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Coronavirus and Air Travel: Why Avianca Offers the Best Value Credit Card for Travel

In the current coronavirus climate, few major airlines are struggling as much as Avianca. Avianca, the flag carrier of Colombia, is one of the leading airlines in Central and South America. Despite the extensive reach of the airline, however, its entire fleet is grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic. Given the international travel situation, now might not seem like the ideal time to get a credit card from Avianca. Here’s why, however, Avianca is the best value credit card for travel during coronavirus (COVID-19).

Why Get an Airline Credit Card During Coronavirus?

Since the COVID-19 pandemic has brought travel to a halt, airline cards might seem a strange option to consider. As mentioned, however, “a travel credit card can actually benefit you in the long term despite the current troubles caused by COVID-19.”

That’s because airline cards earn rewards on everyday purchases – and not just flights. The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card, for example, earns 2X LifeMiles on gas and grocery purchases and 1X LifeMles on every other eligible purchase. This is, of course, in addition to the 3X LifeMiles the card receives for every dollar spent on direct Avianca purchases.

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card

Avianca Vuela Visa® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Annual Fee $149
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 40,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 3 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent at gas stations and grocery stores
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • Free additional piece of baggage for travel between the United States and Central America
  • A 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $12,000 spent each year
  • An additional 50% discount on an award ticket redeemed for travel to Central America or Colombia from the United States after $24,000 spent each year
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. Applies to transfers made within the first 90 days from account opening. After that, your APR will be from 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: 2% of the amount of each transaction (minimum $2; maximum $10)
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%. This APR may be applied to your account if you miss a required Minimum Payment for a period of sixty (60) consecutive days from its Payment Due Date.
  • Annual Fee: $149
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 0
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $10

Avianca LifeMiles members also earn additional miles when dining with select restaurants, shopping with certain retailers, or staying with hotel partners. And thanks to a cardholder bonus, Vuela (and Vida) credit cardholders get a 15% discount when purchasing miles through the Multiply Your Miles program.

Best Value Credit Card: Why Avianca LifeMiles Are So Valuable

Avianca LifeMiles is a frequent flyer program many travelers overlook. Maybe it’s because the carrier is from South America, so people opt for United MileagePlus – the U.S. carrier in the Star Alliance. Or perhaps it’s because Avianca only flies to nine U.S. destinations. Whatever the reason, LifeMiles is a versatile program that offers significant benefits others don’t.

LifeMiles members can use their miles to book flights with any Star Alliance carrier. The Star Alliance consists of 26 airlines, including Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, United, and more. This ability to book with all partners means LifeMiles members can fly anywhere in the world without headaches.

The program also features no fuel surcharges and no close-in booking fees. No close-in fees mean members never pay higher costs the closer to departure they book. No fuel surcharges means they won’t have to worry about hidden fees when booking with Avianca, or any other Star Alliance member. The take-home here? Avianca LifeMiles save you money when booking flights with all Star Alliance airlines.

Easy Signup Bonuses

Most airline cards come with introductory bonuses. Typically any bonus comes with a minimum spending requirement. The Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card, for example, offers 40,000 bonus miles after making $2,000 in purchases in the first three months. Avianca cards, on the other hand, only require a cardholder to make an initial purchase.

The Avianca Vuela Visa® Card offers 40,000 bonus LifeMiles after the first purchase. Given that LifeMiles are worth 1.7 cents per mile, this bonus is worth approximately $680. SkyMiles, on the other hand, are worth around 1.2 cents per mile. This means that to receive a reward of up to $840 with the Platinum SkyMiles Card you would need to spend $3,000. Vuela is the clear winner for value.

The Avianca Vida Visa® Card, which features a lower annual fee of $59, grants 20,000 bonus LifeMiles after the first purchase. This introductory offer has a value of approximately $340 – just for purchasing something of any cost.

Avianca Vida Visa® Card

Avianca Vida Visa® Card
  • Regular Purchase APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Balance Transfer APR 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Annual Fee $59
  • Credit Needed Excellent , Good
  • Processing Network Visa
Best Benefits
  • 20,000 Bonus LifeMiles after first card use
  • Earn 2 LifeMiles per $1 spent on Avianca purchases
  • Earn 1 LifeMile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • 15% discount on purchases of miles with Multiply Your Miles
  • No cap on the number of LifeMiles you can earn
  • 0% Introductory offer for 12 months on Balance Transfers
  • Chip-enabled card provides added security
  • Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Protection against unauthorized charges
  • Emergency Card Replacement
  • Online Account Management
  • Electronic Statements
  • Auto-pay option
Rates & Fees
  • Regular Purchase APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Intro Balance Transfer APR: 0% introductory APR for the first 12 months. Applies to transfers made within the first 90 days from account opening. After that, your APR will be from 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Balance Transfer APR: 13.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness
  • Cash Advance APR: 24.24%-28.24%. This APR will vary with the market based on the Prime Rate.
  • Cash Advance Transaction Fee: 2% of the amount of each transaction (minimum $2; maximum $10)
  • Penalty APR: 29.99%. This APR may be applied to your account if you miss a required Minimum Payment for a period of sixty (60) consecutive days from its Payment Due Date.
  • Annual Fee: $59
  • Foreign Transaction Fee: 1% of each transaction in U.S. dollars
  • Late Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $38
  • Return Payment Penalty Fee: Up to $10

Why Is Now the Best Time to Get a Travel Credit Card?

It may not seem like the perfect time to get a new credit card – especially a travel rewards credit card.  The Federal Reserve rate cuts, however, mean now is the time for consumers to strike. Thanks to the lower cost of lending, banks can offer exceptional interest rates on credit cards. This rate cut means applicants can get the rewards and perks of an airline card, with the low APR of a balance transfer credit card.

Analysts are also noting that signup bonuses may fall in the coming months. This uncertainty is because of COVID-19 on the airline and banking sectors. Should introductory offers shrink come the summer, does now represent the last opportunity to lock-in these impressive bonuses?

Finally, thanks to the ease of earning and redeeming miles, plus the signup bonus, Avianca LifeMiles credit cardholders will be in pole position to receive the very best award options once flights resume. Americans are already feeling fatigued from quarantines, so an escape later this year makes perfect sense. And, since LifeMiles are so versatile and valuable, the options for destinations are nearly limitless.

Related Article: Is It a Good Time to Apply for a Travel Credit Card?

About: Cory

Cory is BestCards.com's "Jack of all trades" and resident rewards expert, covering all facets of the points game – especially travel, hotels, and airlines. In addition to credit cards, Cory finds that jogging, cats, and memes are essential parts of a balanced day.