Posted by William Charles on March 3, 2014
Flight Secrets

Published on March 3rd, 2014 | by William Charles


Making The Most Of Your Avianca Miles

A few days ago we posted about Avianca LifeMiles Visa Signature® Card increasing their sign up bonus to 40,000 miles. There are a couple of little tricks that you can use to get the most out of your miles.

#1 Guam Is Considered Part Of North America

Guam is a US territory, but is found in (north of Papua new guinea and east of the Philippines). For some reason, Avianca considers Guam to be part of North America. This means that you can get a round trip ticket from anywhere in North America to Guam for 25,000 LifeMiles or one way for 12,500 miles.

But Avianca doesn’t fly to Guam!?

Because Avianca is part of the Star Alliance you can fly with any of their partners and pay in LifeMiles using the LifeMiles award chart.

The easiest way to search availability on Star Alliance is to use’s search engine, as this will search availability on all Star Alliance partners.

Don’t want to go to Guam? 

That’s ok, it’s possible to book a one way ticket and get off the plane in the connection city. This is commonly referred to as a throw-away-ticket. When you fly from New York City (NYC) > Guam (GUM) you’ll often stop at one of the following cities:

  • Tokyo, Japan (NRT – Narita).
  • Taipei, Taiwan (TPE – Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport)

nyc to japan

If you miss a connection, the rest of your ticket will be cancelled.

Make sure you only book a one way flight. Throw-away-ticketing can also lead to your frequently flyer account being shut down, so if you do this make sure you’re okay with that risk. You’ll also be unable to bring luggage as this will go to your destination.

 #2 Istanbul Is Also Considered Part Of North America

For some reason, Istanbul, Turkey is also considered part of North America and as such you’ll only be charged 12,500 points one way for economy or 25,000 points one way in business class. If you’re not interested in going to Turkey you can also do a throw away ticket and get off the plane at one of the stop over locations. You’ll often stop over at one of the following locations:

  • Munich, Germany (MUC)
  • Frankfurt, Germany (FRA)
  • Milan, Italy (MXP)
  • London, England (LHR – Heathrow)
  • Madrid, Spain (MAD)
  • Zurich, Switzerland (ZRH)
  • Berlin, Germany (TXL – Tegel)
  • Rome, Italy (FCO)
  • Stuttgart, Germany (STR)
  • Brussels, Belgium (BRU)
  • Barcelona, Spain (BCN)
  • Geneva, Switzerland (GVA)
  • Paris, France (CDG)
  • Many more

As you can see, you can find a stopover in pretty much every major European city. This isn’t quite as good as a deal, as a one way flight to Europe usually only costs 30,000 United miles so you’re only really saving 17,500 miles and you need to worry about baggage and your LifeMiles account being shut down.

There are also the same pitfalls to using this technique as to using the one to GUM. You’ll only be able to book tickets one way, if you book tickets return they will be cancelled after you miss your first flight. You’ll also not have access to luggage, so you’ll either need to send it ahead or not bring any.

There are a lot more secrets to using your Avianca miles and I’m currently looking to find the right mix of giving my readers information whilst not outing techniques completely. What are peoples thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.

Hat tip to FlyerTalk & Travel Is Free newsletter



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