Category Archives: Bargains

Two New 25% Transfer Bonuses to Avianca LifeMiles and Why This Is a Great Use of Your Points



A 25% transfer bonus to Avianca is not a rare occurrence (both AmEx and Citi have offered it in the past), but the current offer comes from two other partners. You need to log in to your LifeMiles account to see the promotion (HT: Frequent Miler).

I must confess, I’ve been contemplating the unthinkable — cashing out my 80,000 Brex points at a 1:100 ratio.

Brex has several airline partners, some of them quite decent.

  • JetBlue – TrueBlue
  • Avianca – LifeMiles
  • Singapore Airlines – KrisFlye
  • Air France KLM – Flying Blue 
  • Aeromexico – Club Premier
  • Cathay Pacific – Asia Miles
  • Qantas Frequent Flyer   

So why not transfer?

Transferring points to some of these programs would make perfect sense to many people, but my reasoning went somewhat like this.

  • I have plenty of TrueBlue points and rarely use them. 
  • LifeMiles is probably the best of the bunch, but it’s a transfer partner of EVERYONE. I can get them anytime, and besides, they sell miles around $0.01 anyway.
  • Singapore has no real sweet spots and just a few semi-decent redemption options (as for their ridiculously overpriced First Class suite, well, thanks but no thanks).
  • Flying Blue has high fuel scamcharges, plus I’m strongly prejudiced against the program. I remember how they wouldn’t let people redeem an award because they’d never flown with them?! WTF!!! 
  • Cathay Pacific has devalued badly, and even though it has the most awesome free stopover policy in the world, I don’t have time to use it, sadly.
  • Club Premier and Qantas — yeah, right!

So I’d been sitting on my points, readying myself to pull the trigger when I read on Frequent Miler that Brex and Capital One are offering a 25% transfer bonus to Avianca. That would turn my 80,000 Brex points into 100,000 LifeMiles, which is a good enough deal to stop me from cashing out valuable transferable points at a 100:1 ratio. 

Phew! That was close. 🙂

The deal with Capital One is even better if you have Capital One points (I don’t). Until recently, Capital One points transferred to Avianca at a 2:1.5 ratio, They changed it to 1:1 about a month ago, so the current 1:1.25 bonus is not just a good deal compared to other Capital One transfers. It’s a fantastic deal, IMHO.

Why Avianca?

Why indeed?


  • There are no fuel surcharges.
  • Same redemption rates on Avianca and Star partners.
  • There are frequent transfer bonuses from major U.S. credit card programs (currently 25% from Brex and Capital One).
  • LifeMiles award sales sometimes coincide with these transfer bonuses, making already great values simply incredible!

Avianca doesn’t have fantastic redemption levels or any clear-cut sweet spots. And Avianca stopped publishing its award chart, which is probably the biggest affront an airline program can give its members. But LifeMiles is versatile and maybe still the most hackable airline program from the list above, and diligent (LOL) travelers know how they can get redemption options that would fit their needs even if their award search engine is lacking. To truly understand why this 25% transfer bonus to Avianca is such a great deal you’ll either have to read my previous posts or get the shorter version. I recommend both. 

Here are the posts:

And here is a shorter version

While Avianca doesn’t publish its award chart anymore, I haven’t noticed much of a difference aside from United redemptions in the U.S. (and yes, I’ve just checked to make sure). There are some, um, peculiarities with the ways Avianca prices some of its awards, but it was the same way before, when the chart was still published. And there are some consistent glitches in Avianca’s (now unpublished) chart, so I wouldn’t read too much into it. Here are the highlights (one-way travel from the U.S. in Business Class).

  • Los Angeles to Bogota: 33,000 Avianca miles (27,000 Brex/CapOne points)
  • Brazil: 49,000 Avianca miles (40,000 Brex/CapOne points)
  • Europe: 60,000-63,000 Avianca miles (48,000-51,000 Brex/CapOne points)
  • South Africa: 78,000 Avianca miles (63,000 Brex/CapOne points)
  • South East Asia: 75,000 Avianca miles (60,000 Brex/CapOne points)
  • South Pacific (Australia): 80,000 Avianca miles (64,000 Brex/CapOne points)

And here is the pure gold!

Remember how I told you that Avianca LifeMiles, despite their best efforts, is still very much hackable? Well, it is, and if you’re foolish enough to spend your valuable time looking for unicorns, you’re bound to find a gem or two, eventually. For one thing, that 35,000-miles (or 28,000 Brex/CapOne points) Business Class deal on TAP Portugal is still around, believe it or not.

27,000 points for a Business Class flight from New York to Lisbon  due to the 25% transfer bonus to Avianca

But that pales in comparison to this little gem. Tell me what you’re seeing here.

If you’re seeing a mixed-class award flight to Thailand, it’s not that. What I’m seeing is a First Class ANA ticket to Tokyo with a throwaway economy ticket to Bangkok for 80,270 Avianca miles (or 65,000 Brex/CapOne points). A straightforward First Class ticket to Narita (if you can find availability) would cost you 90,000 miles (or 72,000 Brex/CapOne points). For more info and if you want to know more how to skirt around what airlines call married segments logic, read about skiplagging. And if you’re a newbie, read again and think hard whether you want to do it or not. My opinion is, if you only do it once in a while, the risk that the airline throws the book at you is very low, but you might disagree.

Anyway, provided you’ve weighted the risks and benefits, keep on reading.

Wait, it’s even better!

While I was playing around on the LifeMiles website trying to find ANA First Class award space to Tokyo, I came across a curious … glitch?

25% transfer bonus to Avianca brings a First Class flight to Tokyo to 53,000 points

It seems, by routing the flight to Bangkok via Haneda versus Narita we would save 15,200 miles by paying only 65,070 Avianca miles.

Or 53,000 Brex/CapOne points!!!.

That 53,000 points takes us into the Virgin Atlantic territory that charges 55,000 to 60,000 miles for ANA First Class flights to Japan.


To be honest, I don’t remember seeing any price differences between flying via Narita and Haneda before, but that might be because I just didn’t research the right destination. Just a “geometry of chance,” as Sting would say.

Here is the screenshot showing both flights on the same page.

Let’s recap

The 25% Avianca transfer bonuses from Brex and, especially, Capital One are awesome! I recommend considering it if you’re interested in international travel on Star Alliance airlines, especially in premium classes. While Avianca award levels are quite mediocre on their own, the bonus and regular award sales on Star partners make LifeMiles more valuable than the program would be otherwise. If you have no better uses for Brex or Capital One points, this might be an excellent option.

What do you think? Are you going to take advantage of this bonus?


Luxury Vacation on a Budget? Rent Your Cheap Luxury Villa Now!

  I have no affiliation, paid or unpaid, with any company or individuals I’m linking to in this article! Cheap luxury villas, huh? Well, I can almost smell the pessimism. But if this headline sounds like an advertisement to you — don’t worry, no one makes any money here (gulp). I’m seeing very attractive prices aroundContinue Reading

There Is a New Tripadvisor Credit Card in the Works

  Tripadvisor is on the lookout for a credit card partner to cover the $95 price tag for its TA Plus subscription service. That’s a smart because I somehow don’t see hordes of travelers dying to part with almost $100 for some vaguely described Tripadvisor Plus benefits. If you have no idea what Tripadvisor PlusContinue Reading

New Radisson Rewards 2021 Changes: Part 2 — Digging for Values in Europe and Around the World

  This is a mammoth post, the longest I’ve ever written. I was working on it for a few days and enjoyed every minute of it (and I don’t have a single Radisson point at the moment). If you think that’s a bit nutty, you ain’t wrong. 🙂 Here is my previous post on theContinue Reading

Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Asia in the Post-COVID-19 World

  My previous posts on the cheapest miles to Europe and South America: Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World Back to the Basics Part 2: Cheapest Miles to South America in the Post-COVID-19 World Let’s continue our quest on finding the best frequent miles values to different corners ofContinue Reading

Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World

    UPDATED 12.21.2020 (see Cheapest miles to Europe in Economy, #2) Whether you’ve noticed or not, I’ve taken a hell of a sabbatical lately on my blog. I’ve been fortunate so far because while I’ve lost some writing gigs, they’ve been mostly replaced by others. But I haven’t traveled since February, and my heartContinue Reading

Post-COVID-19 Travel: I Booked a Flight for 35,000-Miles in Business Class From JFK to Lisbon

  Back in January, Nick from Frequent Miler shared an amazing find: 35,000 Avianca miles for a TAP Portugal Business Class seat from New York to Lisbon. That’s really astonishing because a regular LifeMiles redemption rate between the U.S. and Europe is 63,000 miles. I would’ve snagged that ticket right away, but I needed toContinue Reading

Drastic Expedia Rewards Devaluation Is Coming: Act Soon!

  Loyalty program devaluations come in many shapes and forms. This is not the first Expedia Rewards devaluation, but it’s surely a huge one for its elite Gold members. Slightly over a year ago, the Citi Expedia credit card increased its Welcome Bonus to 70,000 points. It was a really great deal with a potentiallyContinue Reading

Back to the Basics Part 2: Cheapest Miles to South America in the Post-COVID-19 World

  My previous post on the best airline programs to fly to Europe: Back to the Basics: Cheapest Miles to Europe in the Post-COVID-19 World December 10, 2020 is a big day. Mark your calendar. On that day the CDC will decide the fate of the emergency authorization of the new Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.Continue Reading

Caesars Diamond Members — Get a Free Cruise in 2021 After a 2-Minute Status Match | PLUS Caesars and Tropicana Lounges Are Now Open in Atlantic City and More!

  Back in July New Jersey approved the $17.3 billion merger of Eldorado Resorts Inc. and Caesars Entertainment Corp. That created the largest casino company in the world, operating 55 casinos worldwide. Fine, you might counter, but what’s in it for me? Well, quite a few things, actually. If you’re a Caesars Rewards (formerly TotalContinue Reading

Copyright © 2021 2013-2020 All Rights Reserved. 


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers