Main Frequent Flyers Programs Avianca Lifemiles

Avianca Lifemiles

Program overview 

Avianca’s Lifemiles program from Colombia is not a household name, but I think it is a worthwhile transfer partner. It has some of the most attractive redemption rates for Star Alliance awards and they do not charge fuel surcharges. Instant transfers from all major credit card programs (except Chase) as well as a decent availability of all the Star Alliance partner airlines makes this program an excellent destination for transferring credit card points.


Star Alliance 

Program website 

Approximate miles value 

1.6 cents per point 

Miles validity 

12 months 

Program accrual

Depends on fare

Limit on amount of miles you can purchase 

530 000 per transaction

Waitlist option


Courtesy Hold for award reservation

Not allowed 

Do you need to open an account to check availability?


Stopover option

Not allowed 

Family account


Upgrade option


Online booking 

Yes for all flights. Changes and cancellations through the call centre

Airline partners 

Aegean, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Aeromexico, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA Air, LOT Polish Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Portugal, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines, United Airlines, Iberia, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines 

Credit card partners

American Express (1:1, instant transfer), Citi ThankYou (1:1.25 - 25% bonus ends 12/17, instant transfer), Capital One (1:1.25 - 25% bonus ends 12/17, instant transfer)

Hotel partners 

IHG Rewards (5:1, 6 weeks transfer), Marriott Bonvoy (3:1, 24 hours transfer), Wyndham Rewards (6:1.2, 6-8 weeks transfer), Radisson Rewards (10:1, 4-6 weeks transfer), Accor Live Limitless (2:1, 4-6 weeks transfer), Best Westen Rewards (5:1, 4-6 weeks transfer)

Co-Branded credit card in the US 

Avianca Vuela Visa Card, Avianca Vida Visa Card

Point/Miles Conversion Chart


  • No fuel surcharges for Star Alliance partners
  • Instant transfers from all credit card partners (except Chase)
  • Good rates for United Airlines domestic within the US and to Asia
  • Same-day free cancellation 
  • Flexible booking rules allow one-ways and multiple cabins in one ticket


  • Avianca charges a $25 fee for all bookings
  • No stopovers are allowed
  • Have to call to change or cancel the award ticket. No online option
  • Miles expire every 12 month
  • In case of cancellation, miles may not be deposited back to the account for a week or more, which complicates the process of changing the reservation
  • Website and phone customer service leave much to be desired

Excellent for   

  • SWISS Business Class from the USA to Europe starts at 63,000 miles one way and NO fuel surcharges. 
  • Lufthansa First Class from the USA to Europe for 87,000 miles one way and NO fuel surcharges. 
  • Air New Zealand flight from Los Angeles to London for 63,000 miles one way in Business. 

Insider Tip

  • Given instant transfer and 12-month miles expiration dates, you’d want to sign up for an account ASAP since you can’t check award availability without it. However, I wouldn’t let any miles linger in the account and would only transfer the miles once you find an available award and are ready to purchase. Transfers and purchases can be done in minutes.
  • Unlike other programs, they charge service fees on online bookings which you don’t see until the very last check-out screen. Change and cancellation fees are also above average.
  • Making changes is cumbersome since there is no online option. Getting through to them on the phone is not easy; your best bet is to try to reach them early in the morning.
  • Avianca is probably not the airline you would want to build status with, but a solid choice to redeem Amex/Citi/Capital One points for airline tickets. It is hands down the best Star Alliance choice for Capital One point transfers (as you don't lose 25% of the points like you do with Aeroplan). For Star Alliance awards from Amex, it is almost a tie with Aeroplan. From Citi, it is the best choice for non-Turkish Airlines Star Alliance awards. If you need to immediately transfer and are willing to spend extra miles, it may even make sense for Turkish Airlines.

Do you use this program? Share your experience and tips in the comments below. Your thoughts would be very valuable to us!



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