One Mile at a Time reports on some cool changes being made by Avianca LifeMiles: short-distance awards between the US and Canada and within Canada are becoming cheaper. Avianca will charge fewer miles on most shorter routes than they previously have. There is a very small increase on the longest awards, but overall this is good news. Note that there are no changes to awards entirely within the US.
New distance-based award chart for flights within Canada and between the US and Canada
Avianca LifeMiles is changing the way they price awards within Canada and between the US and Canada. Whereas these Star Alliance awards (on Air Canada or United) were previously 12,500 miles each way in economy class or 25,000 miles each way in business class, there will now be two distance-based award charts:
- 0-500 miles = 6K economy class / 15K business class
- 501-1500miles = 10K economy class / 20K business class
- 1501+ miles = 12.5K economy / 25K business class
Between the US and Canada
- 0-500 miles = 6.5K economy class / 15K business class
- 501-800 miles = 7.5K economy class / 16K business class
- 801-1200 miles = 10K economy class / 18K business class
- 1201 – 2000 miles = 12.5K economy class / 20K business class
- 2001+ miles = 13.5K economy class / 25K business class
As you can see, this is basically an improvement or no change for all but economy class travelers on itineraries of 2,001 or more miles between the US and Canada, who will pay 1K more miles than before.
In the case of shorter itineraries between the US and Canada, these deals are quite interesting indeed. I imagine that some in both the Northeast and Pacific Northwest will find these new award prices quite attractive in some markets that are otherwise pricey.
One Mile at a Time explains that LifeMiles has made these changes with the express intent to make the awards more attractive. Since much of the LifeMiles business model hinges on selling miles (much like it does for the US airlines) but LifeMiles doesn’t have the advantage of competing for flying customers within these markets, they want to make their awards attractive enough to be able to continue selling a lot of miles (whether through deals like the current 155% bonus on purchased miles or through miles sold to banks when you transfer points).
In my opinion, this is all great news and continues to solidify LifeMiles as an awesome Star Alliance option.
Keep in mind though that Turkish Miles & Smiles can also be a great option here. Flights within Canada on Air Canada would be just 7,500 miles each way in economy class or 12.5K each way in business class regardless of distance if you can through the current challenges in booking a Miles & Smiles award. Flights between the US and Canada would be 10K in economy class or 15K in business class regardless of distance — again, the challenge is booking those awards.