In some ways Star Alliance frequent flyer program Avianca LifeMiles has one of the best offerings in the world.
- They have access to Star Alliance award space, so all of the partners across the Atlantic and Pacific that United does.
- They have a reasonable award chart
- No fuel surcharges
- They sell miles cheap right now you can spend as little as 1.43 cents per mile — people get excited when United sells miles for 25% more than that.
There are a couple of major drawbacks:
- Not all connections are bookable the website won’t show every possible itinerary and if you call agents are only going to see what you see online.
- Telephone customer service is challenging and not great English usually either.
I’ve written frequently that their e-mail customer service is much, much better. If you can wait 24 hours for an a reply from email customer service they’re pretty good.
I’ve used e-mail customer service (support-at-lifemiles.com) to make changes to awards and to resolve problems but I haven’t used them to make entirely new reservations. Usually I worry that space will be gone by the time they get back to me.
However it turns out that if you can’t book online, you can’t do it by phone, so waiting a short time to get your award can be a next best option.
- Request help with a manual reservation
- Include your LifeMiles account number; flight details (travel date, flight number, airline, and route); passenger information — name as it appears on passports, date of birth, and gender; your phone number
- Explain that the award you want is available — you can find each flight on the website — but a website error is preventing you from booking it.
- Travelling The World suggests sending a screenshot of each flight actually showing as available on their website — usually an agent will assume the flight you want is available for sale but not as an award and this should overcome the concern.
They should set up the reservation and give you instructions to call to process payment.
Understand that this is only good for award space that is actually available — and available to LifeMiles members (there are some reports of LifeMiles being unable to see and book some Lufthansa space again for instance).