Traveling around South America by plane can be very expensive and airlines including LATAM and Aerolíneas Argentinas charge separate prices for residents and versus non-residents. The alternate option for getting around is via buses that are very comfortable, but most take 8-12 hours for a journey with some taking 18+ hours. Luckily redeeming British Airways Executive Club Avios on One World partner LATAM is an option that has surprisingly excellent value.
British Airways Avios can be accumulated numerous ways including flying the airline, hotel, airline, and rental car partners, their shopping portal and with credit card transfer programs. Both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio in increments of 1,000.
British Airways uses a distance-based award chart for redemptions starting at 4,500 Avios for economy cabin flights up to 650 miles distance, 7,500 Avios for 651-1,150 miles, and 9,000 Avios for 1,152-2,000 mile flights. Additionally, taxes and fees for an award redemption run about $40-70 depending on if the flight is domestic or international.
For example, a flight search for October 2018 from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Santiago Chile purchased with cash will run approximately $566.55 for the lowest fare on any LATAM flights.
For the search, there are base fares available only on connecting flights, but they price even higher than a direct route. Using British Airways Executive Club award search shows numerous flights available, each with 7 seats. Most flights will not have a business class or premium economy cabin.
The total cost is 7,500 Avios and $69 for all flight options in economy. This includes a checked bag which is great considering how many airlines have a checked bag fee these days. Using British Airways Avios to book this flight would result in a value of 6.6 cents per Avios [$566-69)/7,500] which is exceptional and means you don’t have to consider a bus option for the trip.
LATAM has a pretty extensive travel network within South America and a great option to consider when planning a trip to the region, both to maximize award travel and to avoid lengthy transportation on buses.
If you’re looking to redeem your American Express Membership Rewards Points, Chase Ultimate Rewards, or British Airways Avios, we recommend using the Juicy Miles award booking service, who can help you redeem for the lowest amount of miles while searching availability on partner airlines.