I have had 70K+ Avianca LifeMiles sitting on my account for quite some time as I have not been able to find reasonable use for them.
Last month, I was traveling in South America. You can usually find reasonable priced for flights within Brazil and Argentina, but traveling North/South between countries can get expensive very fast.
Santiago (Chile) – Guayaquil (Ecuador)
When I was researching paid options, there would have been direct option on LAN Chile. Price wise it would have ended up costing roughly the same as this LifeMiles award.
The LifeMiles had number of flight options that were reasonably priced for business class.
You can always buy LifeMiles during the award issuing process. Here I purchased the maximum number of miles (15K) that this itinerary allowed. The price of a purchased mile was 1.5 cents each.
The taxes were quite reasonable. As these airlines are Avianca affiliated, there is no ticketing fee either.
Quito (Ecuador) – Porto Alegre (Brazil)
Reasonable paid options from Quito to Porto Alegre were also quite sparse and ended up using LifeMiles.
The business class award was reasonably priced and only 9,500 miles more than economy.
It is quite interesting that you can book the same flight either TACA or Avianca coded. TACA is part of Avianca.
I again chose to pay using miles + cash. The 13,000 LifeMiles I purchased were priced at 1.52 cents each.
The taxes for the ticket issued from Ecuador where quite high. Not sure what the $53.82 QB charge is for.
I had to email LifeMiles to get eticket receipts with airline related PNR codes. They came in about a day.
It has been hard time for me to find reasonable use for the LifeMiles that I have had sitting on my account for more than two years (purchased them while ago). Paid tickets or using miles from other programs have always been better option.
Seems, however, that there is some use for LifeMiles if you travel within Central & South America where ticket prices are often on the high side.
Just a reminder to take a screenshot of the PNR that flashes for few seconds after you submit your payment. If the purchase fails, the PNR is still valid waiting for payment. You can then call LifeMiles and have them to issue the ticket. Happened to me once.