Over the last few months, American Express has made their Membership Rewards credit cards more valuable, including the recent relaunch of the AmEx Gold Card that earns a lucrative 4x on dining and enhancing the Platinum Card with a $50 Saks credit twice per year. Today, American Express announced a new exciting enhancement to the Membership Rewards program – a new Star Alliance airline transfer partner.
American Express and Avianca Airlines announced that card members can now transfer Membership Rewards® points to LifeMiles, the loyalty program of Avianca Airlines, at a 1:1 ratio (terms apply).
Avianca Airlines joins 17 other participating Membership Rewards airline programs, including Delta, Air Canada, British Airways, and Emirates, and is the newest airline partner for Membership Rewards since Aer Lingus was announced in August 2018.
LifeMiles is a great program to consider for Star Alliance award bookings since they do not impose/collect fuel surcharges, allow one-way awards (starting at 7,500 one way for a short-haul US economy award), the points transfer is instant, and awards can be booked directly on their website.
There are plenty of great uses of LifeMiles, such as Lufthansa First Class from the US to Europe for 87,000 miles (though recently hard to come by). As a comparison, Aeroplan charges 70,000 miles one way + over $500 in fuel surcharges for Lufthansa First Class between US and Europe. Business class is also a great value at 63,000 LifeMiles each way and there’s generally decent availability on most routes in hub cities.
Previously the only points program that had LifeMiles as a transfer partner was Citi ThankYou, which introduced LifeMiles at 1:1 transfer ratio back in November 2017.
Overall I think the addition of Avianca LifeMiles is a great enhancement to the Membership Rewards transfer partners. Even if you think it’s a better value to buy LifeMiles during their sales, t’s always good to have more ways to transfer your AmEx points. Now the big question is if this airline addition to Membership Rewards devalues Citi ThankYou points a bit. Hmm…
What are your thoughts about this news? Have you used LifeMiles before to book a Star Alliance award?