Avianca LifeMiles Loyalty Program Review [2021]

Avianca LifeMiles Loyalty Program Review [2021]

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Avianca Summary Table

Branded and Partnered Credit Cards

The Avianca LifeMiles program makes it easy to both earn and purchase its airline miles to use for an award flight.

Avianca not only offers 2 co-branded credits for the U.S. market but the airline also partners with 4 of the 5 transferable point programs.

Avianca Credit Cards

Banco Popular is Avianca’s co-branded partner that offers 2 credit cards for those who live in the U.S.

The Avianca Vida Visa® Card and Avianca Vuela Visa® Card cater to the low and medium annual fee market and also come with respectable welcome bonus offers.

We recommend looking into both cards if you’re looking to earn Avianca miles directly with your spending.

American Express Credit Cards

Amex continues to be one of the heavyweights in the transferable point credit card game and shows no signs of slowing down.

What’s great about Amex are the valuable airline partners customers have access to along with the regular transfer bonuses Amex offers.

If you’re interested in the Amex program, here are the credit cards we recommend checking out:

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

The Platinum Card® from American Express - There's currently a new welcome bonus offer of 60,000 100,000 Membership Rewards Points after spending $6,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, earn 10x points on eligible purchases on the Card at restaurants worldwide and when you Shop Small in the U.S., on up to $25,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership.

This is our #1 card for accessing 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide, including Priority Pass (enrollment required). We leverage ~$4,900+ in benefits and perks from the card every year. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
American Express® Gold Card - This card has a new welcome bonus of 35,000 60,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $4,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership.

We love using this card as it earns 4X Membership Rewards Points at restaurants, including takeout and delivery, and earns 4X Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).

There's no better card in our opinion if you eat out and/or shop at supermarkets regularly; and you'll have access to many benefits and perks. Terms apply and for rates and fees of the Amex Gold card, click here.

Recommended Amex Cards (Business)

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express - Right now, there's a new welcome bonus of 85,000 120,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

See how we get $4,000+ in value per year by leveraging many of the benefits & perks, including access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Platinum, click here.
American Express® Business Gold Card - one of our favorite Amex business cards because we earn 4x points across the top 2 select categories that we spend the most money in each month, such as Facebook or Google ads. The 4x points applies to the first $150,000 in combined purchases from these 2 categories each calendar year. After that, you earn 1x.

The current welcome bonus is 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Business Gold, click here.
The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express - A super simple, no-annual-fee card that earns you 2x points on everyday business purchases, up to $50,000 in purchases per year. After that, earn 1x. Right now, you can earn 15,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $3,000 in eligible purchases on the Card within your first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Blue Business Plus, click here.

Citi Credit Cards

Citi is one of the 5 transferable point programs, however, it’s much more challenging to earn Citi ThankYou Points.

The reason that earning ThankYou Points is difficult is that the bank simply doesn’t offer the number of credit cards that you’ll see from the likes of Amex and Chase.

While earning ThankYou Points can be a pain, it’s not all bad news with Citi. Mirroring Amex, Citi offers airline transfer bonuses throughout the year to some of its airline partners, which helps to increase the value of its points.

More information on the Citi cards we recommend can be found here:

Citi Premier® Card

Citi Premier Card
Learn More
(at our partner's secure site)
  • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants, Supermarkets, Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels.
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
  • Good to Excellent Credit Recommended (670-850)
  • Annual Fee: $95
Citi Rewards+® Card

Citi Rewards+® Card
Learn More
(at our partner's secure site)
  • For a limited time, earn 20,000 bonus points after you spend $1,500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for $200 in gift cards at
  • 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 15 months from date of first transfer and on purchases from date of account opening. After that, 13.49% - 23.49% variable APR. Balance transfer fee will apply.
  • Earn 2x ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X ThankYou® Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 13.49% - 23.49% variable. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • Annual Fee: $0

Marriott Credit Cards

It’s no secret that since the merger with SPG, the newly revamped Marriott Bonvoy program has come with a string of challenges for those looking to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points.

Challenges with the new program are well-documented, however, the program can be good for a couple of reasons.

The first deals with the transfer bonus. For every 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points that are transferred to an airline partner, you’ll receive a 5,000-point bonus in the form of airline miles.

Marriott Bonvoy to Avianca transfers are 3:1, so 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points become 25,000 Avianca LifeMiles with the 5,000-point bonus (60,000/3 = 20,000 + 5,000 bonus = 25,000).

The second positive with Marriott Bonvoy is that members have access to airlines unique to its program, like Alaska Airlines.

Capital One Credit Cards

The main point to address with Capital One is that its business credit cards count against your 5/24 count. If you’re not familiar with the 5/24 rule, we have a post covering it in detail here.

Putting together the right strategy of Capital One business and personal credit cards will open up a ton of opportunities to earn more Capital One miles.

Everything you need to know about Capital One credit cards can be found in the recommended links below:

Recommended Miles-Earning Capital One Cards (Personal)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card - This card is packed with lots of benefits and perks. Earn 60,000 mile sign up bonus once you spend $3,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. We recommend this as a no-brainer card if you even semi-regularly stay at hotels since this card earns unlimited 2x miles on every purchase.
Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card - This is an excellent card for those looking to earn 1.25x miles per $1 on every purchase. With a 20,000 mile sign up bonus (worth $200 toward travel) after spending $500 within the first 3 months and no annual fee, it's a strong choice.

Other Hotel Partner Credit Cards

Hilton Honors is a hotel partner but you won’t want to transfer points from it to an airline.

The reason is that the transfer ratio is terrible, and yields a subpar value.

If you’re topping off an account or are in a bind, those are the only reasons to transfer points from Hilton Honors to Avianca.

Avianca Overview

Avianca, is the national airline of Colombia and has been operating for over 100 years.

The main hub for Avianca flights is El Dorado International Airport (BOG) in Bogotá.

A Star Alliance airline member, Avianca joins the like of Air Canada, Air New Zealand, and Swiss International Air Lines.

The benefit of Avianca being part of one of the major airline alliances is that passengers can use miles for flights on any airline in the alliance. For example, Avianca miles can be redeemed for United Airlines flights.

LifeMiles is Avianca’s frequent flyer program where members have the opportunity to not only earn LifeMiles but also redeem them.

Elite status in the LifeMiles program is earned by accruing the required qualifying miles or qualifying segments between January and December of each year.

Qualifying miles when flying on Avianca and/or Star Alliance partners are calculated based on the actual mileage flown plus additional bonuses awarded by the fare class purchased.

The qualifying miles that you earn are the same miles that you’ll use to redeem for an award flight.

In addition to using miles for award flights, LifeMiles can be redeemed for hotel stays, car rentals, and experiences.

Bottom Line: To sum up, Avianca is a great partner to have in the Star Alliance because of the value you can receive when redeeming LifeMiles for award flights. 

Joining LifeMiles

Creating a LifeMiles account is free. Simply head to this page and complete your membership application.

With a LifeMiles membership, members receive the opportunity to both earn and redeem miles earned in their account.

How to Log in to Your LifeMiles Account

Avianca LifeMiles Login
Avianca LifeMiles login. Image Credit: LifeMiles

Your LifeMiles number or username and password are all that you’ll need to log in to your account.

Hot Tip:Avianca won’t show all of the Star Alliance award availability that you’ll find on the United and Aeroplan websites. 

Viewing Your Account Activity

Follow these easy steps to check out the mileage activity in your account:

  1. Log in to your account
  2. Click the drop-down arrow next LM at the top right
  3. Click Activity on the left side of the screen

Points Expiration

LifeMiles are valid for 12 months, and the only way to extend the expiration of those miles is to earn more LifeMiles.

Avianca LifeMiles Program

LifeMiles Elite Status

Avianca Elite Status
Avianca Elite Status. Image Credit: LifeMiles

The LifeMiles program has 3 elite tiers in Silver Elite, Gold Elite, and Diamond Elite.

By earning higher elite tiers, program members open up benefits that include upgrades, lounge access, and Star Alliance status matches.

As we cover each elite tier, it’s important to note that higher elite tiers include all of the benefits of the preceding elite tier.

Silver: The lowest elite tier in the LifeMiles program comes with these perks:

  • Unlimited business class upgrades
  • Avianca VIP Lounge access
  • 25% LifeMiles elite bonus
  • Star Alliance Silver
  • Flight advance with no change or fee difference

Gold: LifeMiles’ middle elite tier offers members the following benefits:

  • Avianca VIP Lounge access + 1 guest
  • Access to partner VIP lounges + 1 guest
  • 75% LifeMiles elite bonus
  • Additional baggage allowance
  • Star Alliance Gold

Diamond: Avianca’s highest elite tier provides members with these perks:

  • 2 yearly upgrade certificates
  • Access to VIP Diamond Lounges + 1 guest
  • 100% LifeMiles elite bonus
  • Free flight advance includes 1 guest

Hop over to the Elite Member Benefits page for an even deeper dive into the elite benefits available in the LifeMiles program.

Bottom Line: Avianca focuses on upgrades and lounge access as benefits that are available to elite members. 

Value of Avianca Status

Avianca elite status is clearly valuable, however, you’ll need to fly Star Alliance airlines to make the most of it.

2 yearly upgrade certificates and additional lounge access is interesting for travelers who can earn Diamond status.

If you’re a traveler who values upgrades, lounge access, and bonus points from flying, Avianca is an elite program to consider.

Bottom Line: Assuming you can cost-effectively earn Gold or Diamond status, Avianca provides a host of perks that are worth it. 

Earning LifeMiles Elite Status

Standard Requirements

LifeMiles’ elite status is determined by the number of qualifying miles and qualifying segments that you fly. The program also requires that a portion of the qualifying miles be flown on Avianca flights.

Avianca members earn qualifying miles when flying on Avianca or with a Star Alliance airline partner based on the actual mileage flown plus additional bonuses awarded by the fare class purchased.

For each elite tier, a member must earn the required number of qualifying miles and qualifying segments.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirements were:

  • Silver requires 25,000 miles, 30 segments, and 15,000 miles on Avianca
  • Gold requires 45,000 miles, 50 segments, and 27,000 miles on Avianca
  • Diamond requires 75,000 miles, 85 segments, and 45,000 miles on Avianca

With Diamond, a maximum of 25,000 miles and 30 segments can be rolled over to the following year’s elite status qualification.

2020 Requirements

With the COVID-19 pandemic, Avianca has reduced the requirements to qualify for elite status.

Elite Status Qualification
Avianca LifeMiles elite status qualification. Image Credit: LifeMiles

Bottom Line: The LifeMiles program resembles many changes we’ve seen to award programs where a portion of the qualifying miles must come from the host airlines, which in this case, is with Avianca flights. 

How to Earn Avianca LifeMiles

LifeMiles partners with 4 of the 5 transferable point programs. In addition, its miles are frequently sold at a discount allowing you to use those purchased miles for an award flight.

Avianca also offers co-branded credit cards where you spend directly and earn LifeMiles without the need to transfer miles in from another program.

A combination of all 3 of these earning strategies will ensure a constant flow of LifeMiles into your account.

Earning Miles Through Flying

Qualifying miles are what you’re after in the LifeMiles program. The miles are determined based on the distance that you fly and the fare class purchased.

Avianca has an accrual page showing the number of miles that you’ll earn based on the fare class of your flight.

You’ll need to do the calculation on your end, but simply use Great Circle Mapper, and the accrual page, and add any bonus elite tier miles to determine what you’ll earn.

Star Alliance members
Star Alliance members. Image Credit: Star Alliance

Calculating the miles that you’ll earn from Star Alliance partner flights is also easy. Head to the partner accrual page, select the airline that you’re flying, and see the flight accrual rates for your fare class.

Avianca has 2 additional airline partnerships with Aeromexico, GOL, and, Iberia. The accrual rates work the same as Star Alliance partners, so head to each airline’s respective page to see the miles you’ll earn.

Earn Miles With Credit Cards

Transferable point credit cards and Banco Popular will be your ticket to earning LifeMiles without stepping onto a flight.

With the 4 transferable point partners and 2 Avianca credit cards, you’ll have plenty of ways to earn Avianca LifeMiles.

Earning Bonus Miles in Other Ways

Avianca has even more ways to earn its miles that don’t involve flying.

Check out the list of partners that include shopping, hotel, and rental car companies where your spending directly earns LifeMiles.

The last way to earn LifeMiles without flying is to keep a pulse on the Avianca Facebook, Twitter, and Promotions pages.

Hot Tip: Airlines like Avianca won’t allow you to double-dip by earning elite status miles at the same time that you’re earning miles from shopping, hotel stays, and car rentals. 

How to Redeem Avianca LifeMiles

Using LifeMiles for award flights will yield the most value for your miles, however, there are additional ways that miles can be used.

Avianca makes it easy to see the amount of LifeMiles required for each partner flight by featuring the award charts on each partner page.

There’s a section that states “Find out how many LifeMiles you need for a ticket on xxx”. When flying on Avianca, you’ll need to run an award search to see the number of miles required for your flight. The number of miles is driven by the partner, fare class, and region.

It’s important to note that Avianca offers a LifeMiles + Money option. This means that you can reduce the number of miles needed by using a cash co-pay.

When you get comfortable running award searches for Avianca flights, check out the partner airline page.

With a handle on running partner award searches, here are a couple of sweet spots that yield a ton of value with your LifeMiles:

  • 87,000 LifeMiles one-way Lufthansa first class to Europe
  • 63,000 LifeMiles one-way SWISS business class to Europe

Hot Tip: If you want the full gamut of sweet spots, we have an entire post on the best ways to redeem LifeMiles

Star Alliance and Other Partner Awards

The Avianca partner page is the place to go when you’re ready to use LifeMiles.

  1. Click on the airline partner that you want to fly
  2. Scroll down to the section How to redeem your LifeMiles
  3. Click the first Review Here hyperlink to see how many miles you’ll need

Booking Online

This is where it gets tricky with Avianca. Yes, the airline does have favorable award prices for some routes, however, Avianca is notorious for not showing the same partner space that you’ll find on United and Aeroplan.

Our recommendation is to confirm award space on United and Aeroplan first, and then find that award space on Avianca.

It’s in your best interest to avoid calling Avianca if you can.

Keep these general rules in mind when searching for award flights:

  • Search the British Airways and Qantas websites for Oneworld flights
  • Use the Delta and Flying Blue (Air France or KLM) websites for SkyTeam flights
  • Search the United and Aeroplan websites for Star Alliance flights

Hot Tip: Expert Flyer is the go-to site if you are searching for hard-to-find partner flights. 

Frequently asked questions

What is the Avianca LifeMiles program? Is it worth it? What are the benefits?

The free frequent flyer program of Avianca is called LifeMiles. With your free membership, you’ll have the ability to work your way towards elite status, earn miles, and redeem miles for an award flight.

Qualifying miles and qualifying segments are what Avianca uses to determine who earns elite status every year.

Upgrades and lounge access are the primary benefits for those who earn the highest elite tiers in the LifeMiles program.

Avianca is a Star Alliance member, so members with LifeMiles can use those miles for Avianca and partner airline flights.

In LifeMiles, who are the partners? Can I transfer miles to them?

LifeMiles members have a number of ways to earn miles.

Credit card spend, shopping, hotel stays, and car rentals are the primary ways to earn LifeMiles that don’t involve flying.

When the time comes to redeem LifeMiles, Avianca and partner flights are the best ways to use your miles.

It’s important to note that you can transfer points from Amex, Citi, Marriott Bonvoy, and Capital One, but you can’t transfer miles from another airline program to Avianca.

What is the LifeMiles login?

You can access your LifeMiles account through the login page. You just need to complete your LifeMiles number or username to log in.

Where can I sign up for LifeMiles?

Anyone can sign up for a free LifeMiles account by completing this registration form. Registration is on the LifeMiles website which is separate from the Avianca website.

What is my LifeMiles number?

You can find your LifeMiles number by signing in to your account, looking on your membership card, or through a variety of marketing emails that Avianca sends to you.

If you can’t find it there, try using the forgot my password tool to reset your account so you can get in. Alternatively, you can call the customer service desk to find your number.

When do miles post in LifeMiles?

LifeMiles earned from flying should post into your account within 7 days of the date of travel.

When do LifeMiles expire?

LifeMiles expire every 12 months. With Diamond status, a maximum of 25,000 miles and 30 segments can be rolled over to the following year’s elite status qualification.

When does LifeMiles status expire?

Elite status is valid the year in which a member qualifies plus the subsequent January to December of the following year.

Is there an Avianca credit card?

Banco Popular is Avianca’s co-branded partner that offers 2 credit cards for those who live in the U.S.

The Avianca Vida card and Avianca Vuela card cater to the low and medium annual fee market and also come with respectable welcome bonus offers.

Can you hold an award flight with Avianca?

Avianca will not allow you to hold an award flight.

Michael McHugh

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn't travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since. Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend's phone about a mistake fare.  That's where the love affair with points and miles began.

Travel prices are about to surge from pent-up demand.

Use this points strategy to lock in pennies-on-the-dollar pricing in 2021, all without being a frequent flyer...

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Disclaimer: Any comments listed below are not from the bank advertiser, nor have they been reviewed or approved by them. No responsibility will be taken by the bank advertiser for these comments.


  1. I am currently stuck in the middle of a situation with a Lifemiles booking.I booked a flight using Lifemiles for my son to travel from Bristol (UK) to Tokyo via Brussels. The first flight has a Brussels Airlines flight code on the ticket and the second flight is an ANA flight. I found out whilst double checking the luggage allowance that the first flight is permanently cancelled because the route was actually operated by FlyBMI, rather than Brussels Airlines, and FlyBMI went bust in February. I have been in contact with Brussels Airlines, ANA and Lifemiles to try and organise an alternative flight but am told by Brussels Airlines they can’t do anything because the flight was booked with an agent, the same with ANA when I asked if it were possible to change the ANA flight to a London departure and Lifemiles who are saying it’s nothing to do with them, they don’t have an alternative (whilst only looking at exactly the same route but +/- 15 days – obvs makes no difference as the route is no longer operational). Lifemiles are saying all they can do is cancel the booking and credit the miles. This would obviously mean purchasing a last minute flight at considerable cost. All the European rules seem to state that the airline have to offer an alternative routing as well as a refund but I am very much stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only saving grace is that my 16 year old didn’t turn up at Bristol airport next week to find out his flight was cancelled and have to try and deal with this then. We were never notified of the cancellation, just found out by accident. I can absolutely confirm that dealing with either Avianca or Lifemiles staff is extremely difficult.


    • Hey Lindsay,

      Avianca LifeMiles is difficult to deal with other the phone. Unfortunately, you generally don’t want to rely on their call center to assist you. Keep in mind that we are not Avianca Vuela or LifeMiles. Sorry to hear that, and we hope your travel situation is rectified ASAP.


  2. Do you have any information on status matching to Avianca? I have status with Latam (Oneworld Sapphire) but as they are leaving Oneworld with their investment from Delta, I’d like to match to Avianca. Thanks.


  3. Do you know why there is such a large fee for taxes/fees/airline charges when traveling internationally?
    I am trying to get tickets from Bogota to Quito and the price is 9,000 Lifemiles & $93 per ticket!


    • Hi Jon,

      Many countries tax air travel at a much higher rate due to the carbon emissions, and many airlines pass those fees onto the consumer when they purchase their ticket.


Any thoughts or questions? Comment below!

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