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Low tax/fee flights to Colombia

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  • cinereus

    Looking at going to Colombia for a month or two in January. Are there any even remotely good redemptions? My main priority is as low fees component as possible. I don’t mind spending more miles/points at all.

    I can fly IB J from MAD direct to BOG for about 85k points and £225 which is reasonable but are there any other schemes that can compete with this? I’m happy to fly into any of BOG/MDE/CLO and positioning to any major European hub is no more hassle than MAD. I’d prefer not to go via the US.

    I know in general that South America has always been pretty poor but is this really the best available?

    SamG

    Turkish Airlines is 52500 miles on Avianca and v low fees out of Spain. Can transfer in from Marriott. Tricky to book though – painful via the call centre. Madrid sales office may assist though (and pay via Wise / Revolut – if they ask if you’ve a Spanish bank account just say yes as these would be fine). Or buy Lifemiles – they’ve a sale on at the moment I think

    Air France / KLM would be about the same I think as Iberia. Lufthansa fuel surcharges usually high. Can’t think of any others!

    cinereus

    Thanks.

    I haven’t had any luck getting anyone at Turkish to give me prices so currently have no way to see what the fees actually are. If you are able to see them or have an idea I’d be very grateful.

    KLM/AF is much much much worse than Iberia unfortunately. £476.50 in fees alone and then 175,000 miles(!) versus 85,000. So definitely a no go. Cash equivalent price of fees plus miles is £1351 vs £905!

    So still looking for an option that is able to beat the fees from IB…

    NorthernLass

    Is the MAD-BOG one way or return?

    cinereus

    MAD-BOG with IB is 85,000 and £225 return.
    42,500 each way and £111.30 out £134.90 back.

    Perhaps that’s as good as I’m going to get without a fuel dump…

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    SamG

    Turkish charge you the same as a cash ticket so you can check ITA Matrix for a one way flight, was around €50 earlier this year

    KLM/AF I had only looked coming back from Colombia but it was very last minute so they were releasing seats around 85k miles and the T&F was reasonable coming in that direction

    cinereus

    Turkish charge you the same as a cash ticket so you can check ITA Matrix for a one way flight, was around €50 earlier this year

    KLM/AF I had only looked coming back from Colombia but it was very last minute so they were releasing seats around 85k miles and the T&F was reasonable coming in that direction

    Thanks, I’ll check Turkish though I had zero luck on the phone getting them to even admit the flights exist.

    KLM and AF were the roughly same fees for me in both directions when I looked: £220-250 so more than double IB.

    SamG

    Yes, it’s virtually impossible. I’ve always booked via a sales office via email (and found Madrid very helpful with a refund matter)

    You can check the availability on United.com

    Londonsteve

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    Alas this isn’t true. AMS is experiencing dire problems with staffing at the moment, the queues are legendary. It’s an expensive and fairly long train ride on Eurostar. CDG makes more sense to take the train, but the airport experience again isn’t great, you’ll have to fly AF which is only ‘good’ in La Premiere and the Eurostar fare these days rivals the HEX for most expensive rail service in the world per mile, unless you book half a lifetime ahead.

    Compare all that to flying directly into the airport you’ll depart from and availing yourself of the wonderful Madrid T4 and the equally wonderful Velasquez lounge, prior to your long-haul sector with a carrier that offers very competitive redemption rates, more frequent departures to Latin America than probably any other European airline and an excellent hard product in J. Service nothing to write home about but the food and drink is fabulous, as per the Spanish tradition. I wouldn’t hesitate for a nanosecond to book myself onto IB via MAD if flying to Colombia.

    memesweeper

    Asia Miles on Iberia is more miles (122,000) but very low in cash charges.

    cinereus

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    Alas this isn’t true. AMS is experiencing dire problems with staffing at the moment, the queues are legendary. It’s an expensive and fairly long train ride on Eurostar. CDG makes more sense to take the train, but the airport experience again isn’t great, you’ll have to fly AF which is only ‘good’ in La Premiere and the Eurostar fare these days rivals the HEX for most expensive rail service in the world per mile, unless you book half a lifetime ahead.

    With respect, I’ve taken Eurostar a few times recently and stand by my original statement. I also object to taking short-haul flights when a reasonable rail alternative exists even if it’s much more expensive.

    Yes, it’s virtually impossible. I’ve always booked via a sales office via email (and found Madrid very helpful with a refund matter)

    You can check the availability on United.com

    Thanks but still had zero luck. Both London and Madrid sales offices have point blank refused to even look up the flights let alone book them.

    I’m starting to think M&S partner redemptions are simply impossible.

    Londonsteve

    With respect, I’ve taken Eurostar a few times recently and stand by my original statement. I also object to taking short-haul flights when a reasonable rail alternative exists even if it’s much more expensive.

    With respect, I find it peculiar that someone is looking for the lowest cash fees on a redemption while simultaneously happy to patronise Eurostar’s expensive rail service. If your aversion to short haul flying is related to its environmental impact, the effects of flying J on a long-haul service are far more consequential than sitting in an economy seat on a short haul connecting flight, such that the positive environmental benefit of taking the train is washed away by flying in J across the Atlantic.

    SamG

    Just a shame as obviously much more pleasant to get the train to CDG or AMS than fly to MAD.

    Alas this isn’t true. AMS is experiencing dire problems with staffing at the moment, the queues are legendary. It’s an expensive and fairly long train ride on Eurostar. CDG makes more sense to take the train, but the airport experience again isn’t great, you’ll have to fly AF which is only ‘good’ in La Premiere and the Eurostar fare these days rivals the HEX for most expensive rail service in the world per mile, unless you book half a lifetime ahead.

    With respect, I’ve taken Eurostar a few times recently and stand by my original statement. I also object to taking short-haul flights when a reasonable rail alternative exists even if it’s much more expensive.

    Yes, it’s virtually impossible. I’ve always booked via a sales office via email (and found Madrid very helpful with a refund matter)

    You can check the availability on United.com

    Thanks but still had zero luck. Both London and Madrid sales offices have point blank refused to even look up the flights let alone book them.

    I’m starting to think M&S partner redemptions are simply impossible.

    Some of the US offices are pretty responsive (San Fran or Houston in my experience). The couple of times I’ve done it I’ve sent a mail to a few in BCC. They say you need a credit card with a US billing address but I just sent the front of my Amex (which doesn’t identify itself as a UK one on the front) and made up a US address. But yes, it’s pretty tricky!

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