Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Before LATAM quits oneworld – an Avios flight redemption to Santiago, Chile with £44 tax

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As we covered on Friday, LATAM – the South American airline – is resigning from the oneworld alliance following a major investment from SkyTeam member Delta.

This means, once LATAM leaves the alliance, it will no longer be possible to earn or redeem Avios with the airline.

With the clock now ticking, there is one excellent Avios redemption with LATAM from Europe which is worth knowing about.

LAN

Chile remains the heart of the LATAM business and is where the airline is headquartered and listed.  British Airways launched direct flights to Santiago in Chile a few 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 new Boeing 787.

Why should you redeem on LATAM instead of British Airways?

Whilst it is great that you can 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 £355 of taxes plus either 70,000 Avios (peak) or 45,500 Avios (off-peak) for a return flight. 

Booked at ba.com, Madrid to Santiago, flying on LATAM, prices out at 62,000 Avios plus £44 in 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 than the BA alternative 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 185,500 Avios plus £44, compared with 175,000 or 210,000 Avios plus £589 on BA from London.

There is also a competing daily Iberia service from Madrid to Santiago.  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.  The LATAM option will be better value in most cases.

For reference, Business Class on Iberia between Madrid and Santiago is 150,000 Avios peak / 102,000 Avios off-peak return plus £168. (Do not book Iberia flights via ba.com as the taxes are at least double.)  Seats on this flight in Business Class are readily available, unlike the LATAM one.

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.

LATAM has a one year notice period to leave oneworld so, even if notice has already been served, you still have time to sneak one of these in.


HFP-Barclaycard-Avios-Card

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)

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

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

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

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

35,000 Avios (ONLY to 21st February) and the famous annual 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & four airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.

SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

Get a 30,000 points bonus, worth 30,000 Avios, until 4th February 2023 Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

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.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a £200 Amex Travel credit every year Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

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

Comments (36)

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

  • Mario says:

    Can I still redeem some flights with Latam? Or is there an exit-date? I’m planning a 3 months trip next year in South America and planning to get some flights using avios.

  • Liam says:

    OT — I rang up to cancel my Gold credit card earlier as it’s just entered the second year (my 10,000 bonus points from year one have posted) and was offered 20,000 bonus points if I kept the card and spent £4,000 in the next three months. Given this period will include Christmas and I have a few flights to book in the coming weeks, this seemed like an easy one to say yes to.

  • Fenny says:

    Curses! I was looking at some LATAM flights for my trip in 2021. Will have to think of alternatives now.

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

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