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  • Writer's pictureAdam Garrett

Optimized Strategy for Booking Avianca Lifemiles Awards for Domestic US Travel & US-Canada

Updated: Oct 14, 2022

Image courtesy The Globe Trotting Teacher

In this post, I wanted to go over some tips on effectively using Avianca Lifemiles for travel on United & Air Canada. I borrow from others in places, and if looking for something by someone else, recommend this article. I also am focusing primarily on economy travel even though there are options with business class. Keep in mind as well that any numbers mentioned below may change at any time.

When to Book

You can book Avianca Lifemiles awards on United flights up to 11 months in advance, and if you do it right at the 11-month mark (for instance, Sep 13 when looking on October 14th), you'll find the best award availability.

For instance, I see:

2 direct & 1 indirect flight from Norfolk VA (ORF) to Newark/New York (EWR) on Sep 13th as of today (October 14).

I also see:

4 options on the 12th,

5 options on the 11th,

no options on the 10th (a Sunday, when award options tend to be in shorter supply),

6 options on the 9th,

1 option on the 8th,

& 5 options on the 7th.

If you don't find availability 11 months in advance, but really want a particular date &/or time, it may come later, and it's best to set up an alert with Expert Flyer so that you know within 24 hrs of that happening. If Adam is giving you points from a real estate giveaway, ask him to set up alerts for you if you don't have an account. Expert Flyer works much better with direct flights than it does with connecting flights, however.

You might also find relatively solid award availability right before departure , & to a lesser extent, a month out, or any number of months earlier than 11 months out even without an alert. Looking again at the example of ORF-EWR, I don't see any options for today (Friday 10/14/22), but I see at least one option every day from Saturday (10/15) through Saturday 10/22. Conversely, October 23rd, 24th, 26th, 30th, November 4th, November 6th, November 10th-13th, Nov 18-19, Nov 21-28, Dec 15, Dec 17, Dec 27, 29, 30, & Jan 5th don't have any availability. Peak times are best booked further in advance, as evidenced by the Monday of Thanksgiving week through the Monday after having no availability & low availability flying to NYC right before New Year's Eve.

Where to Use Avianca Lifemiles in the US for domestic flights (6500-13500)

How to Locate Award Availability

Examples of Viable Itineraries from SE VA domestically (Richmond is RIC & Norfolk is ORF) (& typically you'll find similar pricing from larger nearby airports in Raleigh or DC, though I'm not typically checking them all) in alphabetical order of destination city name for US travel, with Richmond typically having more options than Norfolk & DC having more options than both:

US to Canada Pricing (6500-13500)

Examples of viable options from SE VA to Canada

Viable Miles Alternatives to Lifemiles for flights from the US domestically or to Canada

Viable Miles/Points Alternatives to Lifemiles for flights from the US domestically only

Mixed Cabin Pricing

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