A good Avios redemption to Santiago, Chile – paying just £44 tax

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We don’t give LATAM much coverage on Head for Points, even though I have written articles covering redemption opportunities with most of the other oneworld partners.

There is one excellent Avios redemption with LATAM from Europe which is worth knowing about.

LATAM is a long-time member of the oneworld alliance.  In 2012 LAN 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 LATAM business and is where the airline is headquartered and listed.  Note that the constituent airlines are still often referred to as LAN and TAM.

British Airways launched direct flights to Santiago in Chile a couple of years ago.  It remains the longest non-stop BA service.  Before that, the only direct flights from Europe were from Madrid on either LATAM or Iberia.

(The 2nd best option is from Frankfurt.  The LATAM plane from Madrid carries on to Frankfurt after a short stop – you can even book Madrid to Frankfurt on LATAM as a stand-alone Avios redemption if you want a flat bed for that service.  Anika reviewed that flight in Business Class here – it often uses a brand new Boeing 787.)

LAN

Why should you redeem on LATAM instead of British Airways?

Whilst it is great news that you can now redeem your Avios for flights to Chile on British Airways from London, economy redemptions come with the usual heavy taxes.

A British Airways World Traveller redemption requires £353 of taxes plus either 70,000 Avios (peak) or 45,500 Avios (off-peak). 

Booked at ba.com, Madrid to Santiago, flying on LATAM, prices out at 60,000 Avios plus £44 in business economy class.  That £44 is not a typo – there are no fuel surcharges to pay on LATAM flights.

You save over £300 if you can make your way to Madrid, although the amount of Avios needed may be higher or lower depending on whether you are on a BA peak or off-peak date.

Business Class is even better value but availability on LATAM between Madrid and Santiago is hard to find.  If a seat did come up, it would be 180,000 Avios plus £44, compared with 175,000 or 210,000 Avios plus £500+ on BA from London.

There is also a competing daily Iberia service from Madrid.  On a peak date, this costs 84,000 Avios + £150 return in Economy if booked via iberia.com.  On the few dates when cheaper ‘Blue Class’ economy redemptions are available, this drops to 51,000 + £150.

Whether the LATAM flight is attractive or not depends to some extent on how cash rich you are versus how Avios rich you are.   If you can get to Madrid easily and cheaply from a local airport, however, an Economy redemption with just £44 of tax will be hard to beat.

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Comments

  1. good redemption options here.

  2. Does anyone have a good/easy/quicker way to search for LATAM availability? Or is it just a case of clicking on day after day on ba.com?

  3. I’ve found it’s impossible to add a BAEC number online to a LAN Chile revenue booking because the only available option is a LAN FF number. Also an online BAEC avios redemption on LAN Ecuador throws up an error message at the time of booking that it can’t be added and to call the BAEC service centre. Then when I try to add it manually I get the error that it can’t be done because there is no One World airline in the booking 🙁

  4. Robert Lamont says:

    Slightly off topic, I have a Lloyds upgrade voucher to use, could I book the London to Santiago via Madrid in premium economy and receive the upgrade to business all the way through or would it only upgrade the Lon-Madrid portion?

  5. This sounds great. If only I could convince my husband to do a positioning flight to then pick up a good deal in biz class. I can’t seem to convince him that flying biz in Qatar if a good sale price is a good option. He prefers to fly direct from London.

  6. I flew LATAM around Chile last Xmas on Avios. Booked via BA site . One flight I paid for and added FF no. at check in. No big deal, tier points and miles posted soon after.

    OT-Having just taken my first World Traveller flight for a few years, having migrated to the competition a while back. I thought I’d share some observations:

    1. Where are the staff? On a five hour flight we rarely saw anyone compared to say Emirates.
    2. The first offer of water came with the drinks trolley-90 minutes into the flight. – it was like stepping back in time.
    3. What’s with the (sic) High Life entertainment system? The screen is a third the size of my IPad. Half that at least of the competition;. The film choices are very few. Given the strength of British TV drama I was amazed to see how few shows there were. The software and screen quality. must be 10 years old at least.
    4. They didn’t get it working on the entire plane for two hours and didn’t think to apologise about it for that magic 90mins again.
    5. Food? No idea when or what we were getting. No menu sheets handed out. and Ok its passable but no better than the competition.
    6. Old worn out seats.
    7. Yes there’s a good CW service but the WT experience as a whole was like going back to your Grans house after a decade and finding the 70s decor and bone china pug dogs are still in place.
    8. How do they manage to charge so much more than say the Gulf carriers for such a markedly inferior product?
    9. Avios really only for upgrades or short Euro hops

    Back to the genuinely customer service oriented fliers for me.

    • I know, it’s awful! Flew home in WT last summer as it was overnight and we would be mainly sleeping but it was 4 hours before the meal was served! Had to beg for thimbles of water as we’d boarded in 30 degree heat.

  7. Flew in business from Easter island to Santiago few years back. Can’t remember the exact avios used, but tax was £6 or something really low per person. They do have to sort their website out though, not the most user friendly website.

  8. Thomas Howard says:

    Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but if I have a Qantas FF account (that I’m half way to lifetime silver on) and I redeem Avios for flights like the above LATAM (or any other non BA flight) do I earn any status credits? BA make it clear you don’t get BAEC tier points on all-Avios flights but how does it work with other airlines and FF schemes within oneworld?

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