When you’ve ever transferred American Specific Membership Rewards, Capital One miles or Citi ThankYou factors to Avianca LifeMiles, chances are high you already know that reserving award tickets via LifeMiles generally is a headache.
Regardless of providing a number of the lowest award charges and no gasoline expenses on many Star Alliance-operated flights, LifeMiles redemptions usually include IT and customer support challenges, amongst different issues. This system typically fails to problem award tickets even after deducting the miles out of your account. This could go away passengers stranded on their journey days with no confirmed flight.
Want to alter your flight? It tends to be unbearably tough — a lot in order that some clients forgo their redeemed miles.
On this article, we’ll discover potential areas of enchancment for Avianca LifeMiles and focus on how these enhancements might elevate the general expertise for program members. We’ll additionally embody some ideas for those who determine to ebook with LifeMiles.
Resolve IT points
The LifeMiles web site is clunky and unreliable. Even easy web site transactions like shopping for miles and trying to find award area usually take longer than they need to or do not work. The web site additionally tends to fail to show the identical availability because the LifeMiles cell app.
Though LifeMiles tends to supply bargains for purchasing miles, it may be a white-knuckle trip since your bought miles do not usually publish instantaneously. In my expertise, it usually takes 24 to 48 hours for LifeMiles to reach in your account after you buy them. Because the program does not provide award ticket holds, you danger award area disappearing earlier than the miles publish to your account. Fortunately, transfers from Amex, Capital One and Citi usually course of quicker.
Then there’s the problem with LifeMiles deducting the miles however not issuing the airline ticket. That occurred to me on a easy round-trip economic system ticket with United Airways from Washington, D.C.’s Dulles Worldwide Airport (IAD) to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR) in March. Whereas LifeMiles deducted the 40,000 miles from my account for my ticket, there was a glitch in accumulating fee for the taxes and costs.
I solely observed the problem after I could not choose my seats with United. I referred to as LifeMiles and spent round three hours on the telephone being transferred between a half-dozen customer support brokers. Every time, I needed to reexplain the scenario to the brand new representatives and was promptly handed over to different brokers till my case was lastly resolved.
Some clients have discovered success utilizing a VPN and setting their server location for Colombia. Usually, the web site shows availability precisely and promptly, although you will wish to use a bank card that does not cost overseas transaction charges since you will pay the taxes and costs in Colombian pesos. Nevertheless, such a workaround should not be needed for easy functionalities like looking out availability or ticketing an award.
Deal with customer support issues
Avianca LifeMiles has too many departments, which regularly causes clients to be transferred between numerous brokers. If it is advisable change your flight, that is a distinct division than the division for reserving a brand new flight. Moreover, paying for an award ticket can require talking with one other division, that means the suitable division could must name you again. Even then, you will encounter inconsistencies, with some brokers telling you it is a $100 price to alter your flight whereas others declare it is $200.
Earlier this yr, I got here throughout this after I booked a one-way flight from Manila, Philippines’ Ninoy Aquino Worldwide Airport (MNL) to Seoul, South Korea’s Incheon Worldwide Airport (ICN) in economic system class. When ExpertFlyer alerted me that business-class award area had been launched, I contacted LifeMiles to improve my economic system ticket since it might price simply an additional 7,500 miles.
By way of the method, I realized I would want to pay a $200 redeposit price, forgo the roughly $50 I spent on taxes on my economic system ticket after which purchase a brand new business-class ticket and pay the taxes and costs once more. LifeMiles wished to deal with a easy improve like a completely totally different award. I opted to maintain my economic system ticket.
Bank card author Danyal Ahmed has come throughout brokers who’re prepared to expedite ticket cancellations and redeposit LifeMiles by paying the cancellation price through a safe e-mail hyperlink. Nevertheless, this has nonetheless resulted in a number of follow-up telephone calls to verify the receipt of fee and being bounced round by customer support brokers.
Finally, coping with LifeMiles may be agonizing and should not should really feel like a haggling journey to the Grand Bazaar.
Whereas I have not had any firsthand experiences with LifeMiles refunds, TPG readers have lengthy skilled multimonth delays getting reimbursements from LifeMiles. Given the restricted self-service choices accessible for purchasers, this is not altogether shocking, as there are probably some guide steps concerned within the course of.
When you suppose you will want to alter your journey plans, LifeMiles is not this system for you.
Ideas for those who ebook with Avianca LifeMiles
When you determine to take the gamble and ebook with LifeMiles, there are a couple of ideas it is best to observe.
In the beginning, at all times be sure your flight has been ticketed. To do that, contact the airline that is working the flight. Keep in mind that your LifeMiles affirmation code will probably differ from the affirmation code that the working service is utilizing, so you will wish to name LifeMiles to acquire the proper data.
For our Spanish-speaking readers, we additionally advocate utilizing the LifeMiles Spanish line. It is the identical telephone quantity, however you will wish to choose the Spanish choice proper after calling. The maintain occasions are sometimes considerably shorter than the English maintain occasions, and when you have a extra advanced inquiry, LifeMiles tends to convention within the related division with a bilingual consultant needing to translate the dialog. In brief, that makes LifeMiles usually simpler to make use of for those who converse Spanish.
Lastly, I’ve had LifeMiles representatives counsel the related division must name me again. Every time potential, politely decline this selection. You will probably be added to a protracted queue of different clients’ unresolved instances, so there isn’t any assure you will get a callback. Even for those who do, you may miss the decision. If LifeMiles insists on supplying you with a callback, we advocate asking cordially to talk with a supervisor.
Do I at all times keep away from LifeMiles? No.
The essence of LifeMiles is strong: low award charges, no gasoline surcharges and a partnership with three transferable rewards applications.
But when one other program (like Air Canada Aeroplan) has comparable award charges, I would reasonably switch my factors there to keep away from LifeMiles, even when it means paying extra for taxes and costs.
LifeMiles might enhance by offering clients with self-service instruments and upgrading its IT techniques. Moreover, this system would turn into extra user-friendly by offering its telephone representatives with the mechanisms to deal with most inquiries with out searching for help from different departments.