Avianca is revamping its LifeMiles frequent flyer program this year (read more here), allowing members to earn elite qualifying miles for all kinds of spending, including miles purchases.
LifeMiles launched a new miles sale earlier this week (read more here), and I decided to test how things work, as I have not engaged with the program for a few years.
You can access Avianca here.
My LifeMiles account was ZERO, and I decided to purchase 60,000 miles with a 160% bonus.
The purchase appeared to be successful, and there was a note that the miles would have been deposited into my account.
There was also an email confirmation from LifeMiles.
The account had no miles, and the elite status bar hadn’t moved.
I was chatting with Sebastian, who has more recent experiences with LifeMiles. There might be a few hours or a day delay in getting the miles posted.
Nothing happened, and I emailed LifeMiles a day after the purchase.
The online system indicated that I would have earned LifeMiles this month, and a small amount expired on January 1.
Then today, two days after I purchased the miles, the online system indicates that they all expired on January 1, 2023, eighteen days before I bought them.
Half of them, however, had been elite qualifying, but it doesn’t count as “Avianca.”
I would still need to credit 20,000 miles worth of Avianca flights to earn a Diamond.
This is the typical level of incompetence that one can expect from Avianca and LifeMiles.
I have warned readers frequently that they should not buy LifeMiles if they are not ready for a potentially bumpy ride and a level of incompetence rarely seen.
The airline is known for blocking partner award inventory, it is sometimes a challenge to book and get itineraries ticketed what is shown available on their website, AND there have been a few instances of partner airlines denying boarding on Avianca-issued tickets.
If you are after “cheap” and worthwhile miles from a reputable and established airline, I would look into frequent Air Canada Aeroplan miles sales. They have their own issues, but a smoother ride than dealing with Avianca and LifeMiles.
If I cannot get Avianca to credit the miles to my account, I dispute the transaction with the credit card I used for the purchase.