LifeMiles Introduces Discounted Shorthaul Awards For US Travel

One of the great developments we’ve seen on many airline award charts the past few years is the introduction of discounted shorthaul awards. For example, that’s one of the best aspects of British Airways Avios, though it’s a concept many other airlines have followed in the meantime.

However, there aren’t many Star Alliance programs that offer discounted awards for shorthaul travel within the US. There’s some good news on that front.

Avianca’s LifeMiles program has introduced new shorthaul awards for travel within the US. Specifically, LifeMiles has split the US up into three regions (United States 1, United States 2, and United States 3). While no award costs are going up (which is to say that economy costs no more than 12,500 miles, and first class costs no more than 35,000 miles), they have introduced some lower award costs when traveling within those regions.

Here’s the new region based award chart for domestic travel within the US:

And here’s which states belong to each region:

United States 1:

Connecticut, Delaware, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington DC

United States 2:

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, South Dakota, Wisconsin

United States 3:

Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming

What this means is that:

  • Travel within any of the above regions costs 7,500 miles one-way rather than 12,500 miles one-way
  • Travel between United States 1 and United States 2 costs 10,000 miles one-way rather than 12,500 miles one-way

Note that this new region based chart doesn’t apply for longhaul travel, but rather only for domestic travel. For longhaul awards you’ll still pay the same number of miles no matter what part of the US you travel to.

For example, you can fly between Seattle and San Diego for 7,500 miles one-way, even when a connection is required (meanwhile with British Airways Avios, it’s 7,500 Avios for a shorthaul award, though only when flying nonstop):

Or an award ticket from Palm Beach to Newark would cost you 10,000 miles, rather than the previous 12,500 miles:

LifeMiles often sells miles at a discount, sometimes for as little as 1.375 cents each. So this could be a way to score a heck of a deal on a shorthaul flight within the US, especially given that they can often be expensive last minute, in particular to smaller markets.

The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to every partner award seat, though I find that on United space generally pretty closely matches what United makes available to their own members. The other benefit is that you won’t pay a close-in ticketing fee, unlike when booking through United MileagePlus.

Could you see yourself booking discounted LifeMiles shorthaul awards on United?

Comments

  1. By Washington in United States 1 do they mean Washington, DC? Because then Washington State is missing from United States 3?

  2. If I’m reading this right, Washington (presumably the state) is classified in the same zone as the rest of the Northeast. This could potentially mean that coast to coast flights can be booked for 7.5k

    Though I’m guessing this is some sort of a mistake, as DC is notably missing. Let’s hope this one works…

  3. @Jonathan My thought’s the same, until I read Lucky’s example on SEA to SAN. I am guessing Aviance actually meant DC.

  4. I am guessing US 2 should have Mississippi, rather than Minneapolis? Although, the Weather Channel often just refers to it as the “land mass”. hahaha

  5. I think it’s kind of hilarious that when you click on the link and actually go the LM page to look at the regions, they list “Nuevo Mexico” in United States 2. That’s what a lot of people here call it too.

  6. I live in DC and we technically do not have an airport within our borders (even though DCA and IAD are listed with “Washington DC” addresses) I’d be curious to see if you can do IAD-SEA for 7500 pts as well.

    Another interesting question, how does LifeMiles work with stopovers? Can i do IAD-DEN-SEA and do an extended stopover in DEN?

  7. The downside of BA Avois for redeeming AA awards is its 7500 per segment. which mean you need to pay 15K if you are not originating from AA hub. Is this case with LifeMiles as well ?

  8. Lifemiles also charges a $25 ticketing fee per person on all redemptions (in addition to taxes and fees). I’m guessing this would still apply there? That could hurt the value of these redemptions.

  9. Heck yeah I can see myself booking award flights on United using LifeMiles. I live in ATL (US-2) so could get discounted rates to most of the country rather than the bare handful United prices at 10k from here.

  10. Wow, an award chart revaluation. LifeMiles is an awesome program, if only their website is kind of buggy.

  11. Lucky, you should probably mention that LM recently chaged their award booking GUI for the worse and is actively blocking *A on many routes.

  12. @Lucky Can you please do a post at some point on which Star Alliance airlines are blocking Lifemiles currently, and which have blocked them in the past? It’d be really useful to have that in one place for reference

  13. It’s interesting that Florida and Montana are in the same region, meaning a flight from Miami to Billings would technically cost 7,500 miles. That seems like the best sweet spot redemption on the award chart.

  14. A masterpiece of understatement came toward the end, “The one catch is that LifeMiles doesn’t always have access to every partner award seat.” In my experience I almost always get the dreaded “Sold Out” availability, even when I can clearly see seats at united.com and aeroplan.com. If that doesn’t happen, I get the generic “error” message when I try to go ahead and book. I’d like to like this program, but I can’t. I have not tried short haul domestic on United yet. Maybe that’s a way to get rid of my existing Lifemiles and say goodbye. Buying miles I can’t redeem would be a waste of useful U.S. dollars. Let us know when they get normal Star Alliance redemption availability. I could get interested at some point if that happens.

  15. When does this change go into effect? I ran UA flights EWR-DTW and EWR-BOS, and the engine is still pricing 12.5k one way.

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