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Avianca LifeMiles Card enough for 4 Roundtrips to Latin America

Recently I saw on RapidTravelChai a link & code for an Avianca card with a 60,000 mile bonus… and a 50% discount on specific award redemptions (like to Colombia).

A 60k bonus AND a 50% discount on award seemed like a killer combo. Actually, any 50% discount on miles redemptions could potentially double the value of your miles.

So I decided to look into the details of the card, how the discounts work, and why you should want an Avianca card.

Essentially, this one credit card bonus and the $12k spend for the 50% off coupon, could give you four roundtrips US to Colombia! That’s a lot for one credit card bonus.

The biggest unknown I have is where RapidTravelChai got the code to change the bonuses for the Avianca cards.

He says that if you use the code “AVSPWE” on the application page, you get a 60,000 mile bonus instead of 40,000 miles.

Actually there are two cards, and both would give 20,000 more points:

  • Avianca Vuela card would give 60,000 miles (instead of 40,000), and has a $149 annual fee.
  • Avianca Vida card would give 40,000 miles (instead of 20,000), and has a $59 annual fee.

The problem with the second, cheaper card is that it doesn’t come with the 50% off redemption coupon.

However, if you’re not planning a trip to Central America or Colombia, or can’t fly Avianca, the coupon wouldn’t help you. In which case, the question is whether or not the extra $90 is worth an extra 20,000 miles.

Before discussing the coupon, the card, and Avianca miles, I’ll just give a reminder that the higher bonus requires the code… and I otherwise know nothing about the code.

 

50% Off Redemptions

Get a coupon for 50% off miles redemptions to/from  Colombia / Central America and the US.

This coupon really does look like a great deal, but there are a number of stipulations.

  • You have to spend $12,000 in a calendar year to get the coupon.
    • And you can get a second coupon when you spend $24,000 in a calendar year.
  • It’s only for roundtrips US to Colombia / Central America…
    • “50% discount for the redemption of Award Tickets on round trip flights on Avianca in routes originating in Colombia and Central America to the United States and vice versa.”
  • You must fly Avianca. Their current US destinations are FLL, LAX, MIA, JFK, MCO, IAD, SFO, DFW, IAH, and BOS starting June 2, 2017.
  • Economy only.
    • ” Travel must be in “X” class.”

I can not find anywhere on lifemiles.com whether or not it would work for two people on one reservation. It does say “for the redemption of Award Tickets“. To me, it looks like this implies a group of people on one booking gets the 50% discount.

This (along with the bonus code) is the most vague detail… not because it isn’t plural, but just because they really don’t clarify how many people. They give relatively few details about it for such a good benefit.

 

Card Details

  • 2x at Gas and Grocery
  • Bank: Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
  • $149 annual fee NOT waived. You can get a 20k version with a $59 fee – which could give 40k with the code – but it does not come with the 50% discount. So you’re paying $90 more to get 20k more miles and a 50% discount, likely only on economy flights.

 

General Avianca Miles Stuff

  • You can search for your awards right now here, and select Avianca.
    • US to Central America and Colombia is 17.5k each way.
    • Some flights are 15k each way.
    • While the Star Alliance award chart is here, Avianca is slightly cheaper.
  • You can actually buy miles via their cash & points for only ~1.5 cents each. So if you have 7,500 miles, you could buy a 17,500 miles ticket for 7,500 Avianca Miles and $151.76.

17,500 miles seems to be the high end for awards to Central America, but some routes seem cheaper.

Houston to Bogota is currently 17,500, but Miami to Bogota is 15,000. (I say currently because I thought I remembered IAH-BOG being 15k).

The weird thing is that Houston to Quito via SAL is 15,000, yet… Houston to SAL is 17,500 miles!

The pricing isn’t sensical, but it does mean that you can get oneways to Latin America for 15,000 miles, and better yet, with the 50% off coupon you can get 15,000 mile roundtrips to certain places in Central America / Colombia.

 

Conclusion

15,000 miles for a roundtrip to Central America / Colombia is unbeatable. Not even close. And with a bonus of 60,000 miles, that’s enough for 4 people – almost 5 people after meeting the $12,000 spend to get the 50% coupon.

This is a fantastic deal for those who can fly Avianca and are interested in Central America.

And despite the high annual fee, 60,000 miles could be worth it for the miles without using them on a discounted Avianca flight. The award prices are competitive, 30k to Europe, 35k to North Asia, etc… You can still get good uses of the miles with Star Alliance.

And you might as well, since you’re probably not getting “too many open account” letters from Banco Popular de Puerto Rico… well, not yet.

 

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23 Comments

  1. Banco Popular has been a nightmare. There are mass purchase declines reported for many people, a problem that has been ongoing for months, and Banco Popular has been unable to fix them. Hitting $12k of spend is impossible when even $1 purchases do not go through.

    Also, the reward code was one that Avianca mailed out to people who expressed interest in the card prior to launch. I believe it only works with the Vuelva card.

    Reply
  2. The code was issued for people who “pre-registered” for info on the card when it was first announced, but not yet available for signup. I believe that everyone has been having success using it however.

    Reply
    • Can you point me to some data points?

      Reply
    • reddit and Doctor of Credit will have the most data points. I have not heard anyone using the code not getting the extra miles. The offer does not list an expiration date or restrictive language, either.

      The only problem reports are from people having trouble activating their new cards. The sticker on the front gives a number to call…you need to call. Setting up online access is insufficient.

      Reply
  3. Churnable?

    Reply
    • can you or @travelisfree recommend any other award chart sweet spots?
      thanks

      Reply
  4. I thought about this card but glad I waited on it. I also have read about all the issues people are having. The bigger thing is I like the idea of your Latin Hopper even more, you can visit so many more places that way, use a reasonably reliable website to book more partners: 20k UA to visit 4 places basically + cash tix (I plan to use my $200 in SW gift cards from PRG airline credit towards it).

    Reply
    • Plus side to taking Avianca flights though is that poor man’s business (underbooked flight allows you to stretch out on all 3 seats) was available every time I’ve flown them. Your call.

      Reply
  5. I applied for this card several months back and the bank called and said they wanted previous years income taxes to prove income. It was too much trouble so I didn’t get it. But, that was a first for me.

    Reply
  6. How does Avianca define Central America?

    Reply
    • Would also like a breakdown of what they consider Central America for the 50% bonus cert.

      Reply
    • I got an email from the program a few days ago with a large number of changes in miles needed for awards and actually there were more reductions than increases. Award levels seem closely fine tuned by destination – a thousand points more to here, 1,500 points less to there.

      Reply
  7. So the 50% discount will not apply if you fly on a SA carrier?

    Reply
  8. The card approved on actual income, not stated. must send in income tax to prove income for approval.

    Reply
  9. Got the card in December. Spent $10, paid $149, received 60k. For me this has been a very easy procedure. Next I tried adding into Mint several times but no luck. It is ok as I’m not putting any spend on the card. It would be a very different situation if the 50% was to Asian countries or at least to EU… I prefer to travel there to travel anywhere within Central or South America. What I don’t like is that there is no 1way stopover. I don’t mind not having stopover on business but when flying economy on the very long haul, it is good for me to leave the airport and stay a night in a hotel before taking the next hop. Booking wise one has to find the route and call Avianca in order to book. I have not explored in detail the Avianca search engine and used AirCanada/United instead.

    Reply
  10. Another issue with trying to redeem Avianca awards is your layover can not be greater than 6 hours. UA and Aeroplan will allow longer connections.

    Reply
  11. Any idea if this will work for avianca perú

    Reply
  12. I signed up, but never saw the change from 40k to 60k. How can one confirm this?

    Reply
  13. Great post. Great perspective and layout of the playbook on this. Would have been good when we were wandering around Latin America but there are tons of places to go back to. Fee’s a bit much but the 50% discount could be worth it. I actually hit this blog post because I thought it was Avios.

    Reply
  14. Just wanted to add some more info- I applied for the Avuela card after reading this post, using the code for 60,000 miles (no, I don’t recall any onscreen acknowledgment of the bonus change). As people have mentioned, I had to provide proof of income. This was easily done- first I uploaded a doc as part of the application process. Then a few days later they called me, and asked me to upload an additional doc- again, easily done following the link I was emailed after I initially applied. I was approved, got the card, called to activate it, and signed up for the online CC account with no issues. I spent the minimum, and got my 60,000 miles last week, shortly after the first month closed. I think they’ve worked out their earlier bugs, and for me $149 is worth it for a round-trip to Europe from LA, or whatever I end up using the miles for.

    Reply
  15. Instantly approved yesterday. No income/tax docs required. $149 is worth it for 60k star alliance miles to me especially with only $1 minimum spend! Don’t even have to think about it and leaves more room to hit other card’s spend!
    May try for another in 3-6 months. Hoping we see churning DP’s.

    Anyone tried this code on the $49 AF version? This is the first I’ve seen someone say it bumps it to 40k…

    Reply

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