Avianca Vuela & Vida Visas: 60k & 40k LifeMiles After Just One Purchase

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Avianca has a co-branded credit card issued by Banco Popular called the Avianca Vuela Visa and it comes with 40,000 Avianca LifeMiles after your first purchase on the card and a $149 annual fee. You can easily boost that bonus to 60,000 LifeMiles after first purchase by using the following promotion code when applying:

LM17WB

There’s also a lower annual fee Avianca card called the Avianca Vida Visa with a 20,000 LifeMiles bonus after your first purchase and payment of the $59 annual fee. The same code boosts the Vida Visa bonus from 20,000 to 40,000 LifeMiles.

That code was taken from an email, but Banco Popular periodically sends out these promo codes for their Avianca cards and they generally work for everyone. These elevated bonuses are valid through May 31, 2018. I’m going to go over the Aviana Vuela Visa below as I think that is the better deal between the two cards.

Quick Facts

  • Sign Up Bonus: 40,000 bonus LifeMiles after using your card once (60,000 bonus LifeMiles if you input promotion code LM17WB during the application process)
  • Category Bonuses:
    • 3 LifeMiles for every dollar spent on Avianca purchases
    • 2 LifeMiles for every dollar spent at gas stations and grocery stores
  • 15% discount when purchasing miles via Multiply Your Miles
  • Two 50% discounts on award tickets redeemed after meeting further spending thresholds
    • one applicable for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after spending $12,000 on the card in a year
    • another also applicable for travel Central America or Colombia from the United States after spending $24,000 on the card in a year
  • Free additional piece of baggage for travel between the United States and Central America
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Annual Fee: $149
  • Eligibility: Probably anyone but not sure (issued by Banco Popular)

These are Banco Popular Cards

When I say that this is a Banco Popular card, I mean that we don’t have a clear idea as to its application rules or standards. It’s probably a good thing that this card isn’t issued by a bank you or I recognize…at least for those of cut off by things like the Chase 5/24 rule, Citi’s sign up bonus rule, or Amex’s one bonus per product per lifetime policy. But it also means we don’t have a ton of data points to make generalizations from.

The one thing we have learned from data points (1, 2) of previous applicants is that this card does not appear to be churnable, meaning if you’ve already opened it and earned it’s bonus it’s not possible to do so again.

As reader Jeff G commented on this previous version of this post, applications with this card seem hit or miss. From what I’ve read, some in the past have had issues with Banco Popular requesting physical documents to prove income (like tax documents), while others have no issue at all and no questions asked from the bank. I’ve also read of some way over the 5/24 limit getting instantly approved, and some with excellent credit scores getting instantly denied. It’s still pretty hard to draw any solid conclusions.

Please share your data points in the comments if you apply.

Sign Up Bonus

You will earn 60,000 Avianca LifeMiles after your first purchase on the Avianca Vuela Visa. I value LifeMiles at 1.6 cents each, making this sign up bonus worth approximately $960.

To get the 60k bonus instead of the automatic 40k bonus, in the first step in application process, make sure you input LM17WB into the Promo Code box.

Why are LifeMiles valuable?

screen-shot-2014-09-03-at-2-48-37-am-e1472772388180

For more (and specific) tips on what LifeMiles are good for, read Maximizing Avianca LifeMiles

Category Bonuses

Category bonuses included 3 LifeMiles per dollar spent on Avianca purchases and 2 miles per dollar spent on gas and at grocery stores.

What merchants are included in the category of gas and grocery stores? Looks like pretty much every gas station and grocery store except places like Sam’s Club and Costco. The following is from the card offer’s terms & conditions:

“You’ll earn 2 LifeMiles for every $1 in Net Purchases spent at qualifying gas stations and grocery stores, which are those categorized by the merchant or its processor as gas stations and grocery stores using the merchant category code. Large warehouse-type stores are generally not categorized as grocery stores.”

15% Discount When Purchasing Miles via Multiply Your Miles

Multiply Your Miles allows you to earn more LifeMiles when either Flying with Avianca, via spending on Avianca credit cards, or via traveling on partner airlines/other partner activity. It doesn’t mean you get 15% off when purchasing miles directly from Avianca, which is a bummer.

screen-shot-2016-12-08-at-9-29-05-amThis is how Multiply Your Miles works: You can double the miles you’ve already earned (price per double mile is 1.85 cents each before the 15% discount, 1.57 cents each after) or triple them (price per triple miles is 1.71 cents each before the 15% discount, 1.45 cents each after). You can read more about the specific terms and conditions behind Multiply Your Miles here.

But is buying LifeMiles for 1.45 cents each a good deal? Scott values them at 1.6 cents each so it’s a decent deal… not good enough to buy speculatively but could definitely be worth it if you have an immediate high value use in mind.

Free Bag

The following is from the card offers’ terms and conditions:

“Non Elite LifeMiles members that are primary cardholders may check a second bag free of charge when traveling on Avianca flights from United States to Central America and vice versa (“Qualifying Trip”), except on trips where Avianca provides the second bag free as standard benefit. The second checked bag must be less than or equal to 50 pounds’ weight and dimensions up to 158 linear centimeters considering height, width and length. Others restrictions apply.”

Bottom Line

The annual fee of $149 is pricey, but 60k LifeMiles are valuable and the real kicker, in my opinion, is that you don’t have any minimum spending requirement. That adds a lot of value to this sign up offer because there’s no opportunity cost–you can put spending towards meeting other minimum spending requirements for more big returns.

If you apply for this card, please share your experiences below, particularly because this card is issued by an unfamiliar bank. You will be helping your fellow miles/points enthusiasts decide whether or not this is worth a hard inquiry. Remember these offers expire May 31, 2018.

If you are denied or given a decision pending response, try calling Banco Popular’s reconsideration line: 844-343-1010.

Application link: https://www.lifemilescreditcard.com/WLI/avianca.aspx?utm_medium=Email&utm_source=Avianca&utm_campaign=Avianca&utm_content=Jan18#!, and don’t forget the promo code LM17WB or you’ll only get the 40k / 20k LifeMiles bonus. We do get commissions when you sign up for some cards, but not this one–we just want you to be aware of the best deals.

Hat tip Doctor of Credit


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Just applied and instantly approved after answering several security questions. I believe this card can also be used in Cuba (with certain restrictions).

  2. Trying to decide if I want to spend the credit pull on this card. It sounds like a great offer, but how usable are the miles? I’ve never had Lifemiles, for those who have, what do you think of their booking process, online or via phone?

    It sounds like there are some annoyances with the application process, are there similar annoyances with the booking process?

  3. I need 3 business class tickets to catch up with a cruise next November for business class Chicago – Rome or business class Nice – Chicago. I joined LifeMiles and was able to check availability even with no miles in the account. LifeMiles requires 63,000 miles so the 60,000 bonus is pretty sweet. Since we found space, we each decided to apply – myself, my wife and her friend. 3 instant approvals (and I took screen shots of the promo code that I entered, just in case). One caveat: I read on FlyerTalk that some people were asked to upload a pay stub to verify income, so don’t fudge! Also, I am familiar with this bank as they have a few branches in Chicago.

  4. signed up for this card. was approved quickly online. approval note said I would get the card in 7-10 business days. at 11 business days I received PIN letter for the credit card but no card yet. I waited 4 weeks and still no card. I called the customer service number and waited on hold for 45 minutes. after an answer finally was told I was being connected to another department. other department was not told why I was being transferred to them so I had to explain the entire story again. after the operator asked me verification questions he told me the computer was down and I needed to call back the next morning after 8 am. seriously I have to call them back? I am paying $149 to buy a card from them and I have to call them back? why would they tell me we are sorry you have not received your card we want you to be out customer and we will follow up with you as soon as our system is back up and working. this is how backwards companies are these days.

    • Maybe this will help you. I had to call them a few times, because even though I activated the card online, I wasn’t able to use it without calling them and straightening it out. (This happened with my wife’s card, too). Anyway, the rep told me NOT to call the number on the back of the card, but to try (844) 343-1010. I did, and it WORKED! (And, yes, what kind of company puts the wrong number on the back of their own credit card?).

  5. Instant approval. I had read in other places that if you put in Household income it asked you to verify. I just entered my income and it was smooth sailing. Also I am at 13/12, so that did not seem to be an issue.

    Now we will see when I get the card and how hard it is to activate it…..

  6. I guess I lucked out. When I received my card, I went to the website to set up my online account. Once it was setup, I then called the activation number, and it was pretty quick and painless. I used the card to pay a medical bill, and probably about a month later, I got my 60K Avianca miles.

  7. Out of curiosity, any new data points on this card? I see on Flyertalk that some people have had trouble with the application process…

    • My application process was smooth, no issues at all. Cards arrived quick, points posted quick. Smoother than Chase, AmEx, etc.

  8. @Kenny, I personally have had a terrible time using the miles. Time and again I see seats on United and Aeroplan, only to go to LifeMiles and find nothing available. Just as an experiment right now, I checked ORD-MAD for the month of April in economy. At united.com I found 25 dates with availability. With LifeMiles no seats whatsoever for the entire month. If somebody has insights as to when and where the program actually makes seats available, please let me know, because I would like to drain my account. They sell miles all the time, but if you can’t use them, it’s a scam, isn’t it?

  9. LifeMiles have become difficult to use. Used to be good, but they changed the online booking, which has really messed it up.
    Even if you find the space online 50/50 chance you’ll get an error at some point in the process and that’s it.
    Calling in is useless, you can follow some steps and email in the info, etc and people claim they get tickets booked and issued.
    Sounds like a lot of work!!

    If you find non-stop flights, you have a better chance then looking at connections or mixed class bookings.

    I’ve stoped purchasing miles, since these troubles began.

    Also, I’ve never had luck using the LifeMiles credit card on the LifeMiles site. Good luck trying to multiplying your miles.

    I’m going to cancel my LifeMiles credit card in July, I hope that isn’t a long drawn out process.

    • It takes a few minutes to send them the screenshots. Their response is to be expected usually within 1 day. Outside of the web site glitches, I had very good customer service experience every time. I booked, re-booked, or cancelled a few flights. Nowadays the web site works for me without any glitches, so making reservation is very easy. Cancelling the card is a quick few minutes phone call. The only problem with LifeMiles are the newish change and refund fee. LifeMiles is one of the best transfer partners of TYP (of course it is Star Alliance). Applying for a second card will result in a deny message.

  10. I will have to try the screen shot procedure.

    Customer service has improved, used to take 1-2 hours, to cancel a ticket, now it only takes 10 minutes or so.
    Tho the fee went from $50 to $200….

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