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Avianca LifeMiles are awesome because you can use them to book any Star Alliance carrier with no fuel surcharges at a fair miles price.

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I have used LifeMiles to book Europe to the United States in Business Class for 63,000 miles, Japan to Thailand in Business Class for 36,000 miles, and the United States to Cuba for 17,500 miles.

My two main complaints with LifeMiles were:

  1. The only way to get the miles easily is to buy them for 1.32 to 1.5 cents each during frequent sales because there is no credit card that earns a lot of them, and there is no transfer partner of LifeMiles.
  2. No mixed cabin awards. You couldn’t fly economy + business or business + first on a single award. This is weird because every other program I can think of does allow these mixed cabin awards at the price of the highest cabin you fly.

The first complaint remains, but now the second is gone. You can now book mixed cabin awards with LifeMiles.

For instance, here is an award that combines United economy and United First Class. Previously this would have been unbookable.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.24.34 PM Similarly here is an award from Phuket, Thailand to Paris that flies Business Class on one leg and First on another.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 9.27.00 PM

 

Previously it would have been unbookable. In fact, Phuket to Paris would have been unbookable with a Bangkok-to-Paris leg in First Class since Phuket to Bangkok never has First Class.

As expected, LifeMiles mixed cabin awards price as if the whole one way were in the highest cabin booked (ie there is no discount for flying part of the award in an inferior cabin.) That means both awards pictured above price at the First Class level.

Bottom Line

This small change makes a huge difference in the value of LifeMiles. Many more awards are now bookable. I am raising my valuation of the points from 1.5 to 1.6 cents each on the Mile Value Leaderboard.

Hat Tip Travel Codex

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