LifeMiles Adjusts Award Rates To Australia & New Zealand

Avianca’s LifeMiles program is one of my favorites for premium cabin Star Alliance redemptions, given that they frequently sell miles at a discount. LifeMiles had an award chart devaluation back in 2014, though hasn’t made many major changes to their Star Alliance partner chart since.

Frankly I think they’re at the sweet spot right now, and don’t see them making another big devaluation anytime soon. Following the last devaluation a few years ago we saw that they increased the percent bonus they offered on purchased miles, which suggests to me that demand dropped greatly following the devaluation, causing them to increase the bonuses offered.

However, some occasional minor adjustments in certain regions aren’t surprising, presumably based on data they have of peoples’ redemption patterns.

LifeMiles has just announced some award chart changes for travel booked as of May 15, 2017. This only impacts travel to/from Oceania (including Australia and New Zealand). The cost of three types of awards is decreasing, while the cost of seven types of awards is increasing.

LifeMiles-5

Award costs are decreasing for awards from three regions, including much of the Americas:

LifeMiles-Australia-2

As you can see, the cost of first class awards between North America and Australia is decreasing, which is sort of hilarious, since there’s not a Star Alliance airline offering a first class product between the US and Australia anymore (United’s service is operated exclusively by 787s, which don’t have a first class cabin).

Meanwhile here are the seven regions where award costs are increasing, includes travel to Oceania from Hawaii, Brazil, Europe, South Africa, and much of Asia:

LifeMiles-Australia-1

The biggest cost increase we’re seeing here is 12,500 miles one-way for a premium cabin, so I don’t think that’s too bad.

Thai-Airways-First-Class
The cost of Thai Airways first class awards from some regions to Australia is increasing

Bottom line

I don’t consider these LifeMiles changes to be terrible. These award cost increases are for travel to one region, and the increases aren’t unreasonably large. LifeMiles is also providing advance notice of this change. I don’t anticipate we’ll see any other major changes.

Will you be impacted by LifeMiles’ award cost changes to/from Oceania?

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.

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Comments

  1. @Lucky:

    If you read the footnote at the bottom of the new chart, under footnote 2, it says “2 The changes in redemption mileage are unidirectional (from the region others)”. Also if you read the wording carefully, it says “FROM Australia, NZ and Oceania” and the chart says “TO Europe, Asia….etc”.

    Does that suggest this change only applies if you originate from Australia/NZ, but not from other regions? So traveling TO Australia NZ remains unchanged?

  2. @lucky

    Would love to see a post summarizing how you view the current sweetspots of the major programs (both the transferable currencies and a few of the individual airlines). I understand it wouldnt be reasonable to do a comprehensive post of all programs to all regions, but maybe “I find myself most often tranfering Citi points to XYZ airline for redemptions in Asia and ABC airline for European flights, while for Amex/Chase I prefer XYZ”.

    Might be helpful to do seperate analysis by cabin since I imagine your readers fall into buckets (use redemptions Biz). What 1st class redemptions offer reasonable premiums anymore?

    Love the blog though, just my $0.02.

  3. Lucky, I can go to Europe with LifeMiles on Lufthansa or Austrian Airlines metal. Both in business, which would you opt for? I know you love Lufthansa, but I’ve heard great things about Austrian Airlines.

  4. “there’s not a Star Alliance airline offering a first class product between the US and Australia anymore ”

    OK, but what about via connections on, say, ANA? Can’t those be booked with LifeMiles?

  5. @CJ – for biz class, I would go with Austrian, especially if you are traveling solo. They have the 1-2-1 layout and you can get the “window-window” seats for a decent amount of privacy and direct aisle access. Lufthansa First is exceptional, but I think their biz class is behind the times, at least when it comes to the hard product. I may be wrong, but felt soft product was pretty similar between the two, at least in my experience.

  6. I’ve been waiting for another life Miles promotion for this very reason. Getting my parents in law to Europe and the us from Australia. I think Thai first class to Europe then pay to Usa. Then maybe Ana home.

    This seems like a long lull between promotions or do you think its going to precede an offer?

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