Starwood Preferred Guest and Avianca LifeMiles have just announced a new partnership. That’s pretty interesting, given that Marriott’s takeover of Starwood is scheduled to be finalized in just over 24 hours (of course SPG won’t disappear overnight, but still, it’s great to see the folks at SPG innovating until the very end).
Through this new partnership, Avianca LifeMiles will be added as one of SPG’s mileage transfer partners, meaning Starpoints can be converted into LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 points transferred.
LifeMiles is a useful frequent flyer program for Star Alliance redemptions, and they often sell miles at a discount. For example, at the moment you can buy LifeMiles for as little as ~1.375 cents each. So while they’re a great program for redemptions, I probably wouldn’t transfer points from SPG to LifeMiles when I can otherwise buy them at a reasonable cost.
However, there’s more than just LifeMiles being added as an airline transfer partner. To celebrate the new partnership, SPG members can earn double base Starpoints for stays of two or more nights at participating hotels in Latin America and the Caribbean between September 15 and December 15, 2016. Registration is required, and you can find the full list of participating hotels here.
Interestingly the page about the new partnership indicates that they’re “joining forces to bring you more benefits.” To me this sounds like we might see a similar partnership to Starwood’s Crossover Rewards partnership with Delta, and also Starwood’s Your World Rewards partnership with Emirates.
This would be pretty logical, since all three carriers are in very different geographical regions. However, it seems like we’ll have to wait for more details on that, since they haven’t been announced yet.
It’s great to see SPG adding another airline mileage transfer partner, especially a program as useful as LifeMiles. Personally I’d rather pay cash for LifeMiles than transfer Starpoints to them, but I’m sure others will find this valuable. I’m also curious about what further perks Starwood and Avianca are hinting at.