How to Make the Most of Flying in Avianca’s Economy Class

Avianca's economy class has several fare types based on whether you need flexibility or want to check a bag.
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Written by Anya Kartashova
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Edited by June Casagrande
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Avianca Airlines flies to more than 100 destinations, including six in the United States. The Colombian carrier is a Star Alliance partner that operates service to the following U.S. cities: Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; Orlando, Florida; and Washington, D.C.

Based on our most recent analysis, NerdWallet values Avianca LifeMiles at 1.2 cents each.

Here’s what you need to know about flying Avianca economy class.

What to expect flying economy with Avianca

Fare types and inclusions

When flying Avianca on international routes, you can choose from a wide range of fare types within economy class. Avianca’s fare types resemble clothing sizes to better fit your travel style:

  • XS indicates a promotional fare that includes a carry-on bag and personal item. Everything else, such as a checked bag and seat selection, comes at an extra cost. XS fares don’t allow for changes or refunds. When you fly XS, you won’t earn redeemable miles in the Avianca LifeMiles loyalty program.

  • S fares include a carry-on bag, and everything else comes at an extra cost. You will earn miles by booking this fare type.

  • M fares include a checked bag. These fares also earn miles, can be refunded (for an extra cost) and can be upgraded to the next class of service for LifeMiles Elite members.

  • L fares come with more flexibility and include two checked bags and complimentary Avianca Plus upgrades, changes and refunds.

  • XL fares include more service, such as two pieces of checked luggage, and are eligible for business class upgrades. However, changes and refunds cost extra.

  • XXL fares come with everything included in the fare: one carry-on bag, two checked bags, seat selection, an upgrade to business class, mileage accrual and free changes or refunds.

Bag allowance

When flying with Avianca, economy class passengers with XS or S fares have to pay extra to check a bag. Those with M fares can check one bag weighing up to 50 pounds, while those with L fares can check two bags up to that weight. XL and XXL fares fall under business class rules and can check two bags up to 70 pounds.

Carry-on bags are limited to 22 pounds.

Economy food

On economy flights shorter than three hours, only beverages are served upon request. If you’re flying three to four hours, expect a snack pack. Passengers on flights four to five hours receive prepackaged food, such as a sandwich, wrap or salad bowl. Those flying five to seven hours will be served a box containing a snack pack and prepackaged food.


Avianca’s economy seats offer 34 inches of pitch on average. Pitch is the distance between a point on a seat and the same point on a seat in front of or behind it. Any Avianca economy review would correctly note that 34 inches is quite good. But this measurement can vary depending on the plane you fly.

If your fare type includes seat selection, you'll have the option to pick or buy a front-row seat, preferential seat, emergency-exit seat, duo seat or standard seat up to 48 hours before departure.

Ways to get good value

Book with LifeMiles

To save cash, pay for your flight using Avianca LifeMiles. Take, for example, this round trip between San Salvador, El Salvador, and Bogota, Colombia. Each one-way economy flight starts at 11,000 LifeMiles at a sale redemption rate (so 22,000 miles round-trip) and goes to 14,500 miles at a standard rate.

The same round-trip flights on the same dates cost $600 total in cash.

To see how much value you’re getting out of your points for this trip, subtract the taxes, about $105, from the $600 cash fare, then divide the difference ($495) by 22,000 miles. You end up with a healthy 2.25 cents per mile on this trip — a tremendous value for an economy award.

Use Lock and Fly to hold award flights

Avianca’s Lock and Fly option lets you hold an award flight while you earn or transfer points to the LifeMiles program. The feature is available only for select Avianca-operated flights.

Once you find an eligible flight with a Lock and Fly icon, you can hold it from the lock date up to 15 days before a domestic flight, up to 30 days before an international flight and up to 60 days before a flight to Europe. The cost varies based on itinerary, class of service and length of hold.

In this example, both sale and standard mileage rates were available for booking, but only the sale rate could be locked. If you need more time to get miles or plan the trip, you can lock the award at the lower rate and buy more time. Once you’re ready to book, make sure the hold is still active and complete the booking.

Control your economy fare cost

Avianca’s many fare classes create a lot of opportunities to save money.

For example, if you’re going on a short trip where you don’t need to check a 50-pound bag, you can book a cheaper ticket with an XS or S fare. If you don’t care about seat selection enough to pay extra, you can get a lower fare without that option. You're in control of how many amenities or how much fare flexibility you get by spending less or more on a ticket.

Fly Avianca economy class and save

For flights to and within Central and South America, Avianca’s economy class isn’t a bad choice. Depending on travel distance, you might get a meal and a seat with plenty of pitch. Plus, the many different fare classes provide more flexibility and allow you to choose how you want to travel.

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024:

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