Effective immediately as of November 8. The US Amex Membership Rewards program has just added Avianca LifeMiles as a new transfer partner. Points transfer from Amex to LifeMiles at a 1:1 ratio.

American Express now has 16 airline transfer partners and 2 hotel transfer partners

American Express Transfer Partner Ratio
Aerlingus 1:1
Aeromexico 1:1
Air Canada – Aeroplan 1:1
Air France 1:1
Alitalia 1:1
ANA 1:1
Asia Miles 1:1
Avianca – Lifemiles 1:1
British Airways 1:1
Choice Hotels 1:1
Delta 1:1
El Al 50:1
Emirates 1:1
Etihad 1:1
Hawaiian Airlines 1:1
Hilton Hotels 1:2
Iberia 1:1
JetBlue 5:4
Singapore 1:1

Lifemiles are a valuable currency for uses on some Star Alliance awards. They also charge you less if your cabin isn’t available for the entire trip as you pay by segment.

Lifemiles are particularly useful for

  • United continental United States : 7,500 miles vs. 12,500 with United Airlines miles
  • Flights to Europe in business class (with no fuel surcharges): 63,000 miles vs. 70,000 with United Airlines miles
  • Flights to Europe in Lufthansa first (with no fuel surcharges): 87,000 miles vs. 110,000 with United Airlines miles

*All Prices are for one way flights

You can check out their full partner award chart here. Hilariously their award chart refers to Oceania as “Others” and anything south of Brazil as “South of South America”

With this new partner American Express is hoping to make themselves more desirable for people who are moving their spend away from Marriott/SPG after the devaluation and merger. Transfers should be instant, although they could take up to 48 hours to show in your account.

The one draw back to Avianca is that if you have any issues that may arise, Avianca’s call center is notoriously awful at customer  support. I had this experienced this first hand  recently with them and it took 4 hours to get legal flights after a schedule change.

Are you happy that American Express added Lifemiles?

Feature Image via Nelson Fernando Sotelo Castro via Flickr