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How to book low tax Avios redemptions on TAM

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When an Avios collector in the UK looks for a long-haul redemption, British Airways is the obvious choice of airline. However, the taxes and charges can often be very high – up to £500 per Club World seat.

Previous articles in this series have focussed on Aer Lingus, Iberia and airberlin, all of whom charge very low taxes.  If you are heading to South American or Latin America, you have another low-tax option – TAM.

Introducing TAM

Latin American carrier TAM, based in Brazil, joined the oneworld alliance on March 31st 2014.  This is a welcome addition to Iberia’s existing capacity to the region.

This move has been on the cards since TAM merged with fellow Latin American carrier LAN in 2012.  LAN has been a long-term member of oneworld,

As a member of oneworld – alongside British Airways – you are now able to redeem your Avios points for TAM flights.

The combined group, known as LATAM, is based in Chile and listed on the stock exchange there.  It flies to 150 destinations in 22 countries. As well as Chile, there are subsidiaries based in Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay.

Rather like International Airlines Group, which owns BA and Iberia, LATAM is actually a holding company. LAN and TAM are continuing to fly under their own brands.

TAM is headquartered in Brazil.  It serves 61 destinations in 16 countries in Latin America, the USA and Europe, with a fleet of 172 aircraft operating 800 departures daily.  It flew 37 million passengers in 2013.

Whilst most are domestic Brazilian routes (it adds 45 new Brazilian airports to the oneworld network), there are also long-haul flights to Sao Paulo from London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Milan and Paris.

Big tax savings to be had!

Long-haul redemptions to Sao Paulo are already loaded in for redemption.

Because TAM does not appear to have fuel surcharges, and because you can avoid Air Passenger Duty by starting outside the UK, there are some great deals to be had.

Heathrow to Sao Paulo – 120,000 Avios + £234

Frankfurt to Sao Paulo – 120,000 Avios + £88

Madrid to Sao Paulo – 100,000 Avios + £43 !!

Milan to Sao Paulo – 120,000 Avios + £44

Paris to Sao Paulo – 120,000 Avios + £99

These are for return flights.  The figure for Madrid is lower because the flight is the shortest of the lot and just falls into a lower pricing band.

For comparison, a British Airways redemption in Club World to Sao Paulo would cost 120,000 Avios + £593.

It is also worth remembering that Iberia flies to Sao Paulo.  If – and only if – you book an Iberia redemption via and not via – you will be paying 100,000 Avios + £142.  That is for Madrid to Sao Paulo in business class.  You can learn more about redeeming on Iberia in this article from the ‘Avios Redemption University’ series.

TAM has a good reputation for its business class, although I do not claim to know much about it and I would recommend researching what you get on any particular aircraft model.  It also has an amazing First Class product on some of its new 777-300 aircraft, as you can see above.  In general, you only see this seat flying to the US although apparently it is also available from Frankfurt at times.


How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2023)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 10,000 points bonus plus an extra 500 points for our readers Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (59)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dave Williams says:

    Wooohoooo TEAM RAFFLES!!!!

    I am a VERY frequent traveler as of 18 months ago (90-100% travel across EMEA with work). Before this I was a miles ‘newbie’ collecting a few here and there where I could be bothered. I do not have time to trawl through PTS, FT, VFTW etc so VERY much appreciate all the stellar work Raffles has done/is doing summarizing the best info out there.

    I would happily pay for this site if it became unsustainable using the revenue routes Raffles is VERY TRANSPARENT about currently. Not something I’ve thought about but an interesting tidbit re: yacht charters.

    Having said that – please don’t start charging……. 🙂

  • James says:

    The scuba diving liveaboards on a sailboat sound superb.
    Combining three things I love; travelling to interesting places, Sailing & Scuba Diving.

    Then I saw the prices and vomited on myself.

    You can do two weeks on a good quality liveaboard (motor-yacht) diving the great sites of the Red Sea for that money, including flights.

    If prices became more affordable I’d consider using this company & if I do I’ll go via the link on here 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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