Getting To Colombia With Airline Miles

Most frequent flier programs divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Colombia, which has an amazing bird list with over 1900 species recorded, falls into the northern region.  I already have a blog with my recommendations for which programs to join if you are new to the world of miles and points.

The major gateway cities for Colombia include Bogota (BOG), Medellin (MDE) and Cartagena (CTG).   It will be the same number of miles no matter which you choose.   Once you have been in the miles and points game for awhile, you will get a feel for which airline to use where but if you are just starting out Wikipedia will show you all the airlines that fly into Bogota, Medellin, Cartegena and any of Colombia’s airports.  To present examples below, I will be using Bogota as the example gateway airport.

ONE WORLD OPTIONS

From North America you can use American Airlines,  LATAM.

From South America you can use LATAM.

From Australia and New Zealand you can use Qantas or LATAM via Santiago.

From UK and Europe you can travel via the USA using BA or IB to get to the USA, then AA, LATAM to South America.

From Asia or Africa there are no direct flights so you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

STAR ALLIANCE OPTIONS

From North America you can use United, Air Canada, Avianca-Taca or Copa.

From South America you can use Avianca-Taca or Copa.

From Europe you can use Avianca, Lufthansa or Turkish Airlines.

From Australia and New Zealand, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you can use NZ to Buenos Aires (EZE) or travel via the USA.  Depending on which program’s miles you have, this may require one or two awards.

SKYTEAM OPTIONS

From North America you can use AeroMexico or Delta.

From Argentina & Southern South America you can use Aerolinas Argentinas.

From Europe you can use Air Europa, Air France or KLM, or you can connect in the USA on Delta.

From Australia, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

HOW MANY MILES WILL IT COST?

Every airline member of the 3 main alliances has it’s own frequent flier program.  They often have alliances with other airlines outside the program.  I have made some reference charts for the airline alliances and I strongly recommend that you check out the program of the airline in your country and the USA based partners of each program as the USA airlines tend to have the most lucrative bonuses.  Americans can get very generous credit card bonuses.  Details of credit card partners (and other partners) will be on each airline’s website, however often there are more lucrative sign up bonuses.  Details are usually posted in the Flyer Talk thread so I strongly suggest you read this thread and the Miles Buzz forum before you apply for any cards just in case a better bonus has been offered.  I don’t have any affiliate links and I recommend you do extensive research on your own when applying for airline credit cards.

USING ONE WORLD

AMERICAN AIRLINES

No matter where you live, frequent flyer programs based in the USA usually offer the best deals but it’s still a good idea to look at other members of the alliance.  Try to avoid carriers that charge a fuel surcharge.  Looking at AA’s award chart, we can see that Colombia is in South America Zone 1.

So let’s look at the chart.  AA no longer has all zones on one convenient chart so you need to look at the website for the region you are departing from.  You will notice there are taxes and fees with certain routes and that the awards are prices as one way trips.

We can see that a South Pacific to Central/South America award will cost 45,000 miles each way (90,000 round trip) in economy, 82,500 (160,000 round trip) in business class and 112,500 each way (225,000 round trip in first class.  AA doesn’t allow you to transit the USA on this award so you must fly on the only carriers that operate between Australia and South America-Qantas and LATAM.

If you are based in North America, economy will cost 30,000  each way (60,000 round trip), business class  is 57,500 each way (115,000 round trip) and first is 85,000 each way or 170,000 round trip.  You would be flying on AA or LATAM.

AVIOS (BA OR IB)

Avios can be a great bargain for shorter flights.  The awards are priced by distance flown per segment rather than zone to zone.

Avios

Avios chart

Using the Great Circle Mapper, we can see that a direct flight from Miami to Bogota would cost 10,000 Avios each way, a direct flight from LAX to Bogota would cost 20,000 Avios and a direct flight from NYC to Bogota would cost 12,500 Avios.  If you are using credit card miles, transferring them to Avios rather than UA or AA could save you some points.  If you need a connection from elsewhere in the USA to the gateway city, you need to pay for that segment separately with the Avios cost for the distance flown.  Example OKC-MIA is 1222 miles so you need to add 10,000 Avios to the total price of the ticket.

Avios BOG

QANTAS FREQUENT FLYER

For Qantas, it is easiest to use their points calculator to see how many points you need, then look for availability.  Not all itineraries can be booked online, sometimes you have to call them.  Using the example of Sydney to Bogota we can see that they route through the USA (probably because the Santiago route is very hard to get) and economy is 60,000 points one way.  If I were making this trip for real, I would be putting a lot more effort into finding a routing on QF through Santiago.  Although business class shows availability on the random date I chose, if you hover over the seat icon you will see that the DFW-BOG segment is in economy.  I am actually amazed that SYD-DFW has premium seats!  On the next screen you see the points plus taxes & fees that must be paid by credit card.

QF BOG1 QF BOG2 QF BOG3 QF BOG4

If you are based somewhere else, leave a comment if you don’t understand this part and I will help you out.  Meanwhile, here is a reference list for other One World carriers.

USING STAR ALLIANCE

United, Avianca and Singapore are probably the most common Star Alliance programs in use because of good credit card deals and buy miles promos.

UNITED AIRLINES

United Airlines is a USA based carrier that offers one way awards on its own flights and other Star Alliance carriers.  Due to the size of their award chart, I can’t paste it here so will link to it and give examples.  For example Orlando to Bogota has availability on several dates which I picked at random.  They are colour coded for economy, business/first or all three classes.  Make sure you scroll all the way down to see all the options.  Some routes are only 20k and others are a whopping 45k!  And beware of routes where it is cheaper to fly business class than economy!

UA BOG1 UA BOG2

AVIANCA TACA LIFEMILES

Lifemiles has some very attractive promos to buy and share miles.  While this doesn’t give you a free trip, it can greatly reduce the cost of a trip especially if you are after business or first class awards.  You need to be an existing member of Lifemiles when they announce  a promo so join now if you haven’t already.  Use their calculator to get an idea of award costs.  This will be a range which depends on class and any promos.

 

They have a Star Alliance Award chart and you can see that they divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Colombia is in the Northern South America region.  Australia and New Zealand are in the “Others” category.  The chart shows one-way awards.   I prefer to keep my Lifemiles for intra-South/Central America awards which can get pricy but are bargains using awards.

Avianca1 Avianca2

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

SQ miles have become much easier to get in recent years.  Americans can use Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, Amex Membership Rewards.  Aussies can use the Australian Amex Membership Rewards.  Everyone can use SPG.  Just beware of the high fuel (carrier) surcharges when you use Krisflyer.  Personally, I would be happy to use SQ miles for intra-South America awards where surcharges are low or even non-exixtant but would use other programs to get from Australia to South America.  SQ has only one region for all of South America so their awards can be a bargain if you are traveling around the continent!

SQ South America

I don’t use all the programs that are out there but these are the most commonly used programs by travel hackers in the USA and Australia so do some research to see which one works for you!  Bear in mind that the tickets are not completely free, there is usually a booking fee of $25-50 and various taxes, but you would have to pay the taxes whether you pay cash or miles for the ticket in any case.

WHAT ABOUT JUST PAYING CASH (WELL, CREDIT CARD)?

No, it’s not blasphemy but sometimes it is a good idea to save your miles and simply pay for the ticket.  The 3 main Central/South American carriers – Avianca, Copa & LATAM have been very competitive lately ex-USA and releasing some very good deals.  These are a few examples but they expire soon so always check the airlines’ website for current specials.

Avianca Colombia Avianca Colombia2 Copa Bog Latam Bog

 

 

 

Getting To Ecuador With Airline Miles

Most frequent flier programs divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Ecuador, which is one of the best destinations for eco-tourism falls into the northern region.  I already have a blog with my recommendations for which programs to join if you are new to the world of miles and points.

The gateway cities for Ecuador include Quito (UIO) and Guayaquil (GYE).  I have a separate post for using Guayaquil as a gateway city so in this post I will be using Quito as the example.  In any case, it will be the same number of miles.     Once you have been in the miles and points game for awhile, you will get a feel for which airline to use where but if you are just starting out, Wikipedia will show you a list of all airlines that fly into Quito.

 

ONE WORLD OPTIONS

From North America you can use American Airlines or LATAM.

From South America you can use LATAM.

From Australia and New Zealand you can use Qantas or LATAM via Santiago.

From UK and Europe you can travel via the USA using BA or IB to get to the USA, then AA, LAN or TAM to South America.

From Asia or Africa there are no direct flights so you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

STAR ALLIANCE OPTIONS

From North America you can use United, Avianca-Taca or Copa

From South America you can use Avianca-Taca

From Australia and New Zealand, Europe, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you can use NZ to Buenos Aires (EZE) or travel via the USA.  Depending on which program’s miles you have, this may require one or two awards.

SKYTEAM OPTIONS

From North America you can use AeroMexico or Delta.

From Europe you can use Air Europa, Air France or KLM, or you can connect in the USA on Delta.

From Australia, Asia and Africa there are no direct flights, you will need to travel via the USA or Europe.

 

HOW MANY MILES WILL IT COST?

Every airline member of the 3 main alliances has it’s own frequent flier program.  They often have alliances with other airlines outside the program.  I have made some reference charts for the airline alliances and I strongly recommend that you check out the program of the airline in your country and the USA based partners of each program as the USA airlines tend to have the most lucrative bonuses.  Americans can get very generous credit card bonuses.  Details of credit card partners (and other partners) will be on each airline’s website, however often there are more lucrative sign up bonuses.  Details are usually posted in the Flyer Talk thread so I strongly suggest you read this thread and the Miles Buzz forum before you apply for any cards just in case a better bonus has been offered.  I don’t have any affiliate links and I recommend you do extensive research on your own when applying for airline credit cards.

USING ONE WORLD

AMERICAN AIRLINES

No matter where you live, frequent flyer programs based in the USA usually offer the best deals but it’s still a good idea to look at other members of the alliance.  Try to avoid carriers that charge a fuel surcharge.  Looking at AA’s award chart, we can see that Ecuador is in South America Zone 1.

So let’s look at the chart.  AA no longer has all zones on one convenient chart so you need to look at the website for the region you are departing from.  You will notice there are taxes and fees with certain routes and that the awards are prices as one way trips.

We can see that a South Pacific to Central/South America award will cost 45,000 miles each way (90,000 round trip) in economy, 82,500 (160,000 round trip) in business class and 112,500 each way (225,000 round trip in first class.  AA doesn’t allow you to transit the USA on this award so you must fly on the only carriers that operate between Australia and South America-Qantas and LAN.

If you are based in North America, economy will cost 30,000  each way (60,000 round trip), business class  is 57,500 each way (115,000 round trip) and first is 85,000 each way or 170,000 round trip.  You would be flying on AA or LAN.

AVIOS (BA OR IB)

Avios can be a great bargain for shorter flights.  The awards are priced by distance flown per segment rather than zone to zone.

Avios

Using the Great Circle Mapper, we can see that a direct flight from Miami to Quito would cost 10,000 Avios each way, a direct flight from LAX to Quito would cost 20,000 Avios and a direct flight from NYC to Quito would cost 12,500 Avios.  If you are using credit card miles, transferring them to Avios rather than UA or AA could save you some points.  If you need a connection from elsewhere in the USA to the gateway city, you need to pay for that segment separately with the Avios cost for the distance flown.  Example OKC-MIA is 1222 miles so you need to add 10,000 Avios to the total price of the ticket.

gcm uio

QANTAS FREQUENT FLYER

For Qantas, it is easiest to use their points calculator to see how many points you need, then look for availability.  Not all itineraries can be booked online, sometimes you have to call them.  Using the example of Sydney to Quito we can see that they route through the USA (probably because the Santiago route is very hard to get) and economy is 60,000 points one way.  On the next screen you see the points plus taxes & fees that must be paid by credit card.

qf uio1 qf uio2

 

If you are based somewhere else, leave a comment if you don’t understand this part and I will help you out.  Meanwhile, here is a reference list for other One World carriers.

USING STAR ALLIANCE

United, Avianca and Singapore are probably the most common Star Alliance programs in use because of good credit card deals and buy miles promos.

UNITED AIRLINES

United Airlines is a USA based carrier that offers one way awards on its own flights and other Star Alliance carriers.  Due to the size of their award chart, I can’t paste it here so will link to it and give examples.  For example Seattle to Quito has availability on several dates which I picked at random.  They are colour coded for economy, business/first or all three classes.  Make sure you scroll all the way down to get the best price.  Some routes are only 20k and others are a whopping 45k!

ua uio1 ua uio2

 

AVIANCA TACA LIFEMILES

Lifemiles has some very attractive promos to buy and share miles.  While this doesn’t give you a free trip, it can greatly reduce the cost of a trip especially if you are after business or first class awards.  You need to be an existing member of Lifemiles when they announce  a promo so join now if you haven’t already.  Use their calculator to get an idea of award costs.  This will be a range which depends on class and any promos.

 

They have a Star Alliance Award chart and you can see that they divide the continent of South America into northern and southern regions.  Ecuador is in the Northern South America region.   Australia and New Zealand are in the “Others” category.  The chart shows one way awards.  Personally,  I prefer to keep my Lifemiles for intra-South/Central America awards which can get pricy but are bargains using awards.

Avianca1 Avianca2

SINGAPORE AIRLINES

SQ miles have become much easier to get in recent years.  Americans can use Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi Thank You, Amex Membership Rewards.  Aussies can use the Australian Amex Membership Rewards.  Everyone can use SPG.  Just beware of the high fuel (carrier) surcharges when you use Krisflyer.  Personally, I would be happy to use SQ miles for intra-South America awards where surcharges are low or even non-exixtant but would use other programs to get from Australia to South America.  SQ has only one region for all of South America so their awards can be a bargain if you are traveling around the continent!

SQ South America

I don’t use all the programs that are out there but these are the most commonly used programs by travel hackers in the USA and Australia so do some research to see which one works for you!  Bear in mind that the tickets are not completely free, there is usually a booking fee of $25-50 and various taxes, but you would have to pay the taxes whether you pay cash or miles for the ticket in any case.

WHAT ABOUT JUST PAYING CASH (WELL, CREDIT CARD)?

No, it’s not blasphemy but sometimes it is a good idea to save your miles and simply pay for the ticket.  The 3 main Central/South American carriers – Avianca, Copa & LATAM have been very competitive lately ex-USA and releasing some very good deals.

Two People To The Colombian Amazon Rainforest For Under $600

Avianca has some really good deals going on right now that can get 2 people from Miami to Leticia in the Colombian Amazon Rainforest for less than $600!  If you don’t live near Miami, then use Avios on AA for a shorthaul.  Here’s a sample booking.

Leticia1 Leticia2 Leticia3Once you get there, find a nice eco-lodge and enjoy the birds!  Here’s a couple I found online though I haven’t stayed at either myself, they do look really good!

Amazonas Jungle Tours

Yoi Ecotours

This is a really good opportunity for those in the USA who can take advantage of it, I know I’d be jumping on it!

 

Is The New Lifemiles Promo Right For You?

While I do believe that credit card miles are the easiest and cheapest to acquire the fact remains that there are many people around the world who don’t have good deals on credit cards that earn miles.  Australia does have a few deals going but playing the miles and points game here is mostly centered around buying cheap miles and redeeming them for premium class airfares at a huge discount.  I don’t recommend buying miles on spec as the program could always devalue before you can spend them.  Assuming I couldn’t get free miles from credit card sign up bonuses, I would wait until I was within 6 months of booking a trip before I would actually pay for miles, even at a discount.

The New Lifemiles Promo

Lifemiles6The maximum you can acquire from this promo is 352,906 miles which will get you a few RT Star Alliance trips in business class.  It would probably work out cheaper flying business class by this means than paying for economy tickets the normal way.

EXAMPLE – ROUND TRIP TO THE GALAPAGOS

This is one of the harder awards to get as I already said in my Lan post.  There has been talk on Flyertalk that Avianca does occasionally have phantom award space on the United portal so I don’t consider United a reliable source for a Galapagos award.

Here’s the cost of using Lifemiles to go RT from Guayaquil to Baltra airport in the Galapagos.

10,000 miles per person on the outbound.

Lifemiles1

Please note that availability to/from SCY San Cristobal is much more difficult.  This makes a difference to me since we are birding and not going on a cruise so chose this island as having the most land-based birds.

Lifemiles2

10,000 miles per person for the return flight from Baltra GPS.

Lifemiles3

You need 40,000 Lifemiles for 2 people to go RT from Guayaquil to the Galapagos.  With the current promo, if you only buy the minimum to achieve the trip you are in the 4th tier which gets a 105% bonus.  You still have to buy 20,000 miles to get at least 40,000 miles so you end up with 41,000 miles (I had 406 left over after my redemptions for next year so ignore those).

Lifemiles4

This ends up costing you $660 USD.

Lifemiles5

If you want to max out the promo, it will end up costing you $4950 for 352,500 miles.

Lifemiles7

 

So to determine if this is a good deal, lets look at our RT trip to the Galapagos for 2 people.  When you buy miles, you still have to pay the taxes on top so you are only saving the cost of the base fare.  In this case it’s $416 per person so $832 for both.   You can save $172 if you use the Lifemiles promo to book these tickets.  Before you buy the miles, you want to check the booking engine to make sure the award is available, especially if you don’t have much flexibility on dates.  Personally, if I was ready to book right away and would otherwise have to pay cash, I’d be happy to save $172, otherwise I would hold off until I got closer to the booking window.

Lifemiles9So this is basically the math you have to do before participating in these promos.  They can be very useful in the right circumstances!

***Apologies for posting this after other bloggers beat me to it, we were out camping in the Aussie Outback!

Why You Can’t Get AA/BA Partner Awards On Lan To The Galapagos

I experienced it myself – the frustration of trying to get award space on Lan from Guayaquil to the Galapagos.  Most people want to get to GPS (Baltra) as that is where the Galapagos cruises depart from and Lan flies there daily.  In my case, since we aren’t doing a cruise, I wanted to get to SCY (San Cristobal) since it has the best land-based birding options but Lan only has 4 flights a week there.  For the purposes of this demonstration, I will use GPS so you can see the fluctuations throughout a week on a daily basis.

Most people going to the Galapagos will want to book as far ahead as possible, especially if they are connecting to a cruise.  At the time I wrote this post, Lan has availability loaded to 25 July at the 20,000 round trip level (10,000 each way).  BA has picked this space up although it usually doesn’t at this level.  On the 4 days preceeding 25 July there is no award space on BA for this route.

Lan GPS1

You can see here the different levels of economy awards.  Lan only flies economy class to the Galapagos.  Usually you need seats at the 8000 km each way level to have it show up on a partner award request.  These seats are selling for anywhere between 11,000 – 14,000 so you can only book them on Lan.

Lan GPS2 Lan GPS3 Lan GPS4

It can get much worse – have a look at these flights over Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) which is ultra-peak season!  Award seats can go up to 22,000 each way!

Lan GPS5

You can sometimes get lucky with close-in bookings.  Although surrounding dates have the high award rates, there is a window of opportunity on a few dates in September as shown by the red dots.

Lan GPS6

And this is how it looks on BA’s booking system.

Lan GPS7So how can you get to the Galapagos?

1.  Lanpass:  Get the US Bank Lan Visa card, then supplement the award with miles transferred from SPG.  It takes about a week for the miles to land which is really frustrating as the award prices can fluctuate daily.

2.  Fly on Aerogal, the Avianca partner who is a member of Star Alliance.  Unfortunately Avianca doesn’t have any transfer partners such as SPG, Ultimate Rewards, Thankyou Points or Amex MR so you have to buy miles, preferably on a promo deal.  They do have a co-branded card with US Bank.

3.  Use United, although availability has been patchy in the past, I am seeing good availability at time of writing.  Oddly enough if you are in GYE, you have to transfer in UIO to get to the Galapagos.

Lan GPS84.  Use your miles to Quito or Guayaquil and pay for the flights to the Galapagos.  Expedia search on random dates for RT flights.

Lan GPS9However you manage to get to the Galapagos, rest assured it will be well worth it!  We are going next year and can’t wait!

September Buy Miles Promos

As usual, each beginning of a month brings an assortment of “buy miles, get bonus” promos.  If you live in the USA you probably won’t be interested as its cheaper to manufacture spend.  If you live anywhere else, these promos may be a good idea to top up your miles accounts but ONLY if you plan to use them within the next few months.  These promos aren’t good enough to buy miles on speculation.  Whether it is worth it to buy miles vs just paying for a revenue ticket depends on where you are going and what class of service you would be booking in so you need to do the math for both before jumping in on these promos.  Also be sure to click on the links and read all the T&Cs before buying.

US AIRWAYS

These will ultimately turn into AAdvantage miles when the programs combine next year.  The tiered system is very annoying because if you just need a couple thousand to top up you don’t get the maximum bonus.  You need to log into your account to actually see the tiers but most people seem to get this one.  At top levels you would be buying miles for $18.80 per block of 1000 miles.

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UNITED AIRLINES

This one is more unusual in that it is crowd-sourcing the actual bonus.  Everyone gets a minimum of 35% extra but that could go up to 100% extra if over 4500 people buy the deal.

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If the 4500 level is reached it would mean buying miles for $18.80 per block of 1000 miles.

AVIANCA-TACA LIFEMILES

Contrary to other bloggers out there, I use this program for bargain flights within Central and South America so no “tricks” needed for me!  It’s a straightforward 100% promo (gotta love airlines who keep it simple) but it is also the last chance to buy miles for $15.00 per block of 1000 miles as the price increases 15 October to $16.00.

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Changes In Avianca And Star Alliance Ticket Redemption

At least they are giving 3 months advance notice!  I have another post on best uses of Lifemiles for eco-tourists.  I still think they are best used on their own metal for intra-Peru or intra-Central America.  The figures below are for round-trip tickets, one ways are half the amount.

From October 15th, 2014, redemption fares for flights with Avianca will change, which include reductions and increases, as shown in the following table:

 

Origin Destination Miles1 from October 15th, 2014
Miami Central America
28.000
Florida Central America
The Caribbean
25.000
Mexico
30.000
South America
40.000
Europe
80.000
Colombia3
Ecuador
Venezuela
Peru
30.000
Orlando Bogota and Medellin
33.000
Washington Bogota
37.000
New York Medellin
Dallas
Newark
New York
Washington
Chicago
Houston
Toronto
Colombia
35.000
Central America4
The Caribbean
30.000
Ecuador
35.000
Europe
80.000
Dallas
Newark
New York
Washington
Chicago
Houston
Toronto
Mexico
30.000
Dallas
Newark
New York
Washington
Chicago
Houston
Peru
Venezuela
35.000
Toronto
Dallas
Newark
New York
Washington
Chicago
Houston
Buenos Aires
Montevideo
Santiago de Chile
45.000
Asuncion
Brasilia
Rio de Janeiro
Sao Paulo
Porto Alegre
La Paz
Santa Cruz
Toronto South America
Los Angeles Bogota
38.000
Lima
37.000
Los Angeles and  San Francisco Central America and The Caribbean
35.000
Colombia
Ecuador
Peru
Venezuela
35.000
Mexico
40.000
Europe
80.000
South America
45.000
Mexico Central America
The Caribbean
Colombia2
25.000
Peru
27.000
Ecuador
28.000
Venezuela
30.000
Asuncion
Buenos Aires
Montevideo
Santiago de Chile
Brasilia
Rio de Janeiro
Sao Paulo
Porto Alegre
La Paz
Santa Cruz
45.000
Miami
Orlando
Fort Lauderdale
30.000
Dallas
Newark
Washington
Houston
New York
Chicago
Toronto
Los Angeles
San Francisco
40.000
Europe
80.000

1 The amount of miles represent round trip tickets
2 Except Mexico to Bogota, Medellin or Cali, from 28.000 miles
3 Except Orlando – Bogota / Medellin, from 33.000 miles
4 Except Houston-El Salvador, from 35.000 miles; Dallas/Washington/New York / Toronto, – El Salvador, from 36.000 miles

 

Flights with Star Alliance member airlines

As for changes in air ticket redemption with Star Alliance member airlines, these include increases up to 13.000 miles in Economy Class and up to 26.000 miles in Business Class. Both cases apply for roundtrip flights from North America.

For roundtrip flights from Mexico, there will be reductions up to 15.000 miles and increases up to 14.000 miles in Economy Class, also reductions up to 20.000 miles and increases up to 28.000 miles in Business class.

To be sure that our members have the opportunity to understand all changes before these take place, all modifications will be effective from October 15th, 2014.

Terms and Conditions

  • The table shown above is illustrative only; its intention is to summarize the amount of miles that will be required per region for the X class in economy cabin. The amount of miles required for a ticket redemption is calculated based on a specific origin and destination and could not match with the amount of miles shown on the table above, it could be higher.
  • The amount of miles required could vary depending on the date, route and redemption product.
  • To know the exact amount of required miles for each origin and destination, it will be necessary to consult the amount through the redemption system athttps://www.lifemiles.com/eng/use/red/dynredpar.aspx after October 15th, 2014.
  • The amounts listed by the redemption system shall prevail over those shown on the table above.
  • LifeMiles is a trademark of LifeMiles Corp.
  • LifeMiles Terms and Conditions apply and can be found at www.lifemiles.com.

Lifemiles Brings Back “The Best Promotion in the Americas”

Remember, you should only buy miles if you will be using them very soon as there is always a risk they may devalue.  Having said that, Lifemiles is now the cheapest source of Star Alliance miles since US Airways joined OneWorld if you can’t manufacture spend.

Read my review of Avianca Lifemiles programLifemiles

Buy miles and receive the double!

Buy miles 2×1 is back! The promotion that has been recognized as the Best Promotion in the Americas at the 2014 Freddie Awards.

Between May 5th and 30th, for each block of 1,000 miles you buy, LifeMiles will give you a bonus of 100% more, that can be redeemed to fly to more than 1,300 destinations with Avianca, AeroGal, Star Alliance member airlines and other partner airlines. You can also enjoy your miles with the program’s extensive commercial partner network, between more than 100,000 hotels in 90 countries, for songs from the best Universal Music artists, Car Rentals, LifeMiles Catalog and much more.

Terms and Conditions

This promotion is available through Avianca Call Centers, LifeMiles.com and Avianca Information Centers, except Colombia where is available only through the Call Center and LifeMiles.com. For residents of Venezuela, it is only available through LifeMiles.com. This promotion is available between May 5th, and May 30th, 2014, as the last date of purchase. Minimum of miles to buy per transaction: LM1,000. Maximum miles to buy per transaction: LM75,000. Maximum miles to buy during a calendar year: LM150,000 (including the bonus for promotional mile purchase). Miles must be purchased in multiples of 1,000. Maximum number of transactions: 1 transaction. At LifeMiles.com, the purchase can only be done through Earn/Buy LifeMiles. Does not apply to the Flexible Redemption (miles + money) during the payment process of air ticket redemption. Each package of 1,000 miles costs USD 35.40, including all taxes applicable to each country*. For residents in Colombia, each pack of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 30. The values are settled in Colombian pesos at the TRM rate of the date of the transaction. For residents in Peru, each pack of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 35.4 or S/.99.1 including taxes. Reference exchange rate to April 1 2014: S/.2.80 per 1 USD. For residents in Costa Rica, each pack of 1,000 miles has a cost of USD 30. The values are settled in the exchange rate of the date of the transaction. Form of payment through Call Center and LifeMiles.com: International credit or debit card. Cash payments are only allowed at Avianca Information Centers. Other conditions: Applies only to members enrolled in the program prior to May 5th, 2014. The miles purchase transaction receipt will show the total of miles credited to the customer’s account, including bonus, and the total amount charged for the 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. Miles purchased, once accrued, can be redeemed in accordance with the conditions specified in the LifeMiles Program Terms and Conditions and the portfolio of products and services available for redemption. LifeMiles Terms and Conditions apply. * The price may be lower depending on the country of residence registered in the members account in the database.

 

Avianca Lifemiles – Buy Miles 2×1 Is Back!

This has been out for a while, just getting caught up after my trip.

Dear Tara Tuatai :

Buy Miles 2×1 is back!

We want you to live twice as much and because you deserve more, for each block of 1,000 miles you buy between December 3rd and 30th, 2013, you will receive the double!

Enjoy this bonus of 100% more that LifeMiles gives you. Is very easy! Buy now at LifeMiles.com and your miles will be accrued in your account automatically.

Remember you can enjoy your miles flying to more than 1,300 destinations and with our vast partner network: Hotels, Car rentals, products of our LifeMiles Catalog, songs from the best Universal Music artists and much more.

Read more about Lifemiles here.  

With  US Airways Dividend Miles merging into AAdvantage, Lifemiles will become more important as a source of Star Alliance awards so worth considering.

Flight Review, Taca: Flores – Guatemala City – San Jose, Costa Rica

Many people on FlyerTalk are members of Avianca-Taca Lifemiles due to some very generous promos such as the buy/give/share 100% bonus promos.  Most people are collecting the miles to redeem on Star Alliance awards so very few have actually flown on Taca so I hope this post will be of interest.

This route is a special bargain whether you are using Lifemiles or United Mileage Plus.  Look how much it would cost to buy the tickets.  Before you get too excited about “business class” remember these are only small planes so there is no business class unless you connect again in El Salvador.

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You can choose from a daytime connection that gets you to SJO in the evening or an overnight connection in GUA.  If you go for the morning connection, you would need to spend the night in Flores.  We did the overnight connection so we could maximize time at Tikal, arrive in San Jose at a decent hour and use Club Carlson points for a free night at the Radisson.

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Using Lifemiles more miles/more money toggle you can bring the cost of these flights down to 3500 miles plus $45 (plus tax).

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Using United Mileage Plus it’s still a pretty good deal, especially if you have the usual credit cards.  The $51.50 is the tax added on to the flights, you have to pay this on Taca as well.  Scroll down if you want the overnight connection because UA lists flights by duration of travel.

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There are no lounges in the Flores airport, there is a United Club at Guatemala City.  This is the first plane from Flores to Guatemala City, all economy seats but a very short flight so who cares?

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Arriving in Guatemala City is strange because you have to wait in line at customs even though it is a domestic flight.  We had our boarding passes out ready to show that we were on a domestic flight and they waved us through once we got to the front of the line.  Luckily we had carried our backpacks on so we avoided further delay.  This was relevant as we found the Radisson’s shuttle waiting for us and one other couple.  The other couple didn’t show up so the shuttle took us to the hotel, then the driver got a call that the other couple finally made it out of the airport and were looking for the shuttle!

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Next morning, waiting to board plane to San Jose.

 

 

 

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Guatemala City airport does have some pretty cool shops which take credit cards without a surcharge.  I succumbed to the temptation!

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