for a 1-way ticket.
For example, you could fly round-trip in coach from North America to:
- USA and Canada (but not Hawaii) for 25,000 miles
Mexico for 35,000 miles
- The Caribbean for 35,000 miles
- The North of South America for 40,000 miles (includes Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru)
Hawaii for 40,000 miles
Or you could fly 1-way in coach from North America to:
- Europe or the South of South America for 30,000 miles (includes Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Brazil)
- North or South Asia for 32,500 miles (for example Japan, China, Korea, Thailand, The Philippines and more)
- The Middle East, Africa, or Central Asia (for example India, Maldives, Nepal, and more) for 40,000 miles
Or you could use your miles to fly 1-way in Business Class from North America to:
- US and Canada (but not Hawaii) for 25,000 miles
- Mexico for 30,000 miles
- The Caribbean for 30,000 miles
- The North of South America for 35,000 miles (includes Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Peru)
- Hawaii for 40,000 miles
Or you could use your miles to fly 1-way in First Class from North America to:
- US and Canada (but not Hawaii) for 35,000 miles
- Mexico and the Caribbean for 40,000 miles
Is It Worth It?
When you book award tickets with Avianca miles you’ll sometimes get a better deal than if you use miles from other Star Alliance airlines like United Airlines!
For example, a 1-way ticket from North America to Hawaii in coach costs 22,500 miles if you use United Airlines miles. But if you use Avianca miles, it will only cost you 20,000 miles.
And a 1-way ticket from North America to Europe in Business Class using United Airline miles costs 70,000 miles. But Avianca only charges 52,500 miles!
Let’s look at a couple of examples to see if it’s worth buying the miles.
1. North America to Hawaii in Coach
It costs 40,000 Avianca miles to fly round-trip from North America to Hawaii in coach.
If you bought these miles through this promotion, you’d pay $600 (40,000 miles x 1.5 cents per mile). That’s not bad for a round-trip coach ticket to Hawaii, if you can find award seats!
To compare, I searched a random date on Kayak from Austin to Honolulu, and the cheapest fare was $812.
So as long as you can find award seats, you’d save money by using Avianca miles bought through this promotion, instead of paying for a cash ticket. (But you won’t earn miles on an award ticket!).
On Kayak, I looked for Austin to Honolulu flights from December 19, 2014, to December 28, 2014. The cash fare is $1,450! But then I looked for award tickets and there were none available.
The Avianca award chart doesn’t differentiate between high season and low season, so if you’re able to find award seats during popular travel times, you could get a good deal buying miles.
2. North America to Europe in Business Class
Avianca charges 105,000 miles for a round-trip Business Class award ticket to Europe. If you bought the miles during this promotion, you’d pay $1,575 (105,000 miles x 1.5 cents per mile).
That’s pretty good for a Business Class ticket to Europe, if award seats are available.
To compare, I searched a random date from New York to Paris on Kayak. The cheapest round-trip Business Class fare was $5,874 on Lufthansa.
In this case, you’d save a lot of money by using Avianca miles to buy an award ticket. But again, the seats have to be available for the flights you want. And you’ll still spend some money (although $1,575 for a Business Class ticket to Europe is quite good!).
You’ll have to decide for yourself if this is worth it for you. It depends on the flights and dates you want!
This works out to 1.5 cents per mile, which is not bad!
You could use miles to fly on any Star Alliance airline. In some cases, using miles bought through this promotion is much cheaper than buying a paid ticket. So if you can find award seats, this could be a very good deal.
Will you take advantage of this promotion? Where do you plan to go?