As a transfer partner of all the major credit card currencies (except for Chase Ultimate Rewards), Avianca LifeMiles are among the easiest points and miles to earn. The loyalty program also routinely offers lucrative sales when you purchase LifeMiles. Through Feb. 22, you can buy LifeMiles at just 1.25 cents apiece.
We often recommend using LifeMiles for Star Alliance flights on airlines like United, Lufthansa and ANA; however, one of the best sweet spots is on a non-alliance partner — Aeromexico.
I recently purchased LifeMiles for an Aeromexico flight to South America. Here’s why using LifeMiles for Aeromexico flights makes this week’s edition of Sweet Spot Sunday.
Why it’s special
LifeMiles has a published award chart for travel on Aeromexico, but the real-time LifeMiles award rates don’t always reflect the price on the award chart.
Business-class award space to Buenos Aires is notoriously difficult to find. On most days, Aeromexico operates two daily flights between Mexico City International Airport (MEX) and Ezeiza International Airport (EZE). In my experience, there’s more award space on the daytime flight.
On many Aeromexico flights with LifeMiles award space, Aeromexico’s own Club Premier loyalty program charges significantly more miles (think 200,000-500,000 miles). One-way cash prices on this flight often go for $3,600.
By redeeming 52,500 LifeMiles on this flight, you’ll likely get around 6.7 cents per LifeMiles, roughly quadrupling TPG’s valuation of LifeMiles.
Economy class can be a great deal too
It’s no surprise, but Aeromexico economy class award space is generally easier to find. 30,000 LifeMiles can get you from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Buenos Aires.
No stopovers in Mexico City, unfortunately
Now, I know what you’re thinking — why not spend a few days in Mexico City before continuing to Argentina?
LifeMiles doesn’t allow stopovers (connections longer than 24 hours). If you want to spend a few days in Mexico City, you’ll have to book a separate ticket from the U.S. to Mexico and then from Mexico to Argentina.
I booked an inexpensive economy-class ticket on American Airlines from Miami International Airport (MIA) to Mexico City, spent three days in Mexico and then redeemed 52,500 LifeMiles for the nine-hour business-class flight from Mexico City to Buenos Aires, which I bought for around $655.
Related: ¡Viva México! A review of Aeromexico’s business class on the 787-9 from Mexico City to Buenos Aires
How to book
Go to lifemiles.com and select “Travel.” You’ll need to move the dropdown from “Smart Search” to “Aeromexico” for LifeMiles to display Aeromexico awards.
The rest of the booking process is straightforward. All you have to do is select your flight, follow the on-screen prompts and pay the taxes and fees.
Related: Can’t find award availability with Avianca LifeMiles? Don’t give up until you try this trick
Earning the miles for this award
You can transfer rewards from American Express Membership Rewards, Brex Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou Rewards to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio. Credit card point transfers to LifeMiles generally take less than one hour.
Here are some of the credit cards we’d recommend for LifeMiles transfers.
- The Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on your new card in your first six months of cardmembership.
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express: Earn 120,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card within the first three months of cardmembership.
- Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first three months of account opening.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.
You might also consider buying LifeMiles. For my Aeromexico flight, I bought LifeMiles, but they didn’t go directly into my account, which prevented me from locking in the flight right away. It took around 36 nerve-racking hours for them to appear in my account.
Initially, three seats were available, but one had been taken when the LifeMiles posted to my account. I was traveling with two friends to Argentina. Despite regularly checking LifeMiles award space for our Aeromexico flight leading up to the flight’s departure, we ultimately couldn’t travel together on the Aeromexico flight, so one of us traveled on Copa Airlines to Argentina.
This is all the more reason to transfer credit card points, which, as mentioned, generally take less time before the miles appear in your account.
Related: Here’s why you need a healthy stash of Avianca LifeMiles
LifeMiles has developed a reputation for having inflexible award tickets, difficult-to-reach customer service and pesky technical issues. That being said, the loyalty program offers appealing awards on Aeromexico, which I used to travel to Argentina for around $700 in business class.
While Aeromexico’s Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner boasts a more dated 2-2-2 lie-flat configuration in business class, the food and service onboard were superior to many of my premium cabin flights on U.S. carriers. And the daytime flight was ideal for jet lag.
The next time my travel plans call for South America, I know where I’ll start.