Avianca’s LifeMiles program is popular for those looking to redeem miles for Star Alliance first & business class tickets. The program has reasonable redemption rates, no fuel surcharges, and frequently sells miles at a discount. It’s how I book most of my Star Alliance award tickets nowadays.
LifeMiles had a US credit card for a while, issued by US Bank, though it was recently announced that it was being discontinued. Existing cards would be converted into the US Bank FlexPerks Travel Rewards Card.
I’m not exactly sure what caused it to be discontinued. My guess is that the card didn’t gain much traction in the US market. There needs to be a unique vale proposition for a credit card co-branded with a non-US airline to be successful, and I think that was lacking with this card.
Interestingly it looks like LifeMiles will soon have a new US credit card, though the details are still sparse.
Per an email sent out to existing cardmembers:
We are excited to announce that we expect to launch new and improved Avianca LifeMiles credit card in the coming months in the United States. These cards will provide qualifying members the chance to earn miles faster and to receive other benefits, which we currently expect will include:
- Welcome Bonus of up to LM60.000 for purchases made within the first 90 days*
- LM3 for every dollar spent on Avianca purchases
- LM2 for every dollar spent at gas stations and grocery stores
- LM1 for every dollar spent on all other purchases
- Two 50% discounts on award tickets redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States
- Free additional bag for travel between the United States and Central America
- No foreign transaction fees
- 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
The above is all we know as of now, though this has the potential to be very exciting. I should note that regarding the 60,000 mile sign-up bonus, there’s a footnote saying that “the exact welcome bonus amount will be determined by your historical level of use of the credit card.” Hmmm…
I assume the card won’t be issued by US Bank. This seems like it could be a good fit for Barclays. Or who knows, maybe it will be issued by American Express, Chase, or Citi, and LifeMiles will join one of those transferrable points programs.
In practice the LifeMiles program is more or less run as an independent business, and it seems like they’ll take advantage of any opportunity to monetize it.
They have the potential to add some perks that would really make the card worth holding onto. If they had a nice sign-up bonus, some sort of an annual mileage bonus, and a discount on purchased miles, I could see this being a card that’s both worth applying for and also worth holding onto long term.
LifeMiles is a great frequent flyer program that’s especially good for purchasing miles, so I’m curious to see what they come up with for their new co-branded card. Hopefully they make the card compelling, and who knows, maybe this will even lead to LifeMiles joining one of the major transferrable points currencies.
Which issuer do you think is most likely to offer the new LifeMiles credit card?
(Tip of the hat to The Value Traveler)