No, Avianca LifeMiles isn’t adding new fuel surcharges to its awards


Recently, Avianca LifeMiles has been adding significant fuel surcharges to various award tickets. These are additional fees that, up ’til now, Avianca hasn’t passed on to its customers. We’ve had numerous messages today from folks that noticed this, wondering if it was an unannounced change with how LifeMiles was pricing award ticket fees.

It’s not. At least, we don’t think it is.

LifeMiles is telling us that it’s a known error and that their IT Department (who knew there was one!) is trying to fix it.

Quick Thoughts

LifeMiles as a program has some terrific advantages, including that it’s often among the cheapest options for Star Alliance awards AND it doesn’t pass on the vast majority of the surcharges that many Star Alliance partners charge.

However, there is one, major problem with LifeMiles: Avianca’s website stinks. That can be a big problem at times, as both Nick and I found during our recent “Flying by the Seat of our Points” Challenge.

LifeMiles doesn’t add additional hidden fees or surcharges (apart from their $25 partner booking fee) outside of departure taxes that are paid by every single passenger who flies a given route. However, the website is currently charging much higher fees than expected on certain awards (I’ve noticed it primarily on European routes). I saw one flight to Germany that was adding more than $1,000 in fees.

The good news is that this doesn’t seem to be an intentional change on LifeMiles part, rather it’s just technical issue. Several readers have reported reaching out to LifeMiles and being told that it’s a known error and that the LifeMiles IT department is working to fix it. I contacted LifeMiles myself and was told the same.

So, the sky doesn’t appear to be falling on LifeMiles…but it might behoove you to wait a bit before booking that European award.

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I mean i can’t even open their website. What a POS airline. I’d honestly rather take the L and pay a few more thousand miles + higher fees and go with Flyingblue/Aeroplan


Tim – Is there any formal communication with LM on this error that you can share? Their social media team is asking for proof before they open and investigate a case.


I transferred 1000 miles about two weeks ago and my expiration date has not renewed. Is this no longer the case when transferring miles?

Billy Bob

You might have to call. Also, let us know as I have to do this very soon too.


Transfer still works to extend expiration date


I booked 2 lifemiles award tickets a couple of days ago and can confirm there was a mystery markup between the search page and the payment page. Is that going to get refunded or do I need to do something?


That has always been the case and is something completely different.


BTW… speaking of LH in F… I’m assuming the rules still apply and you can’t book them any more than 2 weeks ahead of time?


Also what’s with lifemiles not showing award space to china and most of Japan when it’s available on star alliance?


Their system is one of the worst. In the last 2 years, they havent shown a single seat on TK between DFW-IST and majority of times its available on UA or Aero.


And they refuse to direct sell any space for some reason. An option all airlines do


This issue has been ongoing for weeks which isnt a surprise considering its Lifemiles. My only question is, how do they plan on refunding those higher fees charged to anyone who has redeemed miles over last few days or weeks.

S Traveler

Is this why Lifemiles appears to be charging YQ/YR for award tickets on some ANA routes but not others?

Specifically, I’m looking at JFK-HND where the YQ is $216 and YR $7. But when I look at ORD-NRT, there is no YQ or YR charged.

I’d like to know how I can get refunded as well…


I just reached out to them on social media. Have better timely response via their twitter team instead of calling them. Provide them your LM # and any PNR for redeemed flights. Lets see how it ends.

S Traveler

Thanks for the suggestion. Appreciate it if you could provide an update when you get a resolution.


theyre asking for proof of error since it’s not announced on their site.