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Avianca LifeMiles Vuela Visa Credit Card Review

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Who Is the Avianca Vuela Visa Card Good For?

Avianca, the second largest airline in Latin America, offers two co-branded credit cards to U.S. residents. The Avianca Vuela Visa is the carrier’s premium card, offering more perks and benefits than the lower cost Avianca Vida Visa. If you often fly on Avianca, or if you’re planning a trip to Central or South America, you should consider getting the Vuela Vista Visa with its superior earning potential and bigger sign-up bonus.

The Vuela card comes with a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus which you can use to purchase award flights through LifeMiles, Avianca’s frequent flyer program. At only 20,000 miles, the Vida card’s sign-up bonus is only half that amount.

You’ll also earn more miles with the Vuela card. You’ll get three miles for every dollar spent with Avianca, two miles per dollar at gas stations and grocery stores and one mile per dollar for all other purchases. That bonus earning can add up quickly, particularly for recurring expenses like gas and groceries. The Vida offers bonus earning for Avianca purchases only, and that’s double miles instead of triple.

Avianca LifeMiles Vida and Avianca LifeMiles Vuela Credit Cards
Avianca offers two co-branded credit cards to U.S. residents

The premium Vuela card comes with a few other exclusive perks designed specifically for U.S. residents. You’ll get one additional free checked bag on all flights between the U.S. and Central America and a whopping 50 percent discount on award tickets between the U.S. and Central America or Colombia. You have to spend $12,000 in a year to get the discount.If you manage to put $24,000 on your card in a year, you’ll get another 50 percent off. You’ll be paying only a quarter of the original cost for those award flights. That’s an incredible deal.

The one drawback of getting the Vuela card instead of the Vida is its higher annual fee. It costs $149 compared to $59. Neither is waived the first year.

Sign-Up Bonus:

The Avianca Vuela Visa card comes with a 40,000-mile sign-up bonus after making your first purchase.

Points or Miles Earned:

  • 3 miles per dollar spent with Avianca
  • 2 miles per dollar at gas stations and grocery stores
  • 1 miles per dollar for all other purchases

What Do Your Points or Miles Get You?

Avianca is part of the Star Alliance. That means you can use your miles to book flights on any of 28 member airlines using the LifeMiles program. Member airlines include United, Lufthansa, ANA, Thai, Singapore, Air Canada and many others.

LifeMiles is a flexible program with decent redemption rates, but its single best feature is that it does not impose fuel surcharges. That means you can book any Star Alliance member through LifeMiles and avoid those charges, making it a valuable program.

You can book one-way award flights for half the cost of roundtrip tickets, pay for up to 60 percent of a ticket with cash and mix cabins on award itineraries.

Earn rewards with Aviance Vuela credit card
Earn rewards with Avianca Vuela credit card

Usage Perks:

  • Double points for groceries and gas
  • Points don’t expire
  • Additional free checked bag for flights to Central America
  • 15% discount when purchasing miles
  • 50% discount on award tickets to Central America and Colombia after spending $12,000 in a year
  • 75% discount after spending $24,000 in a year
  • No foreign transaction fees

Usage Quirks:

  • $150 change fee
  • $50 fee to redeposit miles after cancellation
  • No stopovers allowed on award flights
  • Layovers can’t be more than 8 hours

How Far Do Your Points or Miles Go?

LifeMiles is a region-based program with a few sweet spots. If you’re looking for flights within Brazil, for instance, they’re only 5,000 miles one way.

Flights from the U.S. to Central America are 36,000 miles roundtrip in economy, 72,000 in business and 82,000 in first. But remember that you can get an unbelievable 50 percent discount on those flights with the Vuela card if you spend just $12,000 in a year. That drops the round-trip economy flight down to 18,000 miles. If you spend $24,000 (or $2,000 month), that ticket becomes unbelievably cheap at just 9,000 miles.

There are some reasonable deals to other regions, too. A first class round-trip flight between the U.S. and Europe, which includes Lufthansa’s excellent service, is 174,000 miles. Coach tickets are just 60,000 miles roundtrip for that route. Remember that there are no fuel surcharges, even on long-haul flights.

Additional Cardholder Benefits:

  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Travel accident insurance
  • Unauthorized charge protection
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Zero liability

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