Star Alliance member Avianca has really useful miles through the LifeMiles program:
- No fuel surcharges
- Reasonable award chart
- They sell miles cheap
There were three major drawbacks to LifeMiles, however:
- You couldn’t book Lufthansa first class (they fixed that two months ago)
- Their call centers are tough to work with (though I find email works better if you can wait a day for a response)
- They didn’t allow ‘mixed cabin’ awards — if you flew business class transatlantic, that couldn’t be combined with an economy seat within the US or Europe for instance.
And they’ve now solved the mixed-cabin issue, too.
In fact they even have a popup warning where you acknowledged the mixed cabin booking.
Many have speculated that their inability to book Lufthansa first class, or mixed cabin awards, was a cost saving measure. I’ve long assumed it was technological. Remember that this program started with an outdated list of airports many of which were in the wrong region of the world. They’ve mostly solved these issues, one by one, over time.