Avianca LifeMiles Is One Big Scam

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 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 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…


  1. Finally someone have said it like it is I have lost miles with avianca because they were not able to accommodate me so I stop buying it’s not worth it.

  2. Well I have found the Lifemiles web site to be excellent. In the past I’ve spent hours on the phone trying to book flights with USAirways then American. By comparison Lifemiles is a breeze. This article in my opinion is very unfair.

  3. literally drives me nuts. the website is a total joke. i can do ten united searches on the other screen and the avianca tab will still be searching only to produce nothing. playing the lottery and never winning. i won once and got a first class to asia on LH. trying to win again and keep finding yelling at them on twitter drunk. i spent 5k a year ago and can’t use them. its unlawful actually. a scam. Australia has a thread where a guy walks you thru tricks and basically does the work for you. i can not find one like this for flying out of USA sadly.

  4. I have another problem. Avianca is a real scam. I bought miles for about 7000 USD and they just blocked my account for 5 monthes. They lie and lie every day I call them. they are horrible. the hotline is horrible. And even AMEX not give me the amount back to my credit card as they say that I bought miles. BUT I have no miles as I cant login to my account. this is the biggest scam. Im going to sue them soon. Im getting crazy about that.

    1. Hi Marc, same happened to me! Lifemiles blocked my account without any reason and I don’t have access to my miles. Its been 3 weeks and their customer support still hasn’t done anything (despite me contacting them almost daily).
      Did you get your access to your account back in the meantime?

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