Avianca Lifemiles fixes the GU(A)M bug in it’s booking engine

Posted on July 27, 2014 by in Lifemiles

Avianca Lifemiles fixes the GU(A)M bug in it's booking engine

Up until about a week ago you could use LifeMiles to go to Asia (or Guam) for just 25,000 miles in business class from anywhere in the US.

This was an amazing deal and had been around for almost two years. Several bloggers have written about it before (including yours truly) and now LifeMiles has taken the time to fix that 'bug'.

When Avianca joined Star Alliance 2 years ago they came up with a rough-handed solution to make Star Alliance redemptions available. The booking engine is clunky and not really convenient. They also imported some airports the wrong way. So some Asian/European airports suddenly became part of the United States. If you could figure out these airports, the booking engine (but NOT the call center) was able to give you a trans-continental flight for the price of a domestic redemption.

The award engine is quirky though and you can only book in one class of service (e.g. business class needs to be available on all flights) and the routing selection can be downright mysterious.

GUM (Guam) is now part of the Philippines! So you can book flights from the Philippines to Guam for 15,000 one-way in economy. i.e. it provides routing for example for GUM-MNL via Seoul or Beijing. This is a good way to 'forget' the last leg and get to Northern Asia from Guam a bit cheaper.

For a while LifeMiles would also let you book Lufthansa First Class from the US West Coast to Frankfurt to the East Coast for the price of a domestic redemption. Again the routing is mysterious. I can't find availability for that anymore.

The same was true for flying the same airline from Asia to Asia via Frankfurt.

Both of these options had VERY tight availability and I was never able to use it properly.

There are two airports left that are apparently miscategorized – one in Asia and one in Europe – where the booking engine thinks it is in the US. However, there is almost never any business class availability. But flying for 12,500 miles in economy from the US to Europe isn't too shabby either.

I'm not ready to share those on the blog but if you sign up for our forum and start posting regularly we'd be happy to invite you to our Private Forum section.

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About the author: Torsten is a serial entrepreneur who started almost a dozen ventures on four continents. Torsten's love for travel has brought him to 130+ countries and travel with most of the world's airlines. You can reach Torsten at [email protected]

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