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No more Avios or tier points from LATAM as it resigns from oneworld

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The oneworld airline alliance, of which British Airways is a key member, took a major blow last night.  LATAM, the airline which dominates flights in Latin America, announced its resignation.

The reason is that Delta Air Lines is spending $1.9 billion to acquire a 20% stake in LATAM.  It has also agreed to take 14 A350 aircraft, ten of which are yet to be delivered, off LATAM, and to pay $350m towards covering the exit costs from oneworld.

The roots of the resignation lie in the refusal by the Chilean Government to allow American Airlines, currently the US airline with the biggest operation in Latin America, and LATAM to form a revenue sharing joint venture.

LAN resigns from oneworld following Delta investment

As well acquiring 20% of the airline, Delta will form a revenue-sharing joint venture with LATAM to operate flights between North America and Latin America.  This will require full regulatory approval, which is expected to take 1-2 years, although the airlines are expected to agree a codeshare deal in the short term.  Delta will sell its minority stake in Brazil’s GOL as part of the deal.

Delta / LATAM will become the largest airline on five of the six largest routes between North and Latin America.

Interestingly, there is no word on LATAM joining the SkyTeam alliance.  Delta Air Lines has publicly stated that it sees little benefit in SkyTeam these days, although this does not fit with the strong rumours that Virgin Atlantic (49% shareholder Delta Air Lines) will soon announce that it is joining.

Another interesting question is whether Virgin’s new Heathrow to Sao Paulo route will last long, given that LATAM flies the same route.  The two airlines could also codeshare, effectively making it a ‘two daily’ service.  The new Virgin Atlantic codeshare with GOL for connections inside Brazil, which we covered here, could be at risk, replaced with a LATAM deal.

oneworld has not made an announcement yet (EDIT – it has now, see here, it seems they didn’t get any advance notice) but this will clearly be a substantial blow.  We may now see Iberia extending its already impressive coverage in Latin America.

LATAM cannot leave oneworld overnight, however, so you can continue to spend Avios, and earn Avios and British Airways tier points, for some time yet.

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (February 2024)

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

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Barclaycard Avios card

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

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You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points. These points convert at 1:1 into Avios.

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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.

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

Comments (85)

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

  • M Jones says:

    For anyone who has flown or had dealings with LATAM Airlines, they will glad to see the back of them. Awful service, awful punctuality and almost impossible to obtain refunds, changes or credits.
    Good riddance

  • happeemonkee says:

    O/T Virgin finally confirm clubhouse at Manchester terminal 2 opening in spring 2020. Thank goodness

    • Mr(s) Entitled says:

      Should really become the carrier of choice for those in the NW heading west. Hopefully they can make a few more destinations work.

  • Brian says:

    OT for current VA Reward+ card holders.

    How long does it take for your Reward+ card to arrive from the day of approval?

  • Babs says:

    I just hope QR doesn’t follow suit and leave.

  • Pieter says:

    Does anyone know what happens when you have already booked a LATAM flight on a dat that LATAM has already officially left Oneworld? Does Oneworld protect their passengers with terms and conditions that miles and tier points are still be given if the ticket has been bought before the official day that LATAM made it clear to the bigger public that it leaves Oneworld? If not, can you cancel for free because the product has changed?

    • Nick says:

      No and no. FFP benefits are not part of your contract (which is for travel), so you have no way of enforcing this. You’ll be aware if you read this site even occasionally that companies can and frequently do change the T&C of loyalty programmes at will. LATAM (and BA) will simply say that you can collect points in whatever new programme they implement.

      Also of course, it’s unlikely that anyone who has a booking now will be affected, as the process of extricating themselves from oneworld will take quite a long time. So you don’t even have the ‘it was there when I booked’ excuse.

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

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