I've mentioned it time and time again, but booking early gives you lots of options. We just booked our one way tickets to Copenhagen for next Summer. Copenhagen will serve as our starting point on a trip that will include our first visit to Switzerland! It may seem early, but this time we were able to book out of San Diego instead of LAX, which saves us a rental car and several hours of driving. Also, we were able to secure lie flat business class tickets!
We booked one ticket using United miles and the other with Avianca Lifemiles. I want to focus on Lifemiles as they are less known and have a solid offer right now. Avianaca is a Columbian airline, but they part of the Star Alliance and have partnerships with several airlines making their miles program very valuable. Their award chart can be very reasonable also. They offer one-way business class tickets to Europe for only 63,000 Lifemiles compared to 70,000 United miles.
So, how did I get an Air Canada Business Class seat from San Diego to Copenhagen via Toronto
for under $200?
Right now, the Avianca Vuela Visa is offering a 60,000 Lifemiles bonus after your first purchase. Make sure to use promo code AVSPWE to get the full bonus. Getting 60,000 miles by only making a single purchase is great as most other cards require a minimum of $3,000 of spend. The card comes with a $149 annual that is not waived the first year. All you'll need to do is earn 3,000 points via credit card spend, flying or transfer to book your ticket. They did also offer the option to buy 3,000 miles for around $100. I transferred 3,000 miles from my SPG account to my Lifemiles account and they were in the next day. I was a little worried about losing out on the seats while waiting for the miles to transfer, but fortunately they were still there. Read my post about transferring points for more information on on SPG transfers.
So how did we actually book using Lifemiles?
Lifemiles booking system was fairly straight forward and relatively easy to use. It's not as good as United's, but most programs aren't. The first thing you'll notice is that the page defaults to Spanish, but there's there's a button to change to English.
It's always a good idea to to test out the booking and mileage programs prior to getting a card. This way you can see what's available and at least get a sense to availability offered before diving in. For example, United allows you to book SAS flights, while with Lifemiles I was not able to.
They also charged $30 in booking fees while United only charged around $10. Out the door the ticket costed me $180 ($150 for the annual fee and $30 for the booking fee) and 3,000 SPG miles. Not to bad for a ticket that easily costs over $2,000
I found this card to be a great value for the sign up bonus. If you're interested you can sign up here. You'll also find the award chart here. I may not keep it when the annual fee is due again, but for now it's a no brainier.
We're really excited about using points to try Air Canada's international business class product and look forward to conducting a review next year!