Avianca Vida Visa® Card: Most Travelers Will Want to Look Elsewhere for Value

Avianca Vida Visa® Card: Most Travelers Will Want to Look Elsewhere for Value

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

The Avianca Vida Visa® Card is one of two credit cards co-branded by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and Colombian airline Avianca. Avianca is a member of the Star Alliance, which means that LifeMiles can be used to book flights on many Star Alliance carriers, including Lufthansa, Thai Airways, Turkish Airlines and United Airlines.

It’s also important to note that Avianca Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2020. While the LifeMiles frequent flyer program is separate from Avianca the airline itself, it would be prudent to proceed carefully in accruing too many LifeMiles without plans to spend them soon.

Pros:
Cons:
  • Ability to use miles to book flights on Star Alliance carriers
  • Earn welcome bonus with just one purchase
  • Introductory 0% APR offer
  • Low earning rates on spending
  • Although the annual fee is lower than some cards, there are no-fee cards that are better options for most people
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Avianca Vida Visa® Card features and benefits

The Avianca Vida Visa® Card is issued by Banco Popular de Puerto Rico and earns Avianca LifeMiles. Its $59 annual fee is less than the $149 annual fee of the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card, but its sign-up bonus and earning rates are also lower.

Sign-up bonus

The sign-up bonus on the Avianca Vida Visa® Card is 20,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use. One attractive feature of the Avianca Vida Visa® Card is that the bonus is easy to earn — there is no other spending requirement outside of making a purchase with the card. We estimate that Avianca LifeMiles are worth 1.4 cents each, so that makes the sign-up bonus worth $221 after subtracting the $59 annual fee. That ranks it on the lower end of value for sign-up bonuses compared to other airline credit cards.

Earning miles

The Avianca Vida Visa® Card has a very simple earning structure. You Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases and 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases. Unless you make an incredible number of purchases with Avianca, you’ll likely be better off with a credit card that earns a flat 2% cash back on all purchases. And if you do spend a lot with Avianca, it may be worth paying the $149 annual fee for the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card to Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases, 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores and 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases.

Redeeming miles

Avianca has a unique award chart that takes a bit of effort to comprehend. One of the most straightforward uses of Avianca LifeMiles is redeeming them to fly on United Airlines domestically within the United States. Avianca divides the U.S. into three different regions, with one-way flights in economy within a single region starting at only 7,500 LifeMiles. It often costs less to book award flights on United with Avianca LifeMiles than using United’s own MileagePlus miles.

From United’s hub in Newark, N.J., you can fly to most cities in the Eastern time zone for only 7,500 LifeMiles. From United’s hub in Denver, you can fly to most Pacific and Mountain time zones for 7,500 LifeMiles. With the Avianca Vida Visa® Card's sign-up bonus, you can easily score a round-trip ticket along one of these routes.

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Economy on sale

Using LifeMiles can also be an attractive option to redeem for Lufthansa first-class flights. First-class flights from the U.S. to Europe cost only 87,000 LifeMiles, and Avianca does not charge expensive fuel surcharges that you’ll see if you use other program’s miles for overseas flights. However, it requires a lot of spending on your Avianca Vida Visa® Card to earn enough miles for this type of fare. You're probably better off applying for the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card with its larger sign-up bonus and more generous earning categories if you're aiming for a first-class flight.

Other card benefits

Besides the sign-up bonus and the earning rates, the Avianca Vida Visa® Card does come with a few other basic card benefits. You’ll get an introductory 0% intro APR for 12 months on balance transfers made within the first 90 days of account opening. After that, your APR will be 14.74% to 27.74%. variable thereafter. You’ll also get a 15% discount on purchasing additional LifeMiles.

Avianca Vida Visa® Card vs. Avianca Vuela Visa® Card

As mentioned, the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card has higher earning rates on Avianca purchases and a higher sign-up bonus. The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card also earns double LifeMiles at gas stations and grocery stores. It also has a $0 foreign transaction fee, making it a better option for traveling outside the U.S.

The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card does come with a higher annual fee ($149) but you can help to offset that by a free checked bag when flying Avianca between the U.S. and Central America. You can also spend your way to a 50% discount on up to two award ticket redemptions. If you’re a frequent Avianca traveler or LifeMiles user, the Avianca Vuela Visa® Card's added benefits may be worth the extra $90 in annual fees.

ValuePenguin's verdict: Useful if you need LifeMiles, but most travelers will have better options

Avianca LifeMiles can be redeemed for incredible amounts of value if you are familiar with the intricacies of the LifeMiles award chart. If you regularly redeem LifeMiles, and are looking to earn every possible mile, then you might want to consider the Avianca Vida Visa® Card. It can be especially useful to those who already have many of the other credit cards and are well over the Chase 5/24 limit.

For more occasional or infrequent users of LifeMiles, it probably makes sense to focus on more transferable points currencies. LifeMiles are not difficult to get — they frequently run large purchase promotions and are transfer partners of American Express, Citi and Capital One. Especially given Avianca’s pending bankruptcy, it may not make sense to stockpile LifeMiles unless you have a specific need.

How does the Avianca Vida Visa® Card compare to other cards?

If you’re still on the fence as to whether or not the Avianca Vida Visa® Card is right for you, check out how it stacks up to some of its competition.

An alternative to earn big at restaurants and grocery and still get LifeMiles

American Express® Gold Card

$250

See Pay Over Time APR

Excellent/Good

  • Rose Gold is back. You can now choose between Gold or Rose Gold.
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery, plus, earn 4X points for Uber Eats purchases too.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • $120 Uber Cash: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Earn up to a total of $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the Gold Card at Grubhub, Seamless, The Cheesecake Factory, Ruth's Chris Steak House, Boxed, and participating Shake Shack locations. This can be an annual savings of up to $120. Enrollment required.
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

If you're a frequent flyer on Avianca, you should check out the American Express® Gold Card. Since Avianca is a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express, you can earn valuable Membership Rewards® points with the American Express® Gold Card and convert them to LifeMiles whenever you need to. The American Express® Gold Card has a higher annual fee ($250) but also offers a bigger welcome bonus and much better perks. You’ll Earn 4X Membership Points on Restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery. Additionally, earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X), and 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com., a $120 annual dining credit at select eateries and up to $120 Uber Cash annually for Uber rides or Uber Eats (up to $10 each month). Your American Express® Gold Card needs to be added to your Uber app in order to receive this monthly Uber Cash benefit.

And remember that all the Membership Rewards points that you earn can be transferred to Avianca (or any of Amex’s transfer partners). Or you can choose to keep your Membership Rewards points with Amex and redeem them another way.

For rates and fees of American Express® Gold Card, please click here.

Another Star Alliance credit card with a better bonus and better earning rates

United℠ Explorer Card

  • On Chase's Secure Website

$0 Intro for the First Year, then $95

16.49% to 23.49% Variable

Excellent/Good

  • 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months
  • $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $95
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays, and on United purchases
  • Up to $100 Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® fee Credit
  • 25% back on United inflight purchases
  • Check your first bag for free (a savings of up to $140 per roundtrip) when you use your card to purchase your ticket
  • Enjoy priority boarding privileges and visit the United Club? with 2 one-time passes each year for your anniversary
  • Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants and eligible delivery services

If you’re a frequent flier of Star Alliance airlines and looking for a Star Alliance credit card, you might consider the United℠ Explorer Card. The United℠ Explorer Card has an annual fee of $0 Intro for the First Year, then $95, and an attractive sign-up bonus: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months. There are some routes where you would spend fewer LifeMiles than you would United MileagePlus miles, but you’ll make up for that with the much higher sign-up bonus.

The United℠ Explorer Card lets you Earn 2 miles per $1 spent at restaurants, on hotel stays and on purchases from United. 1 mile per $1 spent on all other purchases. It also comes with up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck® application fees, free checked bags while flying United and two one-time United Club passes.

Earn flexible points that can be used for all types of travel

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

  • On Capital One's Secure Website

$95

17.24% - 24.49% (Variable)

Excellent/Good

  • Earn 100,000 bonus miles when you spend $20,000 on purchases in the first 12 months from account opening, or still earn 50,000 miles if you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to $100 application fee credit for Global Entry or TSA Pre✓®
  • Redeem on travel—from vacation rentals to car rentals and more. Plus transfer your miles to over 10+ travel loyalty programs
  • No foreign transaction fees

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card lets you earn 2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day. Your Venture miles can be used for any type of travel purchase, at a rate of 1 cent per point. This makes them incredibly flexible since you can use your Venture miles for flights on any airline, stays at any hotel or other travel purchases with no blackout dates.

Capital One Venture miles can also be transferred to a variety of airline and hotel transfer partners, including Avianca. Your Venture miles transfer to Avianca at a rate of 2 Venture miles to 1.5 LifeMiles, so you still have the ability to get LifeMiles with this card.

The information related to Avianca Vida Visa® Card and Avianca Vuela Visa® Card has been independently collected by ValuePenguin and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. Terms apply to American Express credit card offers. See americanexpress.com for more information.

Dan Miller is a freelance writer and has been covering credit cards, student loans and all things personal finance since 2014. His home base is in Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 kids.

These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Advertiser Disclosure: The products that appear on this site may be from companies from which ValuePenguin receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). ValuePenguin does not include all financial institutions or all products offered available in the marketplace.

How We Calculate Rewards: ValuePenguin calculates the value of rewards by estimating the dollar value of any points, miles or bonuses earned using the card less any associated annual fees. These estimates here are ValuePenguin's alone, not those of the card issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer.

Example of how we calculate the rewards rates: When redeemed for travel through Ultimate Rewards, Chase Sapphire Preferred points are worth $0.0125 each. The card awards 2 points on travel and dining and 1 point on everything else. Therefore, we say the card has a 2.5% rewards rate on dining and travel (2 x $0.0125) and a 1.25% rewards rate on everything else (1 x $0.0125).

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