Avianca Vida Credit Card Review: Earn up to 40,000 Miles (Limited Time) and Take Advantage of Cheaper Star Alliance Award Flights

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INSIDER SECRET: The Avianca Vida Visa Card offers discounts when you purchase Avianca LifeMiles.

If you are willing to be flexible and creative, you may find the Avianca Vida Visa® Card rewarding. For a limited time, you can earn up to 40,000 Avianca LifeMiles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. This offer expires December 31, 2019.

Even if you never plan to fly Avianca or travel to South America, you can redeem Avianca LifeMiles for award flights on other Star Alliance member airlines like United Airlines, SWISS, Turkish, Singapore Airlines and more. On top of that, there are a number of sweet spots within the LifeMiles program that can even save you quite a few miles compared to booking with a different program.

For example, a first-class flight to North Asia would cost you 120,000 United Airlines miles one-way, but you would only have to pay 90,000 LifeMiles for the same flights. There are many similar examples that we’ll mention further on.

Once you have some miles in the bank, Avianca offers a myriad of ways to combine them with miles that are purchased or generated through transfer bonuses. This can get you well on your way to an award flight.

Here’s our full Avianca Vida Card review.

Find out how to spend a few days in Hong Kong for a great price in our Avianca Vida Credit Card review. (Photo by Ronnie Chua/Shutterstock)

Avianca Vida Bonus

Apply Here: Avianca Vida Visa Card

For a limited time with the Avianca Vida card, you can earn up to 40,000 Avianca miles (called LifeMiles) after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements:

  • 20,000 Avianca LifeMiles after your first purchase in the first 90 days
  • 20,000 bonus Avianca LifeMiles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

To earn the 20,000 bonus miles after qualifying purchases, you must enter promo code SB4060 when you complete your application.

Although this offer is double the usual bonus, LifeMiles can be more difficult to use than other airline miles.

It’s easy to get 1.7 cents per mile in value, making the welcome bonus worth $680. It’s possible to get considerably more value than that out of the miles depending on how you use them. For example, you can book a transcontinental flight in United Polaris Business Class for only 25,000 Avianca LifeMiles. You’ll have more than enough points for this redemption after earning the sign-up bonus, and it will offer value above 1.7 cents per mile.

Fly across the country in United Polaris Business Class for a cheaper price than United Airlines charges. (Photo courtesy of United Airlines)

If you can find availability, which can be more limited than with other airline programs, you can enjoy great value with LifeMiles. A one way trip from North America to Europe in business class costs just 63,000 LifeMiles. And it’s 79,000 LifeMiles in business class from North America to Southeast Asia.

Unlike other airline programs, LifeMiles charges less for mixed cabin itineraries, which is a great way to save some miles if you don’t mind flying in coach for your short flights. For example, if you fly in coach between New York and Houston, and then in business class from San Francisco to Buenos Aires, the price is less than if you traveled the entire way in business class.

And best of all, there are no fuel surcharges with LifeMiles.

Benefits and Perks of the Avianca Vida Card

Being a mid-tier travel card, the Avianca Vida Card isn’t packed full of benefits, but there are a few worth knowing about.

Discounts on Purchased Miles

Avianca frequently offers sales for purchasing miles, and with the Avianca Vida Visa card, you can always get a 15% discount on mile purchases with Multiply Your Miles.

Secondary Auto Rental Insurance

This benefit provides secondary comprehensive and collision coverage, which means that if something happens to your rental car, you’ll have to make a claim to your own car rental insurance first but your credit card coverage will kick in for anything that your personal car insurance doesn’t cover.

Since most car insurance won’t cover international rentals, your Avianca Vida card will take care of you when renting abroad. Note that liability insurance is not provided, and this may be a required extra purchase throughout Avianca’s destination markets.

Travel Accident Insurance

We all hope that nothing happens to us while we’re traveling, but it’s good to have a credit card that will offer coverage, just in case. The Avianca Vida card offers limited travel accident insurance in case you ever need it.

Is the Avianca Vida Card Worth the Annual Fee?

Is it worth $59 to score up to 40,000 LifeMiles? Sure. But, it’s probably not the best option out there for most people.

The more premium Avianca Vuela Visa® Card offers up to 60,000 LifeMiles after meeting similar tiered minimum spending requirements, and but it offers a lot of additional benefits that would likely make paying the higher annual fee worth it. Through December 31, 2019, you’ll earn:

  • 20,000 Avianca LifeMiles after your first purchase in the first 90 days
  • 20,000 bonus Avianca LifeMiles after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 90 days of account opening

For most people, the Avianca Vida Card doesn’t pencil out.

That said, if you can get enough value from the 15% Multiply Your Miles discount to cover the fee, that may be the only case where it’s worth hanging on to the Avianca Vida Card.

The toughest thing about this card is qualifying. The Avianca Vida Card is available only to people who have never held either the Avianca Vuela or Avianca Vida Card from Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. Additionally, it’s tough to qualify for this card. Even if you have a high income and credit score, it’s not unusual for Banco Popular de Puerto Rico to require tax returns or deny applications outright.

Also keep in mind that if you get this card, it will count toward your Chase 5/24 status. That means if there are Chase cards you are thinking about applying for, it might make sense to get those first. Once you are over 5/24, you won’t generally be able to get most Chase cards.

How to Earn LifeMiles With Avianca Vida Card

The Avianca Vida card is a fairly standard airline rewards card.

For ongoing spend, you will earn:

  • 2 LifeMiles per dollar spent on Avianca purchases
  • 1 LifeMile per dollar spent on everything else

Overall, this card isn’t a great option for ongoing spend.

How to Use Avianca LifeMiles

An entire article could be dedicated to using the LifeMiles program. LifeMiles has its own website and offers a decent award booking engine. In fact, you have to complete your bookings online, so what you see is what you get.

While it’s definitely possible to book great award flights, keep in mind that availability is often more limited than with other StarAlliance programs.

You can redeem Avianca LifeMiles to fly on Avianca or on their Star Alliance partners. (Photo by Philip Pilosian/Shutterstock)

As an award program, LifeMiles is pretty simple. But you should go in with the right set of expectations. You can book what shows up on the website, and you can’t book what doesn’t.

No stopovers or complicated routings are permitted. Remember, in exchange for somewhat limited availability and limited routing options, LifeMiles has lower redemption rates than other programs and no fuel surcharges (there is a $25 redemption fee applied to one-way or round-trip itineraries).

We’ve mentioned a few of our favorite Avianca redemptions already, but here are a few more to get you thinking about your next trip:

  • Fly Lufthansa first class to Europe, starting at 87,000 LifeMiles one-way. The same flights would cost 110,000 United miles.
  • Fly across the US in business class on United Airlines for only 25,000 LifeMiles one-way. The same flights would cost 35,000 United miles.
  • Fly from the US to Australia or New Zealand in coach for only 40,000 LifeMiles one-way. This is the same price that United would charge.
  • Fly from the US to South Asia in coach for only 39,000 LifeMiles one-way. This is 1,000 fewer miles each way than United would charge.
  • Fly from the US to Southern South America in coach for only 30,000 LifeMiles one-way. United would charge 40,000 miles for the same flights.

One unique benefit of LifeMiles is the myriad of mileage purchase options. If you’re short the number of miles needed for an award, you can buy the rest at a rate of about 1.5 cents each, which is pretty low as far as the cost of buying miles goes.

And during their frequent sales, they offer LifeMiles for as little as 1.375 cents each. If you pay for mileage purchases with your Avianca Vida card, you’ll earn double miles on these purchases, and you’ll also receive a 15% discount.

Does the Avianca Vida Card Charge Foreign Transaction Fees?

Yes, so the Avianca Vida Card is not a good card to use for purchases abroad or purchases in foreign currencies.

Customer Support for the Avianca Vida Credit Card

In a word, challenging. It’s best to fully manage the card online if possible. Customer service is based in Puerto Rico and is available during Puerto Rico hours.

Similar Cards to the Avianca Vida Credit Card

Before you decide to apply for the Avianca Vida Credit Card, consider these cards that offer similar benefits to make sure you are getting the best card for you.

  • Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card
  • Read our review of the Capital One Venture
    • Welcome bonus of 50,000 Venture miles after spending $3,000 on purchases within the first three months. If you’re looking for a card that offers a simple earning structure — 2 Venture miles per dollar spent on all purchases — then this card might be for you. You can transfer Venture miles to Avianca LifeMiles at a less favorable 2:1.5 ratio. This card also has a $95 annual fee. Check out our review of the Capital One Venture.
  • Avianca Vuela Visa Card
  • Read our review of the Avianca Vuela
    • Welcome bonus of up to 60,000 LifeMiles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements. This card offers all of the benefits of the Avianca Vida Card, and then some. See our review of the Avianca Vuela credit card for more details.

Bottom Line

Overall, the Avianca Vida Visa isn’t the best card for earning Avianca LifeMiles, but with an increased limited-time welcome offer of up to 40,000 Avianca miles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements, it’s a good time to take another look. This offer expires December 31, 2019.

It can take some work to get approved, and some effort to use the points. You’ll only get basic benefits from this card like:

  • Discounts on purchased miles
  • Secondary auto rental insurance
  • Travel accident insurance

If you’re willing to invest the time, it’s better to go for the Avianca Vuela Visa and earn up to 60,000 LifeMiles after meeting tiered minimum spending requirements for a $149 annual fee. This is also a limited-time offer through December 31, 2019

That said, even if you never plan to fly Avianca, LifeMiles are great for Star Alliance awards. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Fly Lufthansa first class to Europe starting at 87,000 LifeMiles one-way
  • Fly from the US to Southern South America for only 30,000 LifeMiles each way in coach
  • Fly across the US in United Polaris business class for only 25,000 LifeMiles each way

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Caroline Lupini is a contributor to Million Mile Secrets, she covers topics on points and miles, credit cards, airlines, hotels, and general travel.

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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