I will not be posting or answering questions about which airports are “tricked” or how to specifically force a trick.
Lifemiles is the frequent flyer program for Star Alliance airline, Avianca, based in South America. All in all, it’s a pretty decent program for flight accruals, and has normal earning requirements for Star Alliance Gold.
What makes Lifemiles special is that they have pretty bad IT, and as such, have miscoded a number of their airports as being in different regions. For example, there is a popular destination that is based on the Mediterranean, but is miscoded as being in the Americas. As such, the Lifemiles system charges you the domestic miles price to get there. Here’s an example:
I’ve blacked out the final destination, as I don’t want to give away the “tricked” airports (lest I face the wrath of the frequent flyer community).
You’ll note that you can get from Vancouver YVR to Munich MUC (and then on to wherever the tricked city is) for 12,500 points + $96.31USD. Lifemiles also offers occasional 2×1 promotions to buy Lifemiles. These come fairly frequently, but you need to have an account prior to the promotion coming out to take advantage of it (so sign up now!). Currently, you can buy 14,000 miles (must be in multiples of 1,o00) for $210USD:
That means you can buy, at any time of the year, an economy flight from anywhere in North America to this tricked European city (or get off at an earlier flight and go to a connecting city like London), for $306.31. You can do this trip as a round-trip for about $500USD, and in business for around $800USD… the best deal for transatlantic business class available.
When booking these flights, note that you can’t have mixed cabins on an itinerary. That is, if one flight is in business, all flights must be in business (same for economy). Further, the inventory they show online is the inventory they give you. Lifemiles doesn’t have access to the same inventory as other Star Alliance partners, like Aeroplan or United. Calling them won’t get you anywhere. They’re also blocking Lufthansa First Class. Happily, they have better access to Singapore Airlines inventory than Aeroplan or United have.
Lifemiles doesn’t charge fuel surcharges on their award tickets. However, they charge a $25USD booking fee.
You can do this for Oceania, Asia, and Africa. With these tricked cities, Lifemiles offers some of the best deals out there.
The cancellation fee is $50, whereas the change fee is $150. Obviously, you’ll want to cancel the tickets (and get your points back) instead of changing it.
The second big trick, ‘boomerang’, will be explained in ‘Part 2.’
Remember: keep your chainsaw close incase a hobbit attacks. — yes, that’s a hint 😉