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Using your Avios points to fly to Chile with LAN

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I have never given LAN much coverage on Head for Points, even though I have written articles covering redemption opportunities with most of the other oneworld partners.

I recently helped a friend with some research into Avios redemption options to Chile and I thought it would be useful to share some of the things I discovered.

LAN is a long-time member of the oneworld alliance.  In 2012 it merged with Brazilian-based airline TAM and the two airlines are now owned by a new holding company, LATAM.  The combined group flies to 150 destinations in 22 countries.  As well as Chile and Brazil, there are subsidiaries based in Peru, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay.

Chile remains the heart of the LAN business and is where the airline is headquartered and listed.

There are no direct flights from the United Kingdom to Santiago in Chile, either with LAN Chile or British Airways.  The only direct flights from Europe are from Madrid.

The 2nd best option is from Frankfurt.  The LAN plane from Madrid carries on to Frankfurt after a short stop – you can even book Madrid to Frankfurt on LAN as a stand-alone Avios redemption if you want a flat bed for that service.  I am keen to try this ‘fifth freedom’ flight out one day.

The Frankfurt – Madrid – Santiago services uses a brand new Boeing 787 which features the latest LAN seating in business class.  Take a look at this:

LAN 787 business class

and this:

LAN 787 business class

What does it cost?

Due to the ludicrously over-complicated Avios restructuring recently, it will now take me seven paragraphs to explain how much an Avios redemption from Madrid to Santiago will cost!

Using the Avios pricing chart at ba.com, Madrid to Santiago prices out at 180,000 Avios plus £39 in business class.  That £39 is not a typo – there are no fuel surcharges to pay on LAN flights.

There are 10 flights per week on LAN.  Availability seems to be very random – on March 1st, for example, there are six first class seats available on the 20.45 from Santiago to Madrid but none on the 20.20 departure half an hour earlier!

There is also a competing daily Iberia service.  On an off-peak date, this costs 102,000 Avios + £532 return in business class if booked via ba.com.  On a peak date, the cost is 150,000 Avios + £532 via ba.com.

(If you are wondering why the flight is 150,000 Avios via Iberia and 180,000 Avios via LAN, it is because Iberia has a separate reward chart with different pricing bands.  All other redemptions booked via ba.com are priced using the standard BA price chart.)

If you book at iberia.com, the pricing changes.

The LAN flight reprices to 175,000 Avios + US$60 (ie the same £39).  However, it is not cancellable if booked via iberia.com so you should use ba.com instead.

The Iberia flights become substantially cheaper because the Iberia website does not add fuel surcharges.  The cost to Santiago drops to 102,000 Avios + US$214 off-peak and 150,000 Avios + US$214 peak.

The LAN flights are still attractive on peak dates.  You need 30,000 more Avios but you are saving over £100 in tax.  You are also flying on a new Boeing 787 service with the latest LAN business class product.  The seating is far more spacious than the Iberia business class cabin.

In a future article I will take a look at using LAN for flights to Easter Island and the Galapagos, two of the outstanding but hard to reach tourist destinations they cover.

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Comments

  1. David says:

    I also plan to book a 2-4-1 to GRU next year then fly onward to Easter Island. Costs about £1100 in Business & 150k avios plus the costs to get to SCL/Easter Island, worthwhile use fo 2-4-1? Anyone been down to Patagonia in June/July?

    • Calchas says:

      You should book your SCL-IPC flight in Chile (or from the LAN Chile website). The price will be much cheaper. It is actually a good tier point run in business class, under £2 / TP.

    • David,
      If your main destination is Easter Island, it seems a bit of detour going to GRU. If you are avios rich, you can also use 2-4-1 in 1 direction to go to GRU..see whatever you want to see in Brazil then go to SCL, Easter Island and return via Iberia SCL- MAD (75K + £71 per person).
      Paying £1100 cash (even if J) for an award ticket to land up 14 hrs away from your main destination (incl. transit) doesn’t seem to be the optimal way to do it. If you are not avios rich, I would personally use the 2 for 1 for some other destination unless of course you do plan to spend substantial time in Brazil in which case it might make sense.
      FYI if you book any award flight originating in Brazil, no fuel surcharge is charged due to local regulations and BA flight to LHR would cost 75K + £25 odd however you can’t use your 2-4-1 just for inbound to UK and if booking a round trip from UK, BA cheekily adds fuel surcharge even for the GRU-LHR segment as your ticket is originating in UK.

      • David says:

        Where do you see SCL-MAD for 75K + £71. I can only see 51K + £334. We need to return to GLA and best I can see from GRU is 90K + £46 ?

  2. I’ve only flown LAN in economy, but can definitely recommend them. Proper cutlery, and dishes and proper glasses. Plus you get the eye patch, ear plugs and tooth brush that you don’t get with BA in economy. If i go to South America again, i’ll look there before BA.

  3. LondonFoodie says:

    IPC segments have notoriously poor redemption availability. Maybe SCL-IPC is ok, but IPC-PPT is one of those redemption unicorn flights… I spent months once checking everyday for on an entire year trying to secure a seat.

    • raikje says:

      A few years ago now, but I found SCL-IPC was fairly good for availability in J. Had no real trouble getting 2 seats around the dates I wanted. This may be because SCL-IPC is daily, but IPC-PPT is one flight a week.

    • Calchas says:

      SLC-IPC is also dirt cheap in J, if you buy the tickets in Chile (or from a Chilean website).

  4. Out of interest how do you use your Avios points with other OneWorld Alliance partners?

    • David says:

      You can see availability and book for OW partners through BA.com when searching for flights with Avios.

  5. SimonB says:

    I recently booked 241 LHR/GRU/LHR as I want to go to Peru and visit Machu Picchu in September. I had tied other destinations (Cape Town for example as I go there often) but availability is terrible almost all of the time. So, the options for LIM using 241 most of the way were to fly via MIA connecting with LAN or via Brazil (via GRU – flight durations similar). Availability in anything but Y class were awful via MIA so GRU it is – Premium Economy (744) outbound and Club World (777) inbound. I will then buy a GRU/LIM/CUS/LIM/GRU on LAN but as I need 45 more tier points to get a Bronze card this year, I will pay cash.

    FYI: from what I could see, availability on 241 to GIG is also quite good generally speaking in all classes. EZE terrible with only a few Y class here and there.

    • Usually Lima – Cusco is easy to get on avios and does save you substantially compared to buying with cash (in my case the saving was about $100 one way and we were 5 !!) Also as per the fine print on BA.com
      “Avios and Tier Points are not available on flights operating wholly within Peru, Chile or Argentina”
      so better confirm that you would be getting tier points for Lima – Cusco – Lima flight.

  6. Martin says:

    I will be flying LAN 787 redemption Business Class from Sydney to Auckland. Excited:)

  7. neuromancer says:

    “In a future article I will take a look at using LAN for flights to Easter Island and the Galapagos, two of the outstanding but hard to reach tourist destinations they cover.”
    This can be interesting (or pretty short :-)). Last time I checked there was absolutely no availability ti Easter Island for months, even up to 1 year in advance. Did not check the entire calendar, but could not find a single seat available.

    • That is roughly what the article is going to say unless something changes between now and whenever I get around to writing it 🙂

      • Rob,
        While LAN is a great option in S.America maybe it is worth mentioning that as per BA website
        “Avios and Tier Points are not available on flights operating wholly within Peru, Chile or Argentina”
        Luckily these flights are available for booking via avios but no point in paying cash for tierpoints/avios. I have personally used paid internal flights in Chile (though not to easter island) on LAN and never got anything in terms of Avios or Tierpoints (not that I was expecting but confirms what the website says). I did get Lounge access and extra bag with Silver card everywhere.

  8. Do LAN ever do any good cash deals ex-EU to South America?

  9. sandgrounder says:

    ‘In a future article I will take a look at using LAN for flights to Easter Island and the Galapagos, two of the outstanding but hard to reach tourist destinations they cover’

    Throw in MPN as well! I would say it matched both criteria, the second one for sure! 🙂

    • David says:

      I was in the Falklands at the end of last year and looked at the MPN flight as a redemption. Given that for cash it is always around £500 return for 1.5hr flight I was amazed to see plenty of availability (always 9 seats) for 4,500 Avios ea way + £0 PUQ – MPN and the same avios but with £17 taxes on the return.

      Everyone on the islands knew the weekly LAN flight to be very expensive – it would have actually been cheaper to have bought the avios with cash than to pay for the flight itself. In the end I didn’t make it over to Chile but the Falkland’s are definitely worth a visit if you get chance.

      EDIT: Having just re-looked it would appear there is now no-availability whatsoever on this route! How strange…

  10. Nigel says:

    In March we used a 2-4-1 Amex to fly :- First LHR-GIG/GRU-LHR
    Used avios on Lan for
    GIG-GRU
    GRU-LIM
    LIM-CUZ-LIM
    LIM-EZE Buisness
    AEP-IGR
    IGU-GRU

    Cathay Pacific Card (courtesy of AMEX PLAT) gave us Lounge access and free transfers to earlier flights on LAN at times.
    Very good service and punctuality. Very LOW taxes 🙂 Saved me a ton of money.
    Availability OK if booking 63 monthsahead.
    Only IGU-GRU seem to open up about 1 month ahead.

    Looked at SCL-IPC and availability seems to be 330 days out-for ONE day then disappears.

    Then there’s the LANBA glitch where no rewards are posted for anwywhere at ALL.!

    Alternative may be to use SPG points to Tx to LAN and book with their rewards.
    At least you can see their availability on the LAN site.

    Look forward to the article

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