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Avios Redemption University – Lesson 10 – Low tax Avios redemptions on TAM

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EDIT:  This article has NOT been updated to reflect the Avios changes which took place on 28th April 2015.  A revised version of the article will be published on Head for Points in late May.

The “Avios Redemption University” series is a good starting point for beginners, although I hope everyone will learn something from themClick here to see the other articles.

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.

LATAM

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 ba.com 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 iberia.com and not via ba.com – 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 First

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.

Comments (59)

  • Judy Jones says:

    “Try doing 3 posts a day every day , without any incentive”

    Wow, the naivety of some people is truly startling.

    • Stu says:

      Indeed, people like ‘John’ evidently believe things like server hosting, bandwidth, the time to research and write 3 articles a day all get conjured up out of thin air. Raffles obviously has costs to cover. It’s his blog to do with as he wants. If anyone doesn’t like it, the internet’s a large enough place to go elsewhere.

      • Rob says:

        To be honest the ‘hard’ costs are modest, albeit four figures per year. The time requirements for writing and researching 21 posts a week plus answering around 100 emails from readers (which no-one ever sees) each week, updating the ‘reference’ posts etc does add up and, bottom line, needs to make sense for me.

  • John says:

    Am I right in saying there are no fuel surcharges for any tickets departing Brazil?

    • Rob says:

      (Edited from my original)

      It does seem, having rechecked, that BA is again no longer adding any surcharges to tickets starting in Brazil. A one-way redemption is £20 ex Sao Paulo to London!

      • David says:

        It used to be that BA reward tickets originating in Brazil would not attract a fuel surcharge. Has this changed?

        • Rob says:

          Actually, I just checked and they have gone again! They weren’t there, they appeared, and now they have gone!

          Back to a flat £20 tax for a one-way departing Sao Paulo.

          • Manuel says:

            Hello,

            They are still there. But you only see them when you click through to payment. I called BA and apparently they anly take them out for Brazilian residents.

          • Rob says:

            You’re right, I just checked. Jumps from £20 to £150ish one-way from Brazil in World Traveller Plus when you click through.

          • Boris Toshev says:

            Well, Brazilian residents cannot book Avios tickets online anymore. It’s been showing the message for a year, but you could still book the flight without a problem (and without fuel surcharges). Now you simply cannot book the flights online. Have not tried phoning to see if they add the surcharges or not.

        • John says:

          Maybe it’s an airport charge or something?

  • LondonFoodie says:

    Raffles – you the man. Keep up the AMAZING work.

  • Jenni says:

    On US and TAM, if flying economy (shock horror!), does one get priority boarding by showing CX Gold card and crediting flights to BAEC?

    • Rob says:

      You should do, yes – check the oneworld website but I think Priority Boarding is a standard alliance benefit for all holders of oneworld Sapphire equivalent cards.

      • Jenni says:

        Thanks Raffles. So showing the card will work, I don’t have to have the CX number and ‘sapphire” printed on the boarding card? (apologies for the stupid questions, I’ve only had Avios redemption flights whilst having the CX Gold, and I put the number in the booking as obviously I wasn’t crediting any miles)

        • Rob says:

          Yes, for priority boarding I am pretty sure that simply showing the card will do it. (Most of the time simply going into the priority boarding queue, regardless of status or anything, works as well 🙂 )

          • Jenni says:

            Haha thanks Raffles 😀

          • Alan says:

            Yep, definitely fine to do it that way – got my parents to do this without a problem with their CX Gold card (my Dad was a bit miffed that they never asked for the card, he had it all ready to show the agent!)

          • Jenni says:

            Thanks Alan, got a few flights on US coming up so this is good to know. And seeing as the lounges are piss poor in the States, priority boarding is just about the only benefit of the card (when travelling hand luggage only, that is)!

          • Alan says:

            I know what you mean, Jenni about lounges in the US! The only other benefit I’ve found is that the AA lounges (esp Flagship ones) seem to have reasonable free internet connections and often have printing facilities which can be handy for printing out confirmations, directions, etc.

          • flieduk says:

            HAHA. I wonder how long the priority queues are going to be tomorrow 😀

  • Tim says:

    Why can’t I comment on the previous post “Discover the best yacht chartering in Europe (sponsored post)”. I have chartered yachts and owned a charter yacht and have just returned from Croatia where I first visited 24 years ago. I have things to say!

  • […] odd is going on. I did this big piece on TAM for the blog today: https://headforpoints.com/2014/04…s-redemptions/ and when I went online last night to double-check my numbers I really struggled to find seats. […]

  • Bacx says:

    Another voice of support for Raffles – keep up the good work! Awesome stuff!

  • craig says:

    Hi Raffles, given the far lower taxes charged on the flights, this might make economy redemptions more viable, whereas for BA from London the taxes almost equal fares obtained elsewhere. Do you have any info on Madrid-Sao Paulo TAM Avios redemptions? I was collecting for 2 BA business flights plus a 3rd using a partner voucher, but £1,550 saved in taxes (minus cost of flights to Madrid) makes that a serious option.

    • Rob says:

      What sort of info? The price is above – 100,000 + £43 tax ex Madrid in Business on TAM, or £142 of tax on Iberia (booked via Iberia.com). Economy will be a little bit lower and will be 50,000 Avios each return.

      Not sure why it is currently next to impossible to see TAM redemptions online from Madrid but reward seats are there on Iberia for booking.