This series is about figuring out which one of your miles or points transfer partners is the best miles program to use for redeeming flights to specific regions. And with South America, redeeming miles is easier as for once we don’t have to worry about fuel surcharges. However, it does open up award program options that we normally wouldn’t use because of fuel surcharges.
If you want to see the posts in this series so far, here are the other links:
- Cheapest Miles to Hawaii
- Cheapest Miles to Caribbean
- Cheapest Miles to Europe
- Cheapest Miles to East Asia
- Cheapest Miles to India / Middle East
Chart of miles prices to South America
The thing to know about the prices before looking at the chart is that South America is almost always broken up into two regions, the northern half and the southern half. The problem is that different award charts divide north and south differently. Most commonly award charts have Chile and Argentina as “southern South America”. But sometimes Paraguay, Uraguay, and Brazil will be in the southern half as well.
If you’re looking at a trip to Brazil or Paraguay, make sure you don’t just assume it’s the lower half; check the award chart.
Most of the time the range in price will be north to south.
However, sometimes there will be exceptions or off-peak prices. I’ll list the exceptions in prices below the charts.
|AA||30k – 60k||60k – 100k||OneWorld||SPG|
|Alaska||30k – 60k||60k – 125k||SPG|
|Alitalia||35k – 50k||60k – 75k||SkyTeam||Amex MR, SPG|
|Air France||35k – 50k||87.5k – 125k||SkyTeam||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|United||40k – 60k||70k – 110k||Star Alliance||Chase UR|
|Avianca||40k – 60k||80k – 120k||Star Alliance|
|Korean Air||50k||110k||SkyTeam||Chase UR|
|Air Canada||50k – 60k||75k – 95k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|Singapore||60k||100k||Star Alliance||Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG|
Distance Based Programs
|BA Avios||25k||75k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|ANA*||38k*||63k*||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|LAN||48k – 54k||100k – 108k||OneWorld||SPG (1:1.5)|
|Asia Miles||60k||80k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
|ANA*||60k*||90k*||Star Alliance||Amex MR, SPG|
|BA Avios||70k||210k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Chase UR, SPG|
|LAN||70k – 120k||150k – 280k||OneWorld||SPG (1:1.5)|
|Asia Miles||85k||115k||OneWorld||Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG|
* = ANA changed their award chart, so these needs updated. Will do when I return from the Great Firewall of China.
AA off-peak to Southern South America
One of the best deals to Southern South America is AA’s off-peak price which brings the price for a oneway down from 30,000 AA miles to 20,000 AA miles.
- Mar 1 – May 31
- Aug 16 – Nov 30
AA off-peak to Northern South America
Surprisingly a lot of people don’t realize that AA has an off-peak to Northern South America but it doesn’t get quoted because it’s not on their OneWorld award chart.
That’s because this off-peak price is only for flying American Airlines.
- Jan 16 – Jun 14
- Sep 7 – Nov 14
Alaska has different prices with different partners
As shown in Alaska’s Award Chart, the amount of Alaska miles you pay depends on who you fly. But the best prices seem to be flying on AA. And Alaska mimics AA’s award chart in that it will have the exact same prices and off-peak times if you fly on AA.
When using LAN “Kilometers”, awards on LAN flights are priced out by region, and flights on OneWorld partners are distance based. Barely worth mentioning since it’s rarely used, but the LAN awards were cheaper. Also, the transfer from SPG is more generous for LAN Kilometers, as 1 spg point transfers to 1.5 LAN Kilometers.
The Latin Hopper
The basics would be that it’s only 10,000 United miles to go from one region to another in Latin America (with exception to Southern South America). To go from northern Mexico to Northern South America as a roundtrip would be 20,000 miles.
Why do this?
Because United allows 1 stopover and 2 open-jaws. One of the many possible variations could be the following route:
Cancun, Mexico – Galapagos Islands, Ecuador – Lima, Peru – San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Starts in Cancun and ends in San Juan and has two stops (a stopover and the destination) along the way. The entire trip would be 20,000 miles.
After you include the oneways to Cancun and returning from San Juan, all in all, it would be about the same price as a trip to Peru would be in the first place if you’re taking the Southwest Companion Pass down.
See more here: Latin Hopper with United Miles
Best Miles to South America
One thing to note is that for the few programs that consider South America one region, like Singapore and Lufthansa, the prices aren’t that bad for Southern South America. 60,000 miles is a lot to Peru, but it’s par for the course when going to Chile. Or better yet, Korean, which is only 50,000 miles to all of South America.
Best miles to northern South America
The best prices to the top half of the continent seem to be the following:
- AA’s off-peak using 30,000 AA miles or Alaska miles
- AA’s regular price using 35,000 AA miles or Alaska miles
- 35,000 Flying Blue miles
- British Airways Avios from OneWorld hubs
Best miles to southern South America
- AA’s off-peak using 40,000 AA miles or Alaska miles
- 50,000 Flying Blue miles
Then there’s always the Latin Hopper mentioned above as well.