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TravelIs an Avianca LifeMiles+ subscription worth it?

Is an Avianca LifeMiles+ subscription worth it?

Avianca’s loyalty program, LifeMiles, has always held a unique position for points and miles enthusiasts. The South American carrier has long been one of the best-value ways to book business- and first-class flights on Star Alliance partners such as Lufthansa, United Airlines and Swiss at the lowest rates. Avianca has retained a sensible award chart while other programs have moved to dynamic pricing — but the low rates come at a cost.

LifeMiles is equally well known for its poor IT infrastructure and telephone support, so making changes or canceling an Avianca or partner flight has become a point of contention between some TPG staffers and the loyalty program.

However, it seems the carrier is implementing positive changes to Avianca LifeMiles to improve the overall brand.

In addition to launching two new Avianca-branded credit cards in the United States, LifeMiles has also unveiled a new loyalty subscription service named LifeMiles+. What is this, and is it worth the cost?

Related: How to book Lufthansa first class with points and miles

What is Avianca’s LifeMiles+ subscription?


Lifemiles+ has four different membership options:

All LifeMiles+ members can also enjoy a 10% discount on Star Alliance redemptions (posted within 15 days after booking) and up to an immediate 25% discount on LifeMiles redemptions flying Avianca.

Basic, Pro and Max members can enjoy no change or cancellation fees on award tickets.

The discounted rate for cardholders is for the new LifeMiles-branded credit card from Cardless, the Avianca LifeMiles Elite American Express Card*. This card offers:

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  • A welcome bonus of up to 100,000 bonus miles — 60,000 miles awarded after $4,500 spent in the first 90 days and an additional 40,000 miles after $25,000 spent in the first 12 months.
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per dollar spent on Avianca purchases, 2 LifeMiles per dollar spent on dining and non-Avianca travel, and 1 LifeMile per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • LifeMiles+ Lite membership, with a discounted rate for the other tiers in the subscription program.
  • LifeMiles Silver status for as long as you have the card, which also grants you Star Alliance Silver status.
  • Annual fee: $249 (see rates and fees).

The lower-annual-fee Avianca LifeMiles American Express Card* offers a bonus of up to 40,000 LifeMiles after you spend $3,000 with the card in the first 90 days, but does not provide any LifeMiles+ benefits.

If you decide to join LifeMiles+, you are committed to a minimum six-month subscription.

The information for these credit cards have been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Is Avianca’s LifeMiles+ subscription worth it?


This is an interesting offer from Avianca and potentially very lucrative for some Star Alliance enthusiasts.

It’s worth noting that LifeMiles frequently sells miles with huge bonuses, bringing the purchase rate to under 1.3 cents per mile. If you were looking to boost your LifeMiles balance without the credit card by paying $200 per month to earn 10,000 extra miles and wouldn’t use the other benefits, you would be better off purchasing LifeMiles in bulk during one of the frequent bonus offers.

The program also runs mileage sales occasionally when certain redemption rates are reduced.

For anyone who is not interested in applying for the Avianca LifeMiles Elite American Express Card, doesn’t fly Avianca and only redeems LifeMiles for a couple of Star Alliance flights each year, paying a monthly subscription fee probably doesn’t make sense.

However, if you regularly book Star Alliance redemptions and would get a lot of value from the lack of change and cancellation fees, maximizing this service and boosting your mileage balance could be easy.

For anyone looking to apply for the Elite Amex card and traveling regularly on Avianca (perhaps to visit family or friends), this is an attractive offer to earn more miles, and to save both miles and money on redemptions.

But what use is the benefit of free change and cancellation if it’s difficult to make a change online or by phone?

LifeMiles Chief Operating Officer Luis Coreas spoke with View from the Wing about the program’s actions to improve customer service, including reducing call center wait times, increasing the number of experienced agents available 24 hours per day to resolve complex problems, and simplifying the refund process.

So, in theory, this perk should be valuable.

Bottom line

Despite its frustrations, LifeMiles is an underrated airline loyalty program with attractively low Star Alliance redemptions worldwide with low taxes and fees.

As a transfer partner of most major credit card currencies, LifeMiles are also easy to purchase for as low as 1.3 cents during frequent promotional sales.

If you’ve ever thought about dipping your toe into the world of LifeMiles, with promises of improved customer service, now is a great time to do it. Whether you apply for the new Avianca LifeMiles Elite American Express Card or not, and even if you aren’t flying with Avianca, you can easily boost your mileage balance and save miles and cash on your next redemption with this unique LifeMiles+ subscription offering.


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