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Any tricks for buying intra-Brazil airfare/award tickets?

Any tricks for buying intra-Brazil airfare/award tickets?

Old Oct 10, 17, 10:46 pm
  #1  
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Any tricks for buying intra-Brazil airfare/award tickets?

I'm putting together a travel itinerary for Brazil that will likely require a domestic flight or two. Buying domestic airfare in South America is often "interesting," with some airlines and countries charging foreigners much more for these tickets than locals. Is this ever the case in Brazil, and are there any workarounds? In Chile, for example, you simply change your location to "Chile" on the LATAM website and the domestic fares usually go down dramatically.

While the prices showing up on Kayak and Momondo don't seem particularly high for internal Brazil flights, I am finding some strange prices. Like some connecting flights are dirt cheap, when nonstops can be 3x. Is this common in Brazil?

I am also thinking of redeeming miles for the flights. AA and BA have a domestic Brazil award for 7500. Seems like a good deal, but LATAM availability seems scarce and completely random. Like Friday and Sunday availability can be much better than midweek travel. Peak times can have seats and off-peak times no seats. I even called AA today to confirm the availability I was seeing on the BA site (AA doesn't display LATAM award seats) and BA's strange inventory seems to be accurate.

Any other interesting award redemptions? UA seems to have decent availability on Avianca, but at 12,500 miles, it's not much of a deal.

I'm also wondering about baggage allowances. I'm likely to have a rollerboard and a small additional item with me: aka, standard USA carry-on. Do Brazilian airlines typically allow this much carry-on?
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Old Oct 11, 17, 7:19 am
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I fly a lot internally within Brasil, and I consider my points too valuable to use on these short flights. So I pay for them, but it's in Reais after all.

Yes, non-stop flights are more expensive, normally only R$3-800 Reais more though for the most recent ones I bought. But, in my experience the itineraries for cheaper connecting flights are not worth the trouble. After all you can spend R$400 in a high end restaurant here, so it's not like the $100 USD that this amount converts to in fares (or whatever) is a deal breaker, versus a 3-6 hour time difference in flights, at odd hours. I won't fly from Rio to Brasilia or Belo, etc, and then onward to Natal to save that amount. YMMV.

The locals here I know avoid LATAM for everything. Just a small data point.

GOL is preferred in my experience.

Last 6 times I flew GOL in 2016 (Salvador, Natal, Porto Seguro) you were not permitted to do carry on luggage. It had to be checked. Buy their PE fare. Last year it was like R$40 per seat ($12 USD).

Never noticed the website thing you mention about Chile, but I always set my billing location as Brasil by default, so I wouldn't have anyways.

Having said the above, booking a ticket from say Canada to Brasil is a lot cheaper by roughly 15-25% than by booking the exact same itinerary from Brasil to Canada.Go figure........

My advice, fly non-stop on GOL, and book the tickets thru their website with your CC.

Boa sorte.

Last edited by KDS777; Oct 11, 17 at 9:49 am
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Old Oct 11, 17, 4:47 pm
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Well, KDS777, I took your advice and bought seats on GOL. The flight time was the most convenient for me, too.

My flight was slightly over 650 miles, so BA Avios wasn't so cheap. As you know, there are a lot of discounted fares in Brazil and, it would seem, they're easily available to foreign travelers (unlike, say, some airline/country policies in Chile, Argentina and Peru).

I have "Tariffa Light" -- I have a US credit card that offers travel credits, and they can only book the lowest fare (which is this class). Tariffa Light DOES seem to include carry-on: a normal sized suitcase at normal weight. Does anyone know if you can also take a USA-sized "personal item" along? The website is silent on this. Also, I'm wondering how strict they are with carry-on in general (like will they weigh my bag to make sure it's not over 10 kg?). Thanks.
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Old Oct 11, 17, 5:30 pm
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Personal items are fine. Never had an issue with the wife's stuff or myself. Never had my bags weighted or sized either.

I guess they changed their carry on policy to your benefit on their fares......we were surprised last year, and thought the carry on rule was a make work project to keep the ramp rats employed.

Last edited by KDS777; Oct 12, 17 at 8:31 am
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Old Oct 11, 17, 6:51 pm
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Originally Posted by KDS777 View Post
Personal items are fine. Never had an issue with the wife's stuff or myself.
Never had my bags weighted or sized either.

I guess they changed there carry on policy to your benefit or their fares......we were surprised last year, and thought the no carry on rule was a make work project to keep the ramp rats employed.
Thanks. Unlike the US carriers, which charge a lot for carry-ons, I think it's only something like US$12 to check a suitcase on GOL if you buy it online. That said, if the carry-on rules aren't (over) strictly enforced, I don't need to (or want to) check a bag.
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Old Oct 15, 17, 11:12 am
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GOL has very good availability for DL miles IME.
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Old Oct 15, 17, 8:40 pm
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Originally Posted by MSPeconomist View Post
GOL has very good availability for DL miles IME.
Interesting. I did an online search of intra-Brazilian awards and that one didn't come up. How many miles do they require for such flights?

My airfare was only about US$125 and I had some points from my US Bank Altitude card, which values points at 1.5 cents for airfare. So the tickets were about 8000 points. It probably doesn't pay to use airline miles at those prices (although an under 650 Avios flight might still make sense, if you don't mind LATAM).
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Old Oct 15, 17, 8:45 pm
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Originally Posted by iahphx View Post
Interesting. I did an online search of intra-Brazilian awards and that one didn't come up. How many miles do they require for such flights?

My airfare was only about US$125 and I had some points from my US Bank Altitude card, which values points at 1.5 cents for airfare. So the tickets were about 8000 points. It probably doesn't pay to use airline miles at those prices (although an under 650 Avios flight might still make sense, if you don't mind LATAM).
Sorry, but I don't remember the price in miles except that it was a pretty good redemption rate compared to what the ticket would have cost in dollars, which IIRC was a lot more than $125 for the flight I needed.
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