Best use of miles to Chile?

Old Jan 20, 23, 10:05 am
  #1  
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Best use of miles to Chile?

Hi all,

I'm looking to travel to Chile just after Christmas 2023 through early January 2024. Obviously I'd like to fly J award space since it's a long-haul overnight flight, but my travel dates are not really flexible. Departing sometime 12/26/23 onward and returning on/before 1/6/24.

I will originate in RIC, but can also travel by car to WAS airports or ORF (which will present just as limited options as RIC). What suggestions do you have for making this possible? Since I've only got miles in AA and Alaska, which is the best option to get to SCL?

AA: The award redemption I'm seeing on AA for J seats is outrageous (150k each way is crazy). Would I be better off monitoring Premium Economy on AA and just rolling with the 30-40k each way tickets that I'm have been seeing for early to mid-December going RIC-DFW-SCL.


AS: I'm open to booking an early morning flight from RIC to MIA (arrive 930) or DFW via AA. While it'll be on a separate ticket, most of the flights to SCL appear to depart the US in the evening so that leaves me enough cushion for anything short of a cancellation. Plus, I'd have a large number of hours to hang out in the lounge so it could be worse, I guess. Should I expect J award availability on LATAM via Alaska during the holiday season? All I'm currently seeing is MIA - LIM - SCL or MIA - BOG - SCL with the 2nd one being 'subject to government approval'.

Sorry, I also posted this in the AS forum because I wasn't sure where the best place to post it was.
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Old Jan 20, 23, 12:13 pm
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I'm not sure what dates you're looking at, but I'm seeing availability with AS miles on the LATAM JFK-SCL and MIA-SCL nonstops in mid-December for 45K miles in Business.

That said, that's no indication of what availability will be like over the Christmas/New Year's period. You'll just have to wait a few weeks to see.
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Old Jan 20, 23, 12:21 pm
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It's likely going to be difficult to get AA J award tickets to and from SCL during Christmas/New Years as many Chilean families are traveling to the US then to shop and visit relatives. We got upgraded to Business on AA last year MIA-SCL-MIA, but only with paid Y tickets with cash + miles or an SWU each way, at the gate (MIA-SCL) and 2 days before the return flight.
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Last edited by taxatty56; Jan 20, 23 at 9:12 pm
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Old Jan 20, 23, 12:37 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
I'm not sure what dates you're looking at, but I'm seeing availability with AS miles on the LATAM JFK-SCL and MIA-SCL nonstops in mid-December for 45K miles in Business.

That said, that's no indication of what availability will be like over the Christmas/New Year's period. You'll just have to wait a few weeks to see.
Ah, I should say that I am trying for 2 award seats. I see the direct JFK-SCL and MIA-SCL flights when looking for 1 award, but when looking for 2 award seats, it's mainly MIA-LIM-SCL or something like that.

My dates would be 12/25 +3 days to 1/6 -3 days.
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Old Jan 20, 23, 12:38 pm
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Originally Posted by taxatty56 View Post
It's likely going to be difficult to get J award tickets to and from SCL during Christmas/New Years as many Chilean families are traveling to the US then to shop and visit relatives. We got upgraded to Business last year MIA-SCL-MIA, but only with paid Y tickets with points + miles or an SWU each way either at the gate (MIA-SCL) and 2 days before the return flight.
Gotcha. Yeah, I figured it'd be difficult, but was just trying to figure out if there was a better approach than LATAM with AS miles. Like I said I also have AA miles, but those rates on AA flights are crazy. Just wasn't sure if there was an alternative airline/partnership that I was unaware of.
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Old Jan 20, 23, 1:26 pm
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Hey! I'm PP based in SCL and I fly to the U.S twice a month in average ( generally Miami ) Award redemptions in premium cabins are usually crazy! I usually buy cheap Y tickets and 90% of the time I get upgraded well in advance either using SWU's or miles+ copay. Either on the MIA or DFW flight. If you're willing/able to position I'd say a great tip is to buy your ticket from MCO, TPA or DCA if you are in the east coast. Fares are WAY cheaper than buying straight from MIA, DFW or other big cities in the east coast.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 7:55 am
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I assume that if only 1 award seat shows up on the AS website when searching for JFK-SCL or MIA-SCL that an agent on the phone wouldn't see any additional award seating?

I can see two seats available on JFK/MIA-LIM-SCL, but only one seat on the direct flights. Also randomly seeing two MIA-SCL direct flights on some days - one departing at 1930 and the other at 2120.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 8:14 am
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You might be running into married segment availability issues.
Where you cant go A to B, but you could go C to A to B.

And yes, I believe that MIA has 2 daily flights on select days of the week during high season. They are usually staggered like that by about 2 hours difference.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 4:49 pm
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Deep South America routes to/from USA are in absolutely PEAK season during the Christmas holidays! Tons of families traveling, visiting friends, and people and coming up to the States to shop. Don't expect premium award availability. Buy coach and try to upgrade if you can. I recommend routing via MIA, since that hub has the most flights and therefore the best chances.

If possibly, try to go in early or mid-December (Dec 10-18) or after New Years after school holidays are over--likely more premium award availability then. Basically, try to avoid the peak travel days.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 5:25 pm
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Originally Posted by ESpen36 View Post
Deep South America routes to/from USA are in absolutely PEAK season during the Christmas holidays! Tons of families traveling, visiting friends, and people and coming up to the States to shop. Don't expect premium award availability. Buy coach and try to upgrade if you can. I recommend routing via MIA, since that hub has the most flights and therefore the best chances.

If possibly, try to go in early or mid-December (Dec 10-18) or after New Years after school holidays are over--likely more premium award availability then. Basically, try to avoid the peak travel days.
completely aware. The problem is I work for the school system and my time off is essentially pre-determined. So I work with what Ive got.

im seeing availability everyday at 330 days out. So I think its doable as long as they maintain award availability from Christmas onwards.
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Old Jan 24, 23, 6:39 pm
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I *think* they load a handful of "web special" seats @ 330 days as a default, and those are priced pretty nicely. Once those are gone, it goes dynamic and the cost starts flowing with their algorithms.

I say this after just booking some LAX-SCL tickets for Nov 2023, booking travel at about 320-ish days out..... I looked back at the same flights a few days after booking ours and saw the miles cost had increased by about 50K, up from the "web special" pricing we had locked in.

Just 1 DP for that particular destination, but I think keeping a close eye on the availability as they open up @ 330 days is your best bet.
Book something at a price you are good with, and then check every week to see if things have gotten cheaper - you can always cancel and re-book if they miraculously become a better deal.
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Old Jan 25, 23, 10:01 pm
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I booked SCL-DFW-MKE 10 months in advance and got it for 45k miles on AA metal in Flagship Business class. You have to book very far in advance and be super flexible on your dates using the calendar search.
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