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LifeMiles hiking U.S. award prices October 15th, but won’t say exactly how

by on Thu July 17, 2014 • No Comment
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LifeMiles, the Avianca / TACA frequent flier program, is a favorite for buying miles cheaply and using them for surcharge free international Star Alliance awards.

This week they’ve been sending a series of cryptic emails to members recently talking about coming changes to the number of miles needed for reward tickets.

Today, an email for U.S. based customers was sent.

And it has some bad news…

Prices for some Star Alliance rewards from the U.S. will increase October 15th:

  • Up to 13,000 miles roundtrip in Economy Class
  • Up 26,000 miles roundtrip in Business Class

The statement that discloses it is incredibly cryptic:

“As for changes in air ticket redemption with Star Alliance member airlines, these include increases up to 13.000 miles in Economy Class and up to 26.000 miles in Business Class. Both cases apply for roundtrip flights from North America.”

LifeMiles says we’ll have to wait until after October 15th to see the new prices:

“To know the exact amount of required miles for each origin and destination, it will be necessary to consult the amount through the redemption system at https://www.lifemiles.com/eng/use/red/dynredpar.aspx after October 15th, 2014.”

Basically, they’re reserving the right to increase the price of some awards. They’re telling us the worst case increase amount, but they’re not telling us what specific award prices will change, which is essentially useless.

The award chart on their website remains unchanged, consistent with the statement in the announcement.

It’s like the government saying “we’ll raise some tax rates up to 17% in October, but we won’t tell you which income brackets will see the increases.”

And an increase in any award of 13,000 or 26,000 miles make little sense, given all award prices today are in even increments of 5,000 points.

The fear is lucrative deals like 105,000 miles roundtrip for Business Class on any Star Alliance carrier with no fuel surcharges sees a sharp increase. United charges 140,000 miles for a similar award.

LifeMiles has a history of sudden devaluations, and this only makes that history even more convoluted.

Other regions like South America and Europe are seeing reports of lesser Star Alliance award changes.

Here’s the statement for South America based awards, which has a wide range of increases and decreases:

“As for changes in air ticket redemption with Star Alliance member airlines, these include reductions up to 10.000 miles and increases up to 5.000 miles in Economy Class; also reductions up to 20.000 miles and increases up to 50.000 miles in Business Class. Both cases apply for roundtrip flights from South America.”

And here’s the statement for Europe based awards, which has a wide range of increases and decreases:

“As for changes in air ticket redemption with Star Alliance member airlines, these include reductions up to 15.000 miles and increases up to 11.000 miles in Economy Class; also reductions up to 25.000 miles and increases up to 50.000 miles in Business Class. Both cases apply for roundtrip flights from Europe.”

So it appears only rewards originating in the U.S. will see only increases, with no decreases to offset. That’s if any of this is true or even widely applied come October. No way to tell yet.

We advised people this Spring to earn LifeMiles when they were offering a 40,000 mile intro offer for their card, and use it for Summer travel.

You can still do that this year with no changes, but don’t look to buy more LifeMiles or open a card unless you plan to use the miles by October 15th.

 

 

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