LifeMiles Award Chart Changes 2021
I’ve long been a fan of Avianca LifeMiles. Their award prices are generally attractive and they don’t pass along fuel surcharges. But they can be a pain in the neck to work with at times. I’ve been dreading the day that the program is heavily devalued. So it surprised me to see recent LifeMiles award chart changes that are a net positive.
A while ago Avianca LifeMiles changed their award chart for the U.S. from a strictly zone-based system (with three zones) to a generally zone-based system with the occasional exception. For example, I can travel nonstop to SFO from my local airport for just 6,500 LifeMiles, while a ticket with an onward connection to Las Vegas costs 7,500 LifeMiles. Does it make sense? No. But I’m happy to save a few miles.
Now it looks like Avianca will use a distance-based chart for flights within Canada and also between Canada and the United States.
Canadian LifeMiles Distance-Based Awards
Like a decent number of programs, LifeMiles had been charging 12,500 miles for one-way for awards within Canada and between Canada and the United States. For short-haul trips, this isn’t all that great of a price. Overall, the pricing looks like an improvement. Here is the new pricing for trips within Canada:
|0 - 500||6,000 LM||15,000 LM|
|501 - 1,500||10,000 LM||20,000 LM|
|1,501+||12,500 LM||25,000 LM|
And here is the new pricing for trips between Canada and the United States:
|0 - 500||6,500 LM||15,000 LM|
|501 - 800||7,500 LM||16,000 LM|
|801 - 1,200||10,000 LM||18,000 LM|
|1,201 - 2,000||12,500 LM||20,000 LM|
|2,001+||13,500 LM||25,000 LM|
I will take LifeMiles award charge changes of this sort any day of the week.
Let’s take a look at some sample routes to see how things stack up:
- Chicago to Toronto, 436 flight miles – 6,500 LifeMiles
- San Francisco to Vancouver, 800 flight miles – 7,500 LifeMiles
- Vancouver to Los Angeles, 1,081 flight miles – 10,000 LifeMiles
- Los Angeles to Toronto, 2,175 flight miles – 13,500 LifeMiles
- Vancouver to Calgary, 428 flight miles – 6,000 LifeMiles
- Montreal to St. Johns (NL), 1,008 flight miles – 10,000 LifeMiles
Air Canada flies to many destinations in the eastern U.S. that will benefit from this new pricing. Trouble is, they seem to be fairly stringy with award space compared to United, with whom I found far more available seats.
I was glad SFO-YVR prices out as it should (at least according to MileCalc), as it is right on the line between tiers.
These “improvements” are a benefit on the whole. The only flights that will experience an increase are those that are of over 2,000 miles, which will be priced at 13,500 LifeMiles one-way. These will see a modest increase of 1,000 miles over the old price. For many other routes, the price either stays the same or decreases substantially.
I’ve been a fan of LifeMiles for a while. Well…it’s more of a love/hate relationship. When they shine, they shine (e.g. no fuel surcharges on award tickets). But there are other times they can really hurt.
What do you think of these LifeMiles award chart changes?
H/T: One Mile at a Time