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INSIDER SECRET: Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance, so it’s a useful program for booking awards with United Airlines, Lufthansa, TAP Portugal, Turkish Airlines and many other carriers.
Through July 5, 2019, you can get a 25% bonus on Citi ThankYou points and select hotel points transfers to Avianca.
This is a promotion run by Avianca, not Citi ThankYou or the hotels. So Avianca will credit the bonus points to your account after the transfer is made. The terms say you’ll receive the bonus miles within 45 days, although people have reported receiving their bonus miles instantly.
Avianca LifeMiles Transfer Bonus
The hotel transfer partners that are also part of this promotion are IHG, Hilton and Marriott. Of those three only Marriott is worth considering because the other two have poor transfer ratios. You can transfer Marriott points to Avianca at a 3:1 ratio and you’ll earn 5,000 bonus Avianca miles for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer. So if you transferred 60,000 Marriott points during this promotion you’d earn 6,250 bonus Avianca miles (31,250 miles total).
You can see the full promotion details here.
Avianca might not be the first place you think of for booking award flights, but it can be a valuable program. Keep in mind that you’ll be charged a $25 award-booking fee (for most awards), even for online bookings. And Avianca phone agents have a reputation for providing poor customer service.
But Avianca doesn’t add fuel surcharges to award tickets and because it is a Star Alliance member it has access to lots of of flights to Europe. And even though Avianca does have a Star Alliance-partner award chart, in practice award prices can be all over the place. Prices tend to vary, based on which cities you’re flying to/from. Also, one-way award prices are sometimes different, depending on which direction you’re traveling.
For example, Nick from Frequent Miler uncovered flights from New York (JFK) to Zurich for only 16,500 miles one-way in economy. But the same flight costs 30,000 miles if you’re flying from Zurich to JFK.
You’ll also notice that business-class flights from the US to Europe normally cost only 63,000 Avianca miles, which is spectacular when you add in the fact that you’ll also avoid paying hundreds of dollars in fuel surcharges.
With the transfer bonus, you’d need to transfer 14,000 Citi ThankYou points to book the JFK-to-Zurich flight because ThankYou points only transfer in 1,000-point increments. And you’d only need to transfer 51,000 Citi ThankYou points to book a business-class flight from the US to Europe.
Again, in both of these scenarios that’s assuming that Avianca posts your bonus miles instantly, but some people have reported that that is the case. If you have an experience one way or the other with this promotion, please let me know in the comments.
- Citi Premier℠ Card
- Citi Prestige®
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card
- Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card
You can also earn Avianca LifeMiles directly with the:
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Hat tip: Miles Talk