New LifeMiles Star Alliance Award Chart

Yesterday I posted about the changes that Avianca announced to their LifeMiles program, for bookings made starting October 15, 2014.

LifeMiles is giving advance notice of these changes

As much as I hate devaluations, I have to give LifeMiles credit for at least giving ample notice of the changes. In the past they’ve made changes without any advance notice, so I’m happy to see they’re not doing that anymore. They’ve even separately announced that the cost of purchased miles will be going up by 10% in September.

The odd thing is that while they published the new award rates for travel on Avianca, they didn’t publish the new Star Alliance rates initially.

LifeMiles has now published the new Star Alliance award chart

LifeMiles has now published their new Star Alliance award chart, valid for travel booked as of October 15, 2014.

Here’s their description of the new award rates:

From October 15th, 2014, redemption fares for flights with Avianca will change, which include reductions and increases on all routes operated by the airline.

Miles required for air ticket redemptions with Star Alliance member airlines will also change. Redemption table adjustments will increase an average of 1% on required miles for Economy class and 13% for Business class, based on redemptions made during last year.

Learn how many miles you need to redeem a ticket with Star Alliance member airlines here

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.

It’s interesting that they leave out the percent increase in the number of miles needed for first class.

Anyway, here’s the new LifeMiles chart for Star Alliance travel (prices displayed are one-way):

Lifemiles-Chart-1
Lifemiles-Chart-2
Lifemiles-Chart-3

Here’s a trivia question, based on the LifeMiles award chart — what country is North of Central America, not in North America, and not Mexico? šŸ˜‰

Miss-Teen-South-Carolina
Any thoughts, Miss Teen South Carolina?

Comparing the old and new LifeMiles Star Alliance award rates

Below I’ve put together a chart comparing the new and old Star Alliance redemption rates for travel originating in North America (the new rates are bolded and on top):

North America To:EconomyBusinessFirst
North America12,500
12,500
25,000
25,000
35,000
35,000
Hawaii22,500
20,000
40,000
40,000
50,000
50,000
Carribean17,500
17,500
35,000
30,000
45,000
40,000
Mexico17,500
17,500
35,000
30,000
45,000
40,000
North of Central America18,000
17,500
36,000
30,000
46,000
40,000
South of Central America18,000
15,000
36,000
27,500
46,000
37,500
North of South America20,000
20,000
40,000
35,000
50,000
45,000
South of South America30,000
30,000
60,000
50,000
70,000
67,500
Europe30,000
30,000
63,000
52,500
87,000
72,500
Middle East / North Africa42,500
40,000
78,000
65,000
105,000
87,500
South Africa40,000
40,000
78,000
65,000
105,000
87,500
North Asia35,000
32,500
75,000
62,500
90,000
75,000
Central Asia42,500
40,000
78,000
65,000
111,000
92,500
South Asia39,000
32,500
78,000
65,000
99,000
82,500
Oceania / Others40,000
40,000
80,000
67,500
111,000
92,500

How bad are the LifeMiles award chart changes?

All things considered the changes are definitely bad, but could be worse, in my opinion.

The changes really mirror a trend we’ve seen in the industry lately when it comes to award chart devaluations:

  • Award prices within North America are remaining the same, which is often used as a marketing bullet for the airlines (even non-US airlines); you do have to wonder at what point an airline will tamper with the “holy” 25,000 mile roundtrip domestic award
  • Economy award prices aren’t going up by much — they’re staying the same, or going up a few thousand miles at most
  • Premium cabin longhaul award tickets are going up by the most, up to 18,500 miles one-way

ANA-First-Class
Cost of ANA first class between the US and Japan goes from 75,000 miles to 90,000 miles

Relatively speaking these changes aren’t horrible, in my opinion. The increases suck, but I don’t think it’s a totally unreasonable devaluation. It’s certainly not as bad as United’s award chart devaluation earlier this year, whereby we saw some awards go up by 65,000 miles one-way, in some cases up to 100%.

So while of course I’m not happy to see these changes, kudos to LifeMiles for providing advance notice. Now it’s time to burn all my LifeMiles. šŸ˜‰

Will this backfire for LifeMiles?

Between the 10% increase in the cost of purchased miles and increased redemption rates, I think this may backfire for their business of trying to “consolidate” premium cabin Star Alliance award tickets. They could have gotten away with a 10% increase in the cost of purchased miles or an award chart devaluation and still increased their “net” award business, in my opinion, but both are a pretty steep change to swallow. Especially since they were still definitely making money on awards with the old rates and reimbursement costs

Not that there are many alternatives for cheap premium cabin Star Alliance award tickets nowadays…

What do you think of the LifeMiles award chart changes?

About lucky

Ben Schlappig (aka Lucky) is a travel consultant, blogger, and avid points collector. He travels about 400,000 miles a year, primarily using miles and points to fund his first class experiences. He chronicles his adventures, along with industry news, here at One Mile At A Time.

More articles by lucky »

Comments

  1. So they sell miles and then right after the sale, they devalue? This kind of bait and switch makes it really hard to have faith in your purchases

  2. “North of Central America” means the northern part of Central America, not some region located to the north of Central America.

  3. This is a really bad devaluation šŸ™

    how do we see which countries belong to each region ?

  4. @Carlos The award chart lists all countries in each region

    I think this is a pretty reasonable devaluation especially considering LM will still remain the most affordable premium cabin program esp with the 2×1 promos (which run 3-4 a year). Besides, Europe to Maldives/Sri Lanka went down by 25k miles for a roundtrip in business/first which I definitely like!

  5. I’m not sure why Ken is excited about this devaluation, saying that it is good for North Asia. I am based in North Asia, and every single award that I regularly use will increase and be almost in line with United. Ken must like wasting miles on economy awards, or he simply likes paying more for things? North Asia to Europe or North America are both in line with United, and to SE Asia LM is jumping to 72,000 miles from 60,000 in business. This is slightly less than United’s 80,000 for same route. It seems like the good old days are almost over.

  6. Some excellent improvement in value for the markets I usually redeem in. Down by almost 30%. Time to stock up on LifeMiles again!

  7. Sean and Ken, please elaborate on what exactly your routes are that are exciting you, and tell us whether you are talking eco or bus redemption.

    I crunched more numbers and realized that in reality the LM chart for the bus redemptions I use is WORSE than United’s chart, for the simple reason that you do not get a stopover. Taking a stopover results in a 3-leg trip, and you pay for each of those 3 legs! Example: For 80,000 on United I can do SE Asia from North Asia with one stopover. With LM, the same award will cost 102,000; the same horrendous difference results if I fly North Asia to Europe with one stopover. United will be 150,000 in bus. and LM will be 180,000 (stopover in SE Asia).

  8. In the recent post above, I should have wrote that what costs 150,000 with United would cost 189,000 miles with LM. N. Asia-Europe-SE Asia-N. Asia.

    Basically, LM is totally nuts to make their chart look like United’s when they do not offer the same quality of award.

  9. The only change that excites me here is North Asia-Oceania drops to 50,000 in F. Otherwise LM is dead to me

  10. I don`t think the changes were that bad and considering the cost from other companies, I still think Lifemiles is reasonable to buy and redeem miles. Itā€™s not good to earn and burn. I bet we`ll see much worse devaluation on AA/US chart sometime soon and Lifemiles will be the less expensive (not cheaper) way to buy miles and fly. It would have been better if they didn`t devaluate, but the same applies to UA, Delta, AFā€¦ and I donā€™t think LM butchered their chart.

  11. “…what country is North of Central America, not in North America, and not Mexico? ;)”

    Notice that not only is there a North of Central America but also a South of Central America, North of South America, and South of South America. No Star Alliance partner flies to Antarctica, so clearly South of South America doesn’t mean that.

    One should then be able to deduce that this is a case of sub-par English and that the “North” and “South” mean the northern and southern portions of each region by using one’s critical thinking skills (if they exist, which isn’t always true). šŸ˜‰

  12. Considering LM has increased the price to purchase miles and now redemptions… coupled with no mixed cabin awards … time to dump LM

  13. @ Yang — Will have a longer post on that in a few days, if that’s okay. Really depends on travel goals, for the most part.

  14. @Mark – Routes between Middle East/South Africa/Central Asia are significantly reduced in price and these correspond pretty much exactly with my travel patterns.

  15. @Sean – Well, you must be a happy camper Sean. My typical routes are 3 different ones originating in Japan, and every one of these routes will have a significant increase for business awards, with 2 of them coming to be right in line with United numbers. I don’t do economy awards. Any idea why your regions are becoming cheaper? Maybe it has something to do with the airlines that service those routes?

  16. I think this is poor planning on LM side. Example, look at North America to Europe. Their old price (about 1.5 cpm) and 105,000 in business class would be a trip to Europe on points for about $1700 all in. That is a discount as I rarely see business class to Europe for less then $2000. However, with their new rate 1.8 cpm multiplied by 126,000 miles + tax and fees is about $2500. I often see discounted business fares for that price and their earn points and status.

    When you couple these price increases with the problems the LM program has (no mixed awards, poor website, etc, the value in this program is gone.)

    One other point to note, Lufthansa First is being blocked as well, Not a big deal unless you were flying to just FRA, or MUC as you cannot mix a first award so you could not do a SEA-FRA-AMS for example, you would need to book two awards anyhow.

    Good-bye Lifemiles.

  17. This thread is dated, but has anybody attempted to reach LifeMiles to discuss the inability to book awards in multiple cabins. For instance, LAX to ICN in first on Asiana but most of the connections are business. Thus, you can’t book a first and a business, instead only business. This is horrible and attempting to communicate with these people is worse than talking to a wall! They are clueless

  18. @Lucky, they have another promotion which is slightly better than the previous ones: 2×1 miles plus 10% bonus

    Max 150000 miles can be credited to an account

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