Last Chance to Book Your British Airways Avios with LATAM Before May 1, 2020

With great sadness, the LATAM is leaving Oneworld by May 1, 2020. What does this mean for us Canadians? Well, it means we cannot book your British Airways Avios to fly within South America anymore. This leaves us with redeeming our Aeroplan miles on Avianca to fly within South America. And even then, it doesn’t give us some of the great connections that Avios provides thanks to LATAM.

LATAM sweet spots

As mentioned in a previous blog post on LATAM is Leaving Oneworld, I talk about some of the sweet spots when redeeming your Avios.

Some of them include:

  • Santiago Chile to Easter Island
  • Quito or Guayaquil to Galapagos Island (GPS airport code)
  • Lima to Cusco (to see Machu Picchu)
  • Sao Paulo to Sao Luiz (to see Lençóis Maranhenses)
  • Sao Paulo to Foz Do Iguaçu (to see Iguazu Falls)
  • Santiago to Calama (to see the Atacama Desert)

I’ve personally flown on LATAM many times in the past and found them to be a convenient airline carrier.

Places I’ve used LATAM includes:

  • Flying from Cusco to Quito with a connection through Lima
  • Flying within Colombia and Brazil

Personally, I will be booking my Avios to fly within to Sao Luiz in Brazil, to Calama in Chile to see the Atacama desert and possibly to Easter Island as well.

Conclusion

Flying within South America is very expensive. They don’t have budget airlines that make it affordable for travellers to fly between countries. This is why most adventure travellers tend to travel overland to save money. Domestic flights are more affordable. However, South America is huge and you definitely need to take an international flight to cover more grounds.

Seeing LATAM leave Oneworld gives us one less opportunity to fly cheaper within the continent of South America. And while this is terrible news, we do have until the end of April to make a final booking and go on a last hurrah.

Where do you plan on booking your Avios in South America through LATAM before the split is finalized?

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4 thoughts on “Last Chance to Book Your British Airways Avios with LATAM Before May 1, 2020”

  1. I thought LATAM was maintaining bilateral frequent flyer relationships with each member of OneWorld except American Airlines. Are you sure British Airways Avios points can’t be used on LATAM after May 1?

    Also, saying South America doesn’t have low cost carriers between countries is a misleading generalization. JetSmart, FlyBondi, Sky, Viva, Wingo and Gol are examples of low cost carriers with significant international routes within South America as well as strong domestic routes.

  2. Hello Jim,

    Thanks for the reply.

    I’m not sure if I’m misinterpreting the FAQ on the Oneworld website but they said:

    “Until and including 30 April 2020, frequent flyer programme members across oneworld member frequent flyer programmes will be able to redeem miles/points for award seats on LATAM.*”

    Source – https://www.oneworld.com/news/2020-01-31-LATAM-to-leave-oneworld-effective-1-May-2020

    Insiderflyer seems pessimistic on being able to redeem Avios on LATAM after the Oneworld exit on May 1, 2020:

    https://insideflyer.co.uk/2019/09/latam-to-leave-oneworld-alliance-devaluation-of-ba-avios/

    Based on the bilateral frequent flyer relationships, there is no mention if we will be able to redeem Avios on LATAM after May 1, 2020. We’ll have to wait until then and I’ll make an updated post if redemption on LATAM with Avios will still be possible after that date.

    So I definitely hope I am wrong and we can still redeem LATAM using Avios.

    Low-cost carriers for domestic flights in South America definitely do exist. I never said it doesn’t. I know many people fly affordable domestic flights in Colombia and it’s quite affordable. I’ve flown on GOL before and it’s still expensive for a budget airline.

    But I have yet to see an affordable international flight within South America that offers the same prices as a budget airline in Europe or in Asia. I’ve travelled through South America for three months and I just couldn’t find any international flights that are of similar prices as the budget airlines in Asia or Europe. If you can show me South American budget airlines that cost similar as Asian or European budget carriers (a rare random promotion doesn’t count), then I’ll believe you. Otherwise, I stand by my statement that a real low cost carrier for international flights doesn’t exist in South America and we need to use our frequent flyer miles to really save money when travelling between South American countries.

  3. Hi Kendrick,

    Thanks for your quick reply. My question about bilateral deals between LATAM and One World members was based on this article:

    https://onemileatatime.com/latam-leaving-oneworld/

    I hope this is correct as, like you, I would love to still be able to use my Avios points for intra-South American flights on LATAM. I’ve used Avios for half a dozen LATAM regional flights in the past and they are great value.

    Perhaps you have contacts at LATAM or Avios and can determine what will really happen after May 1 and let all you readers know?

    I never suggested you denied the existence of LCCs in South America. But I did question your flat statement that: “They don’t have budget airlines that make it affordable for travellers to fly between countries. ”

    I did a few quick checks and found Sky offering LIM-SCL for US$65.14, SCL-EZE for US$47, GIG-SCL for US$94.19. JetSmart is offering GRU-SCL for US$98 and BOG-SCL for US$115. FlyBondi have El Palomar to Rio for Ar$8,033 (about US$122). Those are all ‘between countries’ and are not wildly out of line with prices on Air Asia or EasyJet for similar distances.

    I agree LCCs are not as ubiquitous in South America as Asia or Europe but they do exist, they do have many good deals, they do fly ‘between countries’ and they are an alternative to LATAM if the latter is unavailable on points.

    Thanks for all the info you share with your readers. These are interesting times for points collectors. I hope we’ll see flights up and running sooner rather than later. And I hope I can still use Avios for LATAM.

    Jim

    • Good to know there are out of pocket deals within South American and I hope they’re not just because of the massive deals being offered right now due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

      I’ll do some detective work and see if if we can truly redeem Avios on LATAM on May 1, 2020 and onwards.

      Thanks Jim.

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