Using Avianca to Book Cheap Flights


Most people haven’t heard a lot about Avianca Airlines, a Colombian airline. I’ve never flown on them, but have booked many flights on the Avianca site to fly other airlines (usually United). Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can find many flights to Hawaii and Europe while traveling with one of the other members of that alliance.  I like using Avianca to book cheap flights.

Avianca’s mileage program is called LifeMiles. Your first step should be creating a loyalty account with them. AMEX, Capital One, and Citi all transfer to Avianca, so there are many ways to get LifeMiles for redemptions. Never, ever transfer to a partner unless you have confirmed award availability. Transfers are one way, and will be stuck with that program if you change your mind.

Avianca frequently sells their miles cheaply, too, which is nice if you need to “top off” the miles you have. They frequently have sales where you can get up to a 150% bonus or more on your purchase.

Let’s go over some sweet spots using Avianca to book cheap flights. These are some ways that I’ve used LifeMiles, too.


Flying to Hawaii

I can fly to Hawaii from Denver for about 22.5K miles on United Airlines. Because Denver is my home airport and a United hub, I go through many United miles. I could always transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United for flights, but I prefer to save them for Hyatt stays.


beach and blue waters

My husband and I flew to Maui on United Airlines after booking on the Avianca site.


It makes it really nice to have the option to use some other points for my United flights. I can book a flight on the Avianca LifeMiles site that will still get me to Hawaii on a United flight for that same 22.5K miles (but with much more transfer options through AMEX, Capital One, and Citi).


Screenshot LifeMiles flight to Hawaii

Here is the exact same United flight to go to Maui from Denver!


Flying to Europe

I have used LifeMiles for trips to Europe. In fact, my daughters flew Lot Polish (booked through the United site) for 77K miles in business class to Croatia. I found a flight for 63K miles on the Avianca site to fly the exact same route in business class.

Screenshot of Avianca site


I have honestly had more difficulty finding business class flights on Avianca lately, except when looking for last-minute seats. You can also save with economy seats which are much easier to find.  Here is a flight on Avianca’s site followed by the exact same flight on United’s site to go to Dubrovnik from Denver.

Screenshot of flights


Look at the difference in those prices! I have no idea why Avianca can offer the same flight cheaper, but it is definitely worth looking into!


Flying to London

Let’s check out going to London from Chicago. I love the calendar view on the Avianca site. It displays blue dots when those routes are available. (Hint: I have also checked the dates without the dots and occasionally found availability, too.)


screenshot Avianca 30 day calendar


I can then look for a date that interests me, and this is what I find:


Screenshot of Avianca site flight to London


That is an incredible deal for a flight to London on United. On the United site, the same flight is 31.8K miles. Taxes and fees are more on the Avianca flight at $91.38 compared to $5.60, so take that into consideration.

Here is another example of EWR-LHR. This is a huge difference—same flight, both on United Airlines.


Screenshot airline flights


Bottom Line

If you are looking to travel on United Airlines or another Star Alliance carrier and want to use points/miles other than United or Chase Ultimate Rewards, consider looking at Avianca. Using Avianca to book cheap flights is a great option.

Ocean, sand and palm trees

Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. American Express is a Travel Mom Squad advertiser, but we always show the best public offer even when we don’t earn a commission. Terms Apply. 

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  1. Edith says:

    I have a trip booked from Dubrovnik, Croatia back to Austin in October that I booked through Avianca. I am wondering how I check a back when I do this since the airline I am flying with is Croatia Air and Lufthansa – do I check in at the Croatia Air baggage check? Thanks!

  2. Erin H says:

    Quick Question! Do you know if we book economy flights with lifemiles can we then upgrade to premium economy through the airline? T.I.A!

    • Pam says:

      It depends on the airline, but I know I have been able to do that with United. In fact, they have even honored my elite status with them when I go into the United Airlines site and add my loyalty number. Not saying that would always be the case, but it has worked a couple of times for me.

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