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

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.

(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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Comments

  1. I flew LATAM business class across the Pacific to Santiago last year, then on to Buenos Aires, Lima and Mexico and was very impressed. Planes were new, service was efficient and friendly while food and entertainment were at least as good as BA. I’d happily fly the Atlantic with LATAM.

  2. Interesting, slightly off-topic but does anyone know how to earn/spend Avios on internal LATAM flights in Peru. I have one booked but can’t see how to add my Exec Card number.

    • If you booked with avios your BA number should automatically be in the booking.

      and don’t worry you will get some avios back from the the trip……

      • IIRC the frequent flyer number doesn’t show on LATAM.com and there’s no obvious place to add it in their “manage my booking” screen. If you are redeeming via BAEC it will be on there, otherwise get it added at check-in.

    • I’d be interested in this answer also, need to book 4 internal flights in Argentina for April and would ideally like to earn/use Avios if at all possible.

      Having undertaken a dummy run I can’t see where one adds exec member number…

      • Flying with LATAM in SA can be expensive and using Avios down there can get you some incredible value especially with the little known perk you get for using avios!

        The LATAM site is not great in my opinion but it has always reconsigned my status and given me access to row 1 etc. If you are paying and it comes to it just phone up to add exec number or try and use Finnair site.

      • Steve,
        You won’t get Avios or tier points for any internal flights on Latam, only cross border. I did several flights in Argentina a year ago and only the connections from Santiago received anything

    • I booked a few flights with them last year, was an absolute nuisance to figure out, I think the easiest is to call in, which is what I did in the end. All went smoothly after that.

  3. Rob, typo alert? The article quotes 60,000 Avios + £44 in business class; I think you meant economy as business class prices are then stated at a much higher rate further down?

    • Taxes in business for LATAM from MAD are also quoted as £44.

      • Yes, but Avios value for Business is higher than stated in the offending paragraph, so as per Stu R’s comment it should read “economy”

        • barry cutters says:

          iv just paid 170k avios plus £300ish for 2 business class tickets to lima with Iberia.
          Bargain.

          Ba flight days didn’t fit and i have a meeting in Madrid before anyway. so works very well.

          Inca trail here we come!!

  4. Hi Rob, can you get me a Madrid to Santiago business class trip for 60k Avios & £44 ?

    I think sadly it’s economy 🙁

  5. Sandgrounder says:

    Once upon a time, seats on the PUQ-MPN route were easy to find with Avois. That, at 4.5k plus minimal co-pay was one of the best value redemptions around. Now , LATAM seem to price every flight at just above the lowest points price in their own scheme, releasing no seats for BA redemption customers. Poor show guys.

  6. Charlie Whisky says:

    Rob, I think you mean 60,000 Avios plus £44 in ECONOMY ( not Business) for LATAM from Madrid to Santiago?

  7. I am flying to Sao Paulo from Paris in August. £150 (+Avois) for three business class seats. The return on BA (as I had a voucher to use up) only £70.

    Looking forward to trying them out, may try Chilie next time if they are good.

  8. https://www.headforpoints.com/2017/02/13/iberia-launches-a-new-avios-reward-chart/

    Isn’t the best deal actually IBs own business class MAD-SCL, 102k return according to that page. Probably more tax but not excessive, worth the avios saving.

  9. OT but here not bits due to Iberia: 50% off gift cards. Anybodh know if buying avios via Iberia is processed by Iberia themselves or by points com?
    https://www.iberia.com/tarjeta-regalo/

    • James, what gift cards? Can you read Spanish?? It’s half term, Harry away…

      • They seem to be doing a 25% off Valentine’s Day promotion, if you click through you don’t really need to be able to understand Spanish!

        • Sorry, % discount seems to depend on how much you spend but the figures are all there! It look like 50 euro gift card for 25 euros but 100 gift card for 75.

      • Using Chrome browser and Google Translate.
        Seems you send Iberia vouchers from €50 to €500 in value in “valentines cards”. With €25-40 off face value, best % is €50 voucher for €25 actual cost (plus postage?)

      • 50% of Valentine cards can be used to pay Iberia flights in part or full. Would be great if theh worked on buying avios but I doubt it. If you use google then the translation option should pop up.

      • Lady London says:

        Here’s a quick translation of the terms – which offer vouchers for 50% off:-
        Iberia and associated airlines only. Can fly till 31st December except blackout dates for flights from 1st June to 30th Sept. Book by 28th February
        Purchases only from Spain
        Payment only in Euros and amount purchased is in Euros
        Not valid used together with [couple of named programs such as ‘large family’ privilege]. Probably not combinable with any other privilege
        Not able to be used with Cash and Avios

        • Lady London says:

          Not especially generous though. The best benefit seems to be to use for shorthaul flights. The only gift card purchaseable that gives the headlined 50% off is the 50 euros card purchaseable for 25 euros.

          In Euros the gift card amount showing available to be purchased are:
          50€ voucher for 25
          100E voucher for 75
          200 voucher for 160
          300 voucher for 270
          500 voucher for 475

  10. Off to the falklands. Christmas 2018. Had no problem booking one way avios in any class on Iberia. They release flights sooner then BA and seem to offer blue , eco , prem eco and biz all x 2 per flight.
    All excellent tax value and can use min avios with a buy up in PE for around 0.8p each.
    As others have said no BA availability PUQ to MPN anywmore. So a 40 min flight will be 500+ each from LAN! That’s a monopoly route for you. But still a lot cheaper the RAF cattle charter from Brize.

  11. Related-ish: anyone know if the BA flight is payload restricted, primarily in the cabin rather than the hold? Just wondering if there’s the opportunity to have some empty seats in economy 😀

  12. good redemption options here.

  13. 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?

  14. 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 🙁

  15. 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?

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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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