Anatomy & Timeline of Cancelling an Avianca LifeMiles Award Ticket

Good morning everyone, I hope you all had a great weekend.  Long story short, I planned an awesome award trip to Africa (Victoria Falls, South Africa, and Madagascar) for August 2020, but due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, we decided to cancel the trip and try again next year.  I planned / booked this trip in October 2019 and part of the award booking process involved booking an Avianca LifeMiles award ticket to fly in business class on Ethiopian Airlines from Toronto, Canada (YYZ) through Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD) to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe (VFA).  In this post, I will document the timeline of cancelling my award ticket, when my Avianca LifeMiles were redeposited and when my taxes/fees were refunded.  Similarly, you can read about my experience with Air Canada is my post Anatomy & Timeline of 2 Cancelled Air Canada Aeroplan Award Tickets.

The award ticket cost a total of 78,000 Avianca LifeMiles + $66.47 in taxes/fees paid with my Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card (for the travel insurance).  At the time of booking, Avianca LifeMiles stated that cancellations / mile redeposits would cost $200

I called Avianca LifeMiles on June 17 and explained to the rep that due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, that I would need to cancel my award ticket.  The agent said that there would be a $25 fee to cancel the award ticket and the fee would be deducted from the $66.47 I paid in taxes/fees.  The rep said I would receive the miles in the next 10-14 days and that I would receive the refund 90 days after the miles were redeposited.  Thanks to AwardWallet, I got an alert on June 30 (13 days later) that I received the 78,000 Avianca LifeMiles back into my account.  Based on that timeline, I expected to see the refund around September 30 (90 days later).

On October 28 (~120 days later), I received this email from Avianca.  Here is the Google translation of the email:

SUBJECT: Avianca Refunds – Your refund request has been authorized

Information of your refund

Dear customer:

We inform you that the refund request with the number SALDI###### of the ticket number 2022######### has been authorized.

The value of your refund is USD 41.47. We will make the payment to your Visa credit card.

Keep in mind that the banking processes can take up to 30 days for you to see the payment reflected in your account statement. The payment may be reflected as “effective payment”, “timely payment”, or other terms other than Refund or Avianca.

This email is informative, we thank you for not giving an answer.

On November 6 (~130 days later), the $41.47 refund finally posted to my Chase Sapphire Reserve.

Here are the transaction details of the Avianca LifeMiles refund.  Interesting that the refund says it came from Taca Airlines.

Last but not least, I received this email from Avianca yesterday confirming the refund has posted.  Here is the Google translation of the email:

SUBJECT: Avianca Refunds – Your request has ended

Information of your refund

Dear customer:

We inform you that the refund process for the SALDI###### application has been successfully completed and has been credited to your bank account that was terminated on 11/07/2020.

We invite you to validate the payment in your bank statement and / or with your bank, taking into account the value corresponding to the refund for an amount of USD 41.47.

Keep in mind that this refund may appear with a different description than Avianca.

This email is informative, we thank you for not giving an answer.

The entire process from calling Avianca on June 17 to receiving the refund on November 6 took ~140 days.  Thankfully, the amount was small at only $41.47, but I really wish the refund process was quicker.  I’m not sure if this is the standard turnaround time for all Avianca paid and award tickets, or if the timeline was affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic, but keep this in mind if you plan on booking a ticket with Avianca in the near future.  If you have any questions about the cancellation and refund process, please leave a comment below.  Have a great day everyone!

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