Is This the Best Loyalty Rewards Program in the Airline Industry?
The term "frequent flier" has become somewhat of an oxymoron since the start of the pandemic. While leisure travel has slowly begun to recover, the more lucrative business travel market is still way off, and may never return to it's pre-pandemic state. It's a challenging time for airlines to keep fliers loyal but you may benefit from the changes some airlines are making to keep you devoted.
If you're not familiar, loyalty rewards programs that airlines offer their customers in the form of "miles" that can be cashed in for free flights, free nights at hotels, and other interesting products. In essence, the more you fly with a particular airline the more "miles" you accumulate. In concept, these loyalty rewards programs are a great thing. You may as well receive a bonus for being loyal to a particular airline since you need to fly anyway. However, in reality, many of these airline loyalty programs are a trap.
For example, you may be paying more for your flights with a particular airline verses their competition just so you can earn those precious "miles." However, you need to ask yourself if those "miles" are precious or are more like the prize tickets you win at an arcade. When you go to cash in those prize tickets at the arcade you quickly realize that the vast majority of prizes are either junk or completely overpriced. For example, the last time you went to an arcade, you probably spent over $25 to earn enough prize tickets to cash in for a water gun worth $1.99.
The same holds true for most airline loyalty programs. When it comes time to cash in your "miles" for prizes you quickly realize that those "miles" are worth less than 10 cents on the dollar. That means you may very well be overpaying for your airline tickets to earn ten cents on the dollar in loyalty rewards. From a financial perspective it does not make much sense. However, there is good news to share regarding a particular airline rewards program. Avianca Airlines may very well offer the best loyalty rewards program in the industry.
In many situations, the "miles" you earn with Avianca match up 1-to-1 for actual dollars. Even if you do not plan to fly Colombia's national airline, you still need to hear about their LifeMiles customer loyalty rewards program. There is a vast variety of ways that you can earn and redeem Avianca LifeMiles. You don't even need to fly on the airline in order to earn LifeMiles. They actually provide you with the ability to transfer points from ten (10) different loyalty programs including American Express, Capital One, and even Marriott.
Non-elite LifeMiles members earn 5x LifeMiles per U.S. dollar spent on airfare (before taxes and fees). Elite members earn 1x-6x bonus LifeMiles on top of that, depending on their status. The Avianca Vida Visa offers a 20,000-mile sign-up bonus just for signing up and using the card once. Then, you'll earn two (2) LifeMiles per dollar spent on Avianca purchases and one (1) LifeMile per dollar spent on all other purchases. The card offers a few other perks. For example, there is a 15% discount on Multiply Your Miles purchases. The Avianca Vuela Visa Card offers even more valuable perks. For example, you will receive 40,000 bonus miles the first time you use your card. Avianca purchases earn three (3) LifeMiles per dollar spent.
You'll also receive 2x LifeMiles at gas stations and grocery stores, and 1x LifeMiles everywhere else. You can transfer points to LifeMiles from three (3) different U.S. bank programs including American Express, Capital One, and Citi Bank. If you transfer 1,000 points or miles from any of the three (3) you will receive 1,000 LifeMiles. You can also convert hotel points from seven (7) different hotel loyalty programs into LifeMiles. For example, Marriott, Hilton, IHG, Accor, Best Western, Radisson, and Wyndham all take part in the LifeMiles program.
Even if you don't opt to go with Avianca, it's a great time to take a look at loyalty rewards programs for other airlines. Across the board, many companies in the industry are offering fast-tracked offers to reach elite status, more ways to earn frequent flyer points and More flexibility and exclusive perks. Make sure you're getting the most out of the day-to-day spending you're already doing!