Best points/miles transfer to LATAM?

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Old Nov 6, 17, 4:54 pm
#1
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ymx

Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 120
Best points/miles transfer to LATAM?

New to international award bookings and wanting to book a R/T from NYC/BOS to GIG.

Any recommendation on the best use of transferable points/miles to LATAM from:
  • AA miles
  • Amex MR Points
  • Citi TY Points
  • Chase UR Points
  • Marriott/SPG Points

Thanks!
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Old Nov 7, 17, 3:13 pm
#2
Cpi-Web Evangelist

Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: home = LAX
Posts: 20,944
Originally Posted by ymx View Post
New to international award bookings and wanting to book a R/T from NYC/BOS to GIG.

Any recommendation on the best use of transferable points/miles to LATAM from:
  • AA miles
  • Amex MR Points
  • Citi TY Points
  • Chase UR Points
  • Marriott/SPG Points

Thanks!
You can't transfer from most of those to LATAM at all.

You can use AA miles to book LATAM flights (if LATAM has partner availability showing on BA and/or QF), but you can't transfer AA miles to LATAM.

The only one of those that I think you can transfer to LATAM from is SPG points (and keep in mind that SPG may stop existing a year or so from now, due to its merger with Marriott, and we don't know if Marriott will continue to support transfer to the much bigger partner list that SPG had or not).

Indirectly, you can turn 3 Chase UR points into 1 LATAM mile (UR:Marriott 1:1, Marriott SPG 3:1, SPG: LATAM 1:1), but that's a fairly poor transfer ratio, isn't it? (Given that you can transfer Chase UR 1:1 to United and use United miles for Copa flights to South America.)

So this all only works if you already have enough SPG points.

But if you have enough AA miles, and you find partner availability on LATAM, you can use the AA miles without transferring them.. You'll have call, though, you can't do it online at aa.com.

A convenient way to look up LATAM availability to partners for FT members is Award Nexus (awardnexus.com). Click "more signup options" under the green Purchase button to sign up using your Cpi-Web login info. You then can certain number of free searches every 90 days (the number of searches is inversely proportional to the complexity of the searhces). For LATAM availability, you can select either BA and/or QF. (Selecting both will double the points "cost" of the search, but occasionally one works and the other doesn't. I usually just select QF.)

To use any one of the others, you'd have to transfer to another oneworld alliance airline. But at least for business class, BA has a much worse redemption chart to South America than AA has, and all the other oneworld airlines you could transfer to have horrid (non-extendable) expiration policies, so if by the time you transfer the LATAM flight you wanted is no longer available, you'd risk losing all of them to "hard" expiration a couple years later.

And, in fact, a similar thing can happen at LATAM (if you transfer from SPG). If you find you can't book the award you wanted after all, then LATAM kms/miles/points expire in 3 years unless you take a paid LATAM flight during that time (which resets it for another 3 years).

So by far the safest way is to use AA miles if you have more than enough of them.

Last edited by sdsearch; Nov 7, 17 at 3:22 pm
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