Avianca recently began flying the 787 Dreamliner from Colombia to destinations in South America and North America. Soon it will also fly the Dreamliner to Europe!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZqdYxH8Y1WA&t=0m17s

This is exciting because Avianca’s fully flat Business Class looks very nice, award prices on the long intra-South American flights are super cheap, and this is be the most comfortable way to fly between the United States and Colombia.

The Product

I just flew Avianca’s angled flat bed on its A330 from Bogota to Buenos Aires. (Full trip report.) I was actually pleasantly surprised by the comfort of that bed, but the Avianca 787’s fully flat seats that are world-class would be a big step up.

The 28 Business Class beds are arranged 1-2-1 with direct aisle access from every seat. United puts six Business Class seats across its 787s, so not all seats have direct aisle access. Advantage Avianca.

Check the video above for a view of the Business Class cabin and bed.

The Routes

Currently the Avianca Dreamliner is flying between Bogota and:

  • New York-JFK
  • Buenos Aires
  • Sao Paulo
  • Mexico City
  • Santiago, Chile

In the summer, it begins flying between Bogota and:

  • London-LHR
  • Madrid

In the fall and winter, it adds flights between Madrid and:

  • Cali
  • Medellin

As always, I pulled this info from airlineroute.net.

The Price

Avianca is a member of Star Alliance. You can redeem United, Asiana, Lufthansa, Singapore, ANA and Avianca miles for its award space, and you can search the award space on united.com. There are no fuel surcharges on Avianca flights, so these flights can be a great use of your miles with programs that collect fuel surcharges on awards.

Here are some relevant award prices. I’ve put the best deals in bold.

United

United has a region-to-region award chart.

  • From the United States to Northern South America (including New York to Bogota): 35,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From Mexico to Northern South America (including Mexico City to Bogota): 20,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From the United States to Southern South America (including New York to Bogota to Buenos Aires, Santiago, or Sao Paulo): 55,000 miles each way in Business Class
  • From Northern South America to Southern South America (including Bogota to Buenos Aires, Santiago, or Sao Paulo): 40,000 miles each way in Business Class

ANA

ANA has a distance-based award chart. You can get its miles by transferring Starpoints or Membership Rewards.

  • New York to Bogota roundtrip is 63,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • New York to Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago roundtrip is 85,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • Bogota to Mexico City roundtrip is 43,000 ANA miles in Business Class
  • Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago roundtrip is 63,000 ANA miles in Business Class

Singapore

Singapore is a transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints. Singapore considers all of South America one region, so the flights from North to South are underpriced.

  • Any one way within South America including Bogota to Sao Paulo/Buenos Aires/Santiago is 20,000 Singapore miles in Business Class

Award Space

Award space varies greatly by route. Avianca isn’t exactly protecting the 787’s Business Class cabin, but some routes are very tough to find space.

Bogota to Santiago has award space on by far the most days–blue and green on the calendar below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.59.22 PM

The short redeye would hopefully permit a nap.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 2.59.28 PM

Award space is even wide open in the summer (South American winter.)

Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.00.17 PM

But that’s all for one person. I didn’t see space for two people on any days.

Bogota to Buenos Aires has much less space, mostly on Wednesdays.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.06.26 PM

Again, it is a short redeye heading south.Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 3.06.32 PMNew York to Bogota is a mystery. I actually can’t figure out when the 787 flies the route. It certainly flies it Wednesday, March 11 and has flown it in the past month, but when else?

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.51.15 PM

Award space on the route is basically Wednesdays, without much in the summer.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.51.09 PMBut most of that award space is on the A330 (reviewed here) not the 787.

Bogota to Mexico City is wide open with award space.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.58.13 PM

 

Most days have award space on multiple flights. On March 4, the Dreamliner has the 2 PM flight.Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 2.57.53 PM

How to Book the Award Space

  1. Search on united.com. Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the space you find.
  2. Consult your mileage balances and their award charts to figure out the best Star Alliance miles for you to redeem.
  3. Contact the airline whose miles you want to use to book the flights.

Bottom Line

The Avianca Dreamliner is a big step up for Avianca in terms of the Business Class product on board–fully flat beds with direct aisle access. The plane will fly routes from Colombia to North America, South America, and Europe.

Award space varies by route, but is generally good for one person in Business Class.

The best deals are with United, ANA, and Singapore miles though the space can be booked with any Star Alliance miles. Avianca flights don’t have fuel surcharges, so they’re a great way to burn miles in programs that collect applicable fuel surcharges.

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