British Airways launches new route to Chile – good Avios availability

British Airways announced yesterday that it is starting flights to Santiago de Chile on 3rd January.

This will be the longest British Airways flight on the network.  It clocks in at 14 hours and 40 minutes, 50 minutes longer than the current longest flight to Buenos Aires.

The route will be operated with a 4-class Boeing 787-9.

This is what BA says about Chile:

As the capital and economic centre of Chile, Santiago is a lively and vibrant city and its mild winters and very warm summers make it an ideal year-round destination. There is a wealth of things to see and do, including museums, theatres, restaurants, bars and events throughout the year. Must-sees include the Parque Metropolitano, the Cerro San Cristobal, which provides breath-taking views of the city, the Plaza De Armas, Catedral Metropolitana and the Mercado Central, the city’s bustling central market.

Santiago is an excellent gateway from which to discover the rest of the country. With its close proximity to the Andes mountains, as well as coasts of the Pacific Ocean, it’s an ideal destination for skiers and sun worshipers alike. Mountain climbing, hiking and bike tours are available for sports enthusiasts, with cooking classes and wine tasting tours making for a more relaxed break. And those looking to explore even further can travel onward to Easter Island.

Santiago de Chile

And for those HFP readers who live in Chile:

Those visiting London from Chile will discover an iconic city packed with an eclectic mix of museums, galleries, shops, theatres, markets and nightspots. From royal landmarks such as Buckingham Palace and the Tower of London to the shopping hubs of Oxford Street and Notting Hill; captivating museums such as the Natural History Museum to glittering West End shows, there’s something for everyone.

London is also a convenient gateway from which to explore further afield in the UK. Discover Devon’s picturesque coastal towns, the breath-taking landscape of the Peak District or Manchester’s lively nightlife

Flight times

The flight will leave Heathrow at 10pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, landing into Santiago at 09.40.

The return leaves Santiago at 18.45 on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, landing at Heathrow at 12.05.

These timings seem a little bizarre, as BA is keeping $100m+ of aircraft sitting on the ground for nine hours.

Avios availability

Seats are already showing for Avios redemption.

BA seems to have opened up the expected four World Traveller and two Club World seats per flight, plus an additional two World Traveller Plus seats.  I could not see anything in First Class but the F cabin on the 787-9 has only eight seats.

Unfortunately, has an issue and you cannot get through to the payment page.  It also does not show the Avios or taxes required.  The flight is 7,228 miles which should make it Zone 9 and therefore a shocking 300,000 Avios in Club World on a peak date and 250,000 Avios off-peak.

It is possible that BA will choose to fudge the numbers and push it into Zone 8 which would be 210,000 / 175,000 for peak / off-peak in Club World.  This is already done on some routes which just sneak into the wrong band.

Tax will presumably be around £500.  Remember that you can save considerable sums by booking the Iberia flight from Madrid to Chile instead.  If you book on and not the Business Class tax figure should be around £150.  (More details on booking Iberia redemptions to save tax can be found in this article.)

If you want to find out more, British Airways has produced a factsheet on the route which can be downloaded as a PDF here.

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

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  1. Barry cutters says:

    You can also save approx. £150pp tax by starting in Jersey. For no additional Avios.
    a taxi from Gatwick-Heathrow can be booked online from about £50. -Or take an uber for about £40
    (this work with all long haul destinations)

    Good way to get a free day in Jersey paid for by the saving in tax

    • Barry cutters says:

      forgot to say the 1pm flight out of JER links well with the new LGW to JFK flight at 4.30pm.
      -Will be better when the move to south is complete and we get a new lounge

    • I have just spoken to BA and they confirmed that Santiago will be in Zone 9 making it more expensive than Buenos Aires I think

  2. pauldb says:

    I managed to price it up IB+ for 150k peak o/w J. :)

    Could still change once BA get it working themselves, but not promising. And pretty crazy when IB themselves via MAD can be as 63,750 (offfpeak) (which is admittedly a real bargain).

    re JER: isn’t it less hassle to pull the same trick from INV these days.

    • For £150, less the cost of getting to either of them, I think I will pass! Don’t mind an ex-EU to save £1k in cash but …..!

    • Lady London says:

      hmmm warm sunny Jersey, or cold wintry probably rainy Inverness?

      • barry cutters says:

        Exactly and if you have no work commitments , why not have a day there

  3. Inverness is a good option but the avios seats are quickly snapped up..!

  4. GnarlyOldGoatDude says:

    About the dormant aircraft on the ground in Santiago:
    Perhaps there’s enough time to extend the flight to Mount Pleasant in the Falklands.
    That would be about 3.5 hours flying time each way. Of course there may be some issues with overflying Argentina?

    • Flights to the Falklands cannot use argentine air space – they have to go around via Ushuaia

      • Actually they do and once a month actually call in Argentina which was deal for airspace

    • Sandgrounder says:

      It would at least release some Avios seats. LAN are not playing fair these days, all the reward seats seem to be priced just above the minimum in their scheme, leaving none for partners. A few short years ago PUQ-MPN was one of the best redemptions out there.

  5. Jordan D says:

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the aircraft is down on the ground for a combination of:
    (a) crew duty time
    (b) slot availability in Heathrow (leaving 6hrs earlier from SCL would put it in peak arrival time at LHR)
    (c) the market for departure times from Santiago. (Do people really want to leave mid-morning?)

  6. Jordan D says:

    Think the real shame is that they aren’t starting it this side of Christmas. Would happily travel out this year, using this year’s leave … next year however …

  7. Billy Buzzjet says:

    Almost 15 hours in WT ! Wow. Now that’s a flight you wouldn’t want to do unless you had to. Seems an odd route . Makes me wonder who the target audience is. Tourists, Chilean nationals, transit passengers, Her Excellency Michelle Bachelet?

    • Don’t know. Went to LAX in Club on B777. Came back in WT on a380 in one of the 2 seats on top. Preferred WT actually.

      • Tiny Clanger says:

        Almost 15 hours in WT *on a 789*. I think forks in the eyes would be preferable, TBH. Maybe if you’re 5’5″ and as thin as a rake, though :)

    • Well, some people will be doing 17 hours in QR Y when they go to AKL. If you think BA WT is bad…

  8. Andrew (@andrewseftel) says:

    I think this also opens up a new RTW route using the 241 voucher. You should be able to open jaw LHR-SYD/SCL-LHR as SYD-SCL is slightly shorter than LHR-SCL. Getting LHR-SYD availability is another matter of course!

    • Or you could use SCL as the transit point and fly LHR-SCL-SYD-SCL-LHR

      For reasons that I won’t go into, I’m banned from SIN and you can only go via HKG and BKK so many times, so I’ll what sort of cash fares are available on this route :)

  9. Lady London says:

    Also remember that Iberia seems to have some stunning sales on its South American routes (that also sometimes include BA legs)

  10. Slightly O/T…..glad you mentioned experiencing issues, as I wondered if it was just my problem, the last few weeks has been pretty horrendous with numerous ‘system errors’ ‘time out/refresh’ ‘systems not working’ and future bookings not showing. All this combined with ‘Explorer Map’ being unavailable is making the experience of trying to book very frustrating :(

  11. Just booked a 241 CW redemption for next year. Its classed as Zone 9 so serious avios (same as Sydney).

  12. Why does BA start net Lat Am routes instead of using Iberia / LATAM synergies? Isn’t it better to do in partnership with IAG / oneworld and harmonise like it does with AA or Finnair?