Check Your LifeMiles Bookings – Something Fishy May Be Happening

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xCheck Your LifeMiles Bookings - Something Fishy Happening

Check Your LifeMiles Bookings – Something Fishy Happening

For anyone with award tickets booked with them, you should check your LifeMiles bookings. Inconsistent but alarming data points are popping up regarding LifeMiles award bookings. Here’s what we are seeing.

Avianca & LifeMiles Situations

Avianca, based out of Colombia, filed for bankruptcy back in May. Despite that, LifeMiles, their award program, announced that they’re continuing “business as usual”. Because LifeMiles is technically a separate company, LifeMiles seemed poised to continue as normal, so we doubted anyone would lose their miles during the bankruptcy. Using your LifeMiles account and booking award tickets continued like normal.

The annoying part with Avianca has been refunds. Since they’re short on cash, refunding people is taking forever. Case in point: I filed a complaint with American Express last week, due to a delayed refund. We booked a cheap cash ticket back in May (for flights in Feb 2021). A day later, we saw a cheaper fare for leaving a day earlier, so we changed our tickets. Avianca owes us cash for the price difference. It’s been nearly 3 months, yet they promised the refund within 2 months. Even worse, people are still waiting for money from April for taxes on canceled flights.

New Data Points On Cancellations

Things are looking even more fishy now after a tip in our Facebook group. Data points are popping up on canceled award tickets. If you have award bookings with partner airlines, you should check your LifeMiles bookings. This FlyerTalk thread shows new data points of LifeMiles award bookings that were canceled without notification. Here’s where it gets crazy, though.

People who contacted the operating airline (United or Turkish) were told that LifeMiles canceled the ticket. The airlines say they’re still running the flights. When people contact LifeMiles, they say that the flights are canceled, not running. LifeMiles says to expect a refund of miles within 15 days. Taxes & fees will be returned within 5 months. 5 months!

Final Thoughts

Something is fishy here. LifeMiles swears that the operating airlines have canceled the flights. The operating airlines say the flight is still going, but LifeMiles canceled the ticket. What’s the deal? If you have awards with them, check your LifeMiles bookings. It wouldn’t hurt to have a “plan B” in your back pocket, in case you need it.

If you’ve got a LifeMiles award booking, what’s the status of it?

Ryan S
Travel hacker in 2-player mode, intent on visiting every country in the world, and can say "hello" or "how much does this cost?" in a bunch of different languages.

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18 COMMENTS

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Hey everyone! :waves: First time caller, long time listener. So let me share my story about Lifemiles and then I have a question for all of you.

    I had a trip planned to Croatia redeeming Business Class on Lufthansa. It was Lufthansa metal the entire way except for the first leg out of Dubrovnik which was on Croatian Airlines. Layover was FRA both ways. I had everything in place – regular COVID tests every week (rapid) before I went for my scheduled same-day PCR test the day before departure (I had everything timed down to the hour so that my PCR would be valid when getting to Dubrovnik). I had read peoples’ hesitancies about Lifemiles, but decided to press my luck. So I transferred the miles from my Citi card to Lifemiles and got a 25% bonus – so that rocked. In total, I the trip cost me 126,000 Lifemiles (94,500 Citi miles).

    On a whim one day, I logged into my Lifemiles accounty only to discover the Croatian Airlines leg had been cancelled. WTF?! Of course, I’m mildy-panicking so I call Lufthansa and they confirmed that the Croatian flight had been canceled. I then spend 45 minutes calling Lifemiles – getting transferred back and forth between the Change department (responsibile for flight changes) and the Lifemiles department.

    They told me that Croatian Airlines canceled the flight and they were unable to switch my return trip of DBV-FRA-LAX to DBV-MUC-LAX. So I ended up just canceling the entire trip. Lifemiles told me that since Croatian Airlines canceled the trip they wouldn’t need to charge me $200 and they would return my taxes, but that the $25 Star Alliance fee was not refundable (which is fine).

    They did tell me it would take 15 business days for the Lifemiles to be returned to my account, and up to 5 MONTHS for me to get the taxes back to my Amex Platinum card.

    So, in researching the flight on Croatian Airlines’ site, I found that departure time was moved 5 minutes later. When I tried to search the same flight on Lifemiles’ page, it was no longer available – for any class (Economy, Premium, Business). So not sure what happened there, but really bummed me out.

    In retrospect, I probably could have called Croatian Airlines to see if they could have done anything, but after spending almost an hour between Lufthansa and Lifemiles, I was over it.

    Now my question – with Lifemiles saying it will take up to 5 months to return my taxes, do I have any recourse through Amex? Does the ridiculously long amount of time Lifemiles is saying it will take to return $145 violate anything with Amex? Also, do I want to risk doing a chargeback/complaint with Amex and possibly risk anything happening to my Lifemiles?

    What are your thoughts?

    • Eric – I filed a dispute with Amex about Avianca telling me in writing several times I’d get my money in 30 days but it’s now been 4 months. You could ask them what to do about this 5 months thing and see what they say.

  2. Case point
    Had lifemiles booking on Austrian airlines, two flights. Saw news article that Austria suspended flight to final destination Country a month ago, yet Austrian air was showing as Confirmed/booked and flights were available for sale. Called Austrian they said all good.

    Was notified by lifemiles that there’s issue with booking few days prior and within 24 hrs of flight Austrian officially cancelled New York – Vienna flight and second flight. Seems like a lot of airlines are holding on to cancel last minute and possibly lifemiles is getting heads up before we do.

    Miles returned into account within 48 hrs, taxes they said up to 6 months.

  3. Flight on EVA air from PVG to LAX on September 3 is not displaying on website anymore. I checked EVA and the original flight is gone as well. No notice

  4. They Canceled the 2ed leg of my flight with Turkish for 2 weeks from now and no notification. I can still buy this flight on the Turkish website.

  5. I’m still waiting on a tax refund from a EVA Air flight booked with Lifemiles that was cancelled in March!

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