After some rumblings over the past few months, the new Avianca credit cards are finally arriving! You can still sign up to be emailed an exclusive 60,000 LifeMiles sign-up bonus offer. I just received an email today, and it looks like the offers may be live. Note that the increased bonus only applies to the Avianca Vuela Visa card.
Both credit cards offer decent value, although the Avianca Vuela card is certainly the better of the two. The Vuela offers a sign-up bonus of 60,000 LifeMiles, but carries an fairly hefty annual fee of $149 (not waived). The bonus miles are certainly worth well over $149, though. The Vuela card earns 3x on Avianca airfare, 2x on gas and groceries, and 1x on everything else. You also get an extra free checked bag on Avianca flights and have the ability to earn two 50% award discount coupons for the first $12,000 and $24,000 spent each year.
The Avianca Vida card is the lower end product, and offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 miles. The card earns 2x on Avianca flights and 1x on everything else. There isn’t really much else to love about it. Both cards also offer a 15% discount when purchasing LifeMiles.
The Visa cards are issued through Banco Popular de Puerto Rico. I have no idea what credit bureaus they pull or how easy it is to get approved.
Avianca is a member of the StarAlliance and is based in Latin America, with hubs in Bogota, Lima, and San Salvador. Their award chart is fairly good, with a few sweet spots.
A great example is Lufthansa business class from North America to Europe. At 87,000 LifeMiles, you are most of the way there with just the sign-up bonus from the Avianca Vuela card. The same ticket would require 140,000 United miles!
One of the biggest benefits of using LifeMiles is that Avianca does not apply fuel surcharges on award tickets! If you used Aeroplan miles to book the same Lufthansa first-class ticket mentioned above, you would only use 70,000 miles (better than United’s 140,000), but you would pay a hefty amount in fuel surcharges.
The lack of fuel surcharges makes LifeMiles worth collecting. With the new credit cards, accruing LifeMiles just became a whole lot easier. The 2x gas and grocery earning of the Vuela card is especially lucrative. Valuing LifeMiles at roughly 1.7 cents each, that is a return of 3.4% per dollar. Not shabby for some everyday spending!
Currently, the only other fairly easy way of accruing LifeMiles is by transferring SPG points. Avianca was actually only recently added as an SPG transfer partner.
You can also buy the miles. Avianca has good sales on their miles now and then. If you have the cash to spend, it may be somewhat cheaper way to book Lufthansa first class.
Overall, the new Aviance Vuela card is solid. I hope you’ll be able to take advantage of the great offer.
Header image courtesy of Maarten Visser via wikimedia commons.