Any travel within South America inevitably involves some travel on LATAM Airlines, as it is the largest airline in South America and part of the Oneworld Alliance. Being part of the Oneworld alliance enables partner mileage award redemptions from American Airlines, British Airlines, and Qantas, as well as from non-Oneworld members such as Alaska Airlines. Many of their long haul routes include the modern Boeing 787, which is my preferred plane to travel on.
The Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has pretty decent redemptions rates on LATAM Chile (Formally LAN Airlines) flights. LATAM Brasil (Formally TAM Airlines) is not currently integrated into the Alaska Alines Mileage plan, however this is something Alaska is working on for the future.
For flights within South America, the economy redemption rate is 12,500 miles and business class is 25,000 miles. For shorter distance routes, it is better to use British Airways miles on LATAM Airlines since redemptions rates are lower.
An additional bonus to the Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is the ability to add stopovers on the same award flight at no extra mileage cost, even on one-way flights. I was not able to find any award availability on a connecting flight since I booked too close to the date of travel. I suggest to take advantage of the stopover benefit, book far in advance when there are more awards available.
LATAM Airlines 576
Santiago (SCL) to Bogota (BOG)
Seat: 4D and 4H
Aircraft: Boeing 787-8
The flight from Santiago, Chile to Bogota, Columbia was about six hours. So, the ability to have use the business class lounge, priority boarding/exiting, and taking a nap on a lie flat seat is totally worth the extra 12,500 miles.
While the seats appeared a bit cheaper due to being made of cloth, they were actually well padded and very comfortable. Additionally, there was a huge amount of leg room without that annoying small foot well found on other business class seats. The seats had a full width foot rest, which makes the seat feel more like a bed when in the lie flat position.
While not as open and airy as the A350, the 787 still had an open atmosphere with very quiet engines providing a comfortable ride. The air pressure levels are enhanced on the 787 which makes a big difference on flights lasting over 3 hours. On arrival I did not have the usual headache or dry eyes. Also, the 787 has very large windows which adds to the open atmosphere of the plane.
Service was prompt, friendly, and available to service business class passengers. The food came out soon after reaching cruising altitude and took about 15 minutes to have all the meals served to business class passengers. We were periodically asked if we needed anything during the course of the flight.
The salad, sandwiches, wine and desert were very flavorful and satisfying. The main entrees of tenderloin and gnocchi looked better than they tasted. The local wines from Argentina and Chile were great.
In conclusion, LATAM Airlines is part of the Oneworld alliance making award bookings easy with several award partnership options available. Their long haul fleet includes some modern airplanes such as the 787 which provides enhanced comfort while flying with great legroom and comfortable lie flat seats. Best of all, award redemptions are reasonable using Alaska Airlines miles and for short haul flights, using British Airways Miles.
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