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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.

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.)

LAN

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.

(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.)

Comments (36)

  • 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.