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Avianca’s LifeMiles frequent flyer programme has mostly great redemption rates and doesn’t charge fuel surcharges for any Star Alliance airline, making it one of the few Star Alliance frequent flyer programmes that do not charge fuel surcharges. While LifeMiles are great since the redemption rates are generally good, their website has known to be awful. And it has gotten even worse than it was.

The LifeMiles website is terrible. It constantly errors out, but that isn’t the biggest complaint. It doesn’t display all availability, so if a flight is available there is a 50/50 chance the website will or won’t display it. This isn’t new and has been the case since the beginning of the programme. The way around this is to send in an email for a manual booking request and have someone manually pull the award space and create the booking. This works most of the time.

Well, the website has gotten worse. It now displays 10-20% of what is actually available – and even if it shows something available, there is a 50% chance the website will error out when you try to book. This is beyond frustrating because LifeMiles is constantly selling miles with huge bonuses getting people to buy miles and then people end up stuck with the miles because they can’t use them. To be completely honest, LifeMiles seems like a total scam. Yes, their miles are valuable when you can actually use them, but they’ve gotten so hard to use that it is next to impossible. Don’t even bother calling the phone line. Their front-line agents use LifeMiles.com to search for award space and not the actual booking system – so they’re seeing what you are seeing. Can you believe that?!

Lufthansa First Class - Blocked by LifeMiles (99% of the time)

Lufthansa First Class – Blocked by LifeMiles (99% of the time)

I’ve never directly bought LifeMiles and will never. The frustration I’ve been facing for the past few days is awful. There are tons of available flights and literally 15% of them show up on LifeMiles.com and what’s terrible is that when you try to select and book one of them, the website errors out.

It’s one thing if the website was terrible and the phone agents were helpful and able to book what you want, but they’re just so downright lazy and incompetent that it is ridiculous. Like, how can you be worse than a U.S. airline?! And it isn’t like the service in Spanish is better since I always call them and speak Spanish.

LifeMiles is just a scam to get you to purchase miles at a huge discount so that they’re left sitting in your account and you give Avianca your money. I book awards for people as a living and have been doing it for myself and hundreds of people for the past five years, so convincing agents and booking something that is available has never been an issue… but I guess there is a first time for everything…


Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.