We devote thousands of hours of research to help you get Big Travel with Small Money. You support us by signing-up for credit cards through partner links which earn us a commission. Here’s our full Advertising Policy.
Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
There’s a new limited-time offer on the US Bank Avianca card.
Through December 31, 2015, you can earn 35,000 Avianca miles when you sign-up for the card and meet the minimum spending requirements.
Emily and I don’t receive a commission when you apply for this offer, but we’ll always let you know about the best deals!
If you already have Avianca miles, this is a good way to top off your account. But it’s NOT the best offer if you’re getting started with miles and points.
I’ll explain the details of the offer, and show you what you can do with the sign-up bonus. And if you’re new, I’ll recommend a couple of other cards to get you started.
About the US Bank Avianca Card
Link: US Bank Avianca Card
Doctor of Credit reports a new offer for the US Bank Avianca card. The regular sign-up bonus on the US Bank Avianca card is 20,000 Avianca miles after you make your 1st purchase.
But the new offer is for 35,000 Avianca miles, if you sign-up before December 31, 2015.
Here’s how the offer works. You
- 20,000 miles when you make your 1st purchase
- Another 15,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases in the 1st 3 months
- 2X Avianca miles per $1 you spend on Avianca
- 1X Avianca mile per $1 you spend on regular purchases
- 6,000 Avianca miles on your card anniversary each year
- 50% discount on excess baggage charges on Avianca
- Annual fee waived for the 1st year, then $75
Keep in mind you’ll pay 2% to 3% in foreign transaction fees, so it’s NOT a good card to take overseas.
Note: The terms and conditions on this offer say if you’re NOT eligible for the Visa Signature card (the 1 with the 35,000 bonus miles offer), US Bank may issue you a regular Visa card or a secured Visa card. The sign-up bonuses on those cards are only 15,000 or 5,000 Avianca miles.
There’s no way to tell which card you’ll get until they process your application! If you don’t get the Visa Signature card with 35,000 miles, you’ll automatically be considered for the other cards with a lower sign-up bonus, on even a secured credit card.
So only apply if you’re reasonably sure you’ll get the card with the highest offer! Otherwise, it’s a waste of a hard pull on your credit report.
The highest the sign-up bonus on this card has ever been is 40,000 Avianca miles. So this offer is the closest you’ll get if you want to open the card through the end of the year.
What Can You Do With 35,000 Avianca Miles?
Link: Avianca Award Calculator
Link: Avianca Airline Partners
I’ve written about how to book United Airlines award flights with Avianca miles.
A great perk of Avianca’s program is they do NOT add fuel surcharges to award flights on any of their airline partners! Fuel surcharges can add hundreds of dollars to your award ticket.
35,000 Avianca miles is enough for a round-trip coach award flight to:
- Anywhere in the Caribbean
- Anywhere in the US, Canada, or Alaska
You’ll need 40,000 Avianca miles to fly round-trip in coach to northern South America. And award flights to Hawaii are 22,500 Avianca miles each way. So this bonus will get you most of the miles required for these awards.
Are There Drawbacks?
The biggest drawback is Avianca does not allow mixed cabin awards. So, if you find available award seats in Business Class on 1 flight, it cannot be combined with a coach award seat on other flights (even if you don’t mind flying coach!).
So you’d have to figure out another way to book a flight back home!
If your home airport is served by a regional jet with only coach seats, you won’t be able to book a connecting flight in Business Class on the same award!
In addition, they do NOT allow a connection of more than 12 hours (most airlines allow you up to 24 hours for connections), and you’ll have less-than-ideal customer service when it comes to making reservation changes.
If you can’t book your award flight on the website, you may have trouble booking it when you call. Telephone customer service isn’t very good, so you may have to hang up and call again until you find a representative that can help you.
Note: Avianca is also known for changing their award program with little notice. So you may not want to sign-up for the card or buy miles unless you plan on redeeming the miles soon.
Who Should Get This Card?
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Citi ThankYou Premier
If your goal is to get award flights on Star Alliance partners, you can do better by applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi ThankYou Premier cards. That’s because both types of points transfer to airlines that have access to the same award flights.
Note: You can NOT transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points or Citi ThankYou points to Avianca. And you can NOT combine them (or any other type of miles) with Avianca miles.
Chase Ultimate Rewards points transfer at a 1:1 ratio to airline partners like United Airlines and Singapore Airlines for Big Travel! There are never any transfer fees and most transfers are instant. In fact Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program!
With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll earn 40,000 Ultimate Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.
Or, you can open a Citi ThankYou Premier card and earn 50,000 bonus Citi ThankYou Points after $3,000 in purchases within the 1st 3 months of account opening. Here’s my review of the card. (EXPIRED.)
Citi ThankYou points also transfer 1:1 to Singapore Airlines for cheap award flights within the US and to Hawaii.
Plus, the sign-up bonuses on both cards are higher than the US Bank Avianca card. And because both types of points are transferable to several partners, you have much more flexibility. They’re both great cards to have if you’re new to miles and points. And they don’t have foreign transaction fees!
It might be challenging to earn the miles for a more expensive award ticket with the US Bank Avianca card, because there aren’t any bonus spending categories. Most spending will only earn 1 Avianca mile per $1 you spend.
But, if you already have a lot of credit cards from other banks, this could be a good option for you. Especially if you’ve already begun collecting Avianca miles!
Note: US Bank is known for being strict about approving folks who’ve recently applied for lots of credit cards. So you might want to wait if you’ve had a lot of recent credit inquiries.
The sign-up bonus on the Avianca LifeMiles Card has increased to 35,000 Avianca miles through December 31, 2015. You can use Avianca miles to book award tickets on Star Alliance airlines, like United Airlines or Lufthansa.
We don’t earn a commission on this card, but we’ll always tell you about the best offers!
The sign-up bonus is enough for a round-trip coach award flight within North America, or to the Caribbean or Mexico. You can also get a 1-way coach award flight to Hawaii. But it’s difficult to earn more Avianca LifeMiles with this card.
And, you might not get approved for the 35,000 bonus miles version of the card and get a lesser card with only 15,000 or 5,000 bonus miles.
If you’re new to miles and points, I recommend other cards like Chase Sapphire Preferred or Citi ThankYou Premier because their points are more flexible and you can access Star Alliance award flights with them through United Airlines or Singapore Airlines miles.
But this could be worth considering for folks with lots of cards, or if you’ve already started collecting Avianca miles.