AviancaTACA is about to join the Star Alliance later this year. They have had these buy miles offers few times a year. If you are not a LifeMiles member yet, you cannot participate to this offer. It probably makes sense to sign up so that you can take advantage of their next similar offer that will happen sometime in fall.
The offer is really simple. LifeMiles will double the number of miles that you buy during the promotional period. You can buy up to 75K miles for $2250 that will turn into 150K LifeMiles after doubling. The price of a mile thus is 1.5 cents.
I am personally interested in about these LifeMiles as I have been thinking of spending couple of months later this year exploring Central America and northern South America. The airfares tend to be somewhat on the high side in this region, what I have come to expect in elsewhere. I should be able to piece something together by using United Miles on Copa, AA or LA miles on family of LAN airlines, and on AviancaTACA.
I did some award searches on LifeMiles.com and the availability at times is really spotty. Also, they apparently are charging for connections as well. I had some trouble finding a comprehensive award chart, but there is a calculator that shows the number of miles required between an origin and destination. When I was trying price an award, the number of miles required was higher, however.
Havana to Sao Paulo in Business using LifeMiles
According to the LifeMiles calculator the miles required for a one way in business class is from 30K to 70K on this route. The lowest amount that was shown on the award search was 40K, but then there was an option for business class redemption at 54K miles that would also earn miles.
The same itinerary prices at 725 GBP on Opodo.
In this instance buying LifeMiles to use them would have hardly made any sense.
Buenos Aires to Bogota in Business using LifeMiles
This one was supposed to be just 20K in business based on the calculator. The lowest the booking engine was willing to return, however, was 26K LifeMiles.
That is actually quite ok considering that buying the ticket outright on the same flights would be $1104.
I was then interested to see what kind of fees AviancaTACA is charging for redemptions. I was really surprised to see that there are no junk fees i.e. fuel surcharges. They only charge the actual taxes.
You can make this buying LifeMiles to work nicely, if you are redeeming for business class and one ways. The award availability on AviancaTACA is not great, so you probably should plan in advance.
Terms and Conditions
- This promotion is available between May 1st, and May 31st, 2012, as the last date of purchase.
- This promotion is available through Avianca and TACA’s Call Centers, LifeMiles.com and Avianca and TACA’s Information Centers, except Colombia where is available only through the Call Center and LifeMiles.com
- Maximum miles to buy: 75,000
- Minimum of miles to buy: 1,000
- Miles must be purchased in multiples of 1,000
- Maximum number of transactions: 1
- The amount for purchase of miles is not refundable
- Each package of 1,000 miles cost USD 30 plus local taxes
- For Peru residents: each package of 1,000 miles, costs USD 35.4 / S/.94.52. Exchange rate to April 1st, 2012: S/. 2.67. per USD 1
- For residents in Colombia, the values have to be paid with the Alaico rate from the day of the ticket purchase
- Form of payment through Call Center and LifeMiles.com: credit card or international debit card. Cash payments are only allowed at Avianca or TACA’s Information Centers
- Applies only to members enrolled in the program prior to May 1st, 2012
- Administrative fees apply to redeem tickets
- The miles transaction receipt will show the total of miles credited to the customer’s account, including bonus, and the total amount charged for the purchase transaction
- The miles bought and earned with this promotion do not apply to achieve Elite status
- The amount paid for the miles’ purchase is not refundable
- The miles are not endorsable
- The miles are not refundable
- Award tickets (obtained by accumulation, purchase o mile transfer) have no commercial value and can’t be sold to a third party. If the sold of the ticket is proved, the award ticket becomes invalid and cannot be used for transportation. The member’s account will be eliminated
- Remember that for the redemption product Seat Sale and Limited Seats the seats might not be available in all flights and/or dates. The product All Seats is always available, you can see the amount of miles required for this product in LifeMiles.com or at your nearest Avianca or TACA Information Centers
- LifeMiles Terms and Conditions apply