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):
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? 😉
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:||Economy||Business||First|
|North of Central America||18,000|
|South of Central America||18,000|
|North of South America||20,000|
|South of South America||30,000|
|Middle East / North Africa||42,500|
|Oceania / Others||40,000|
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
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. 😉
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?