Part III – Getting To South America Using Your TYPs

As I mentioned in the Introduction Post, Citi ThankYou Points (much like all transferable currencies) are great points to stockpile because they are so versatile. Of all the transferable currency options, Citi ThankYou Points are probably the easiest to accrue, so they can be extremely useful for getting you to South America!

Please note, I do not earn a commission off of any of the credit card links contained herein. These referral links are currently the highest publicly available offers and I will always link to the highest publicly available offer for your benefit.  As always, your support by signing up via my referral links is greatly appreciated!

Introduction – Getting To South America Using Your MRs, URs, TYPs or Starpoints
Part I – Getting To South America Using Your MRs
Part II – Getting To South America Using Your URs
Part III – Getting To South America Using Your TYPs
Part IV – Getting To South America Using Your SPG Starpoints

Citi offers a few cards that earn ThankYou Points, including their ThankYou Premier card (which gets a lot of my daily spend due to the great category bonuses for travel and gas). Citi has really been devaluing the ThankYou Point program lately and has made it more difficult to earn TYPs. Citi offers a few other card options that earn TYPs, so I highly encourage you to head over to Citi’s website and check out the options.

Now that you know how to earn the TYPs, the more complicated process is how to use those hard earned TYPs to get you to South America! Your TYPs will transfer to 12 different airlines across all 3 major airline alliances. Those airlines include:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Air France/KLMSkyTeam1:1Up to 2 days
Garuda IndonesiaSkyTeam1:1Up to 2 days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:1Same day
Malaysia AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 days+
QantasOneWorld1:1Up to 2 days
QatarOneWorld1:1Up to 2 days
Eva AirStar Alliance1:1Up to 2 days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:1Up to 2 days
Thai AirwaysStar Alliance1:1Up to 4 days
EtihadN/A1:1Up to 6 days
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:1Up to 2 days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:0.5Up to 2 days

As I said before, the transfer times are just an approximation based upon data points I could find (as well as personal experiences), but it is important to be cognizant of these transfer times when you are planning your award booking(s).

Also keep in mind that you should always be looking at the paid ticket prices for tickets through the Citi TYP portal – especially if you are looking to fly economy class – as your TYPs can be redeemed towards a paid ticket.

Another caveat is that although I will be including general advice for getting to South America on your TYPs, your home airport will play an important role in finding availability or determining cost. For example, since Cathay Pacific operates under a distance based award chart, the cost for someone traveling from the North may be higher than the cost for someone traveling from the South. I will also assume for purposes of this post that you would be flying into Lima, Peru (LIM).

Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)

Air France and KLM share a frequent flyer program called FlyingBlue. Since FlyingBlue is a SkyTeam alliance member, you can redeem FlyingBlue miles for travel on Delta, Aeromexico and Aerolineas Argentinas flights. FlyingBlue can be finicky to work with, but they offer some decent value for flights to South America. FlyingBlue divides South America into two separate award zones:

  • South America 1 – Colombia, Ecuador, Peru & Venezuela
  • South America 2 – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile & Uruguay

For roundtrip award tickets between the Continental United States and South America 1, you can expect a cost of 35k miles for economy and 87.5k miles for business class.

For roundtrip award tickets between the CONUS and South America 2, you can expect a cost of 50k miles for economy and 125k miles for business class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. While the economy class rate is right in line with some of the other TYP transfer partners, the business class rates are not very competitive. Accordingly, I would be looking elsewhere for business class tickets.

Garuda Indonesia

Garuda Indonesia’s GarudaMiles program uses a distance based award chart, so your redemption cost will depend on your home airport. Garuda Indonesia is part of the SkyTeam alliance which means you can redeem your GarudaMiles miles for travel on Delta, Aeromexico and Aerolineas Argentinas flights. As Garuda Indonesia does not fly between the U.S. and South America, you would redeem according to their partner specific charts – which are the same for all three of their partners that fly between the U.S. and South America. You can expect the following redemption costs:

  • From the Southeast of the U.S. (ATL) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~75k miles for economy and ~135k miles for business class.

One-way tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates.

Adding to the fact that the redemption rates are actually pretty poor, the process for obtaining your award ticket is probably the worst I have ever seen. First you need to call the Garuda Indonesia call center at 021.2351.9999 to place your award ticket on hold. Then you need to download and complete an award ticket application form which you must take to a Garuda Indonesia sales office, in person, and then go back to the ticket office, in person, to claim your award ticket. So how many sales offices does Garuda Indonesia have in the US? Four. Yes, you read that right. Four. Encino, California, Chicago, Houston and New York.

In short, avoid Garuda Indonesia like the plague for award tickets unless you happen to live in or very near Encino, Chicago, Houston or New York, have a glut of GarudaMiles and do not mind doing a ton of legwork.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Cathay Pacific is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Asia Miles to book American Airlines and LATAM flights to South America.

Cathay Pacific utilizes a somewhat unique award chart in that if you are flying solely on one partner airline, you redeem according to the Asia Miles Award Chart, but if you are flying on more than one OneWorld partner that does not include Cathay Pacific or Dragon Air, you redeem according to the OneWorld Multi-Carrier Award Chart.

For flights operated by a single OneWorld partner from the West Coast (LAX) or the East Coast (JFK) of the U.S. to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 45k miles for economy, 54k miles for premium economy, 80k miles for business class and 120k miles in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at one half of the above quoted rates plus 5k miles (i.e., economy class is 25k miles for a one-way award ticket).

For flights operated by more than one OneWorld partner from the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles for economy, 85k miles for business class and 115k miles for first class.

For flights operated by more than one OneWorld partner from the East Coast of the U.S. (JFK) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles for economy, 80k miles for business class and 105k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are not allowed on partner redemptions that utilize more than one OneWorld partner. It is important to keep in mind that since the Cathay Pacific award chart is distance based, your home airport, destination and routing are going to play a huge part in your redemption cost. What is wild though is the Asia Miles program allows you to make up to 5 stopovers, 2 transfers and 2 open-jaws at either the origin, en-route or at the turnaround point (destination)! That means you could put together an itinerary where you hop all over South America all on one award ticket. Depending on how you routed yourself, that could offer some truly exceptional value.

If you can get the stopovers and open-jaws to work for your itinerary, Asia Miles should be a top contender for you to transfer your TYPs to for your next trip to South America. If you will not be utilizing the stopovers, then I would say there are better options out there for your TYPs.

Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia Airlines’ Enrich program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Malaysia Airlines is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Enrich miles to book American Airlines and LATAM flights to South America.

Malaysia Airlines is another airline that uses a separate award chart for redemptions on their own flights and partner redemptions. As there are no Malaysian Airlines flights between the U.S. and South America, you will redeem according to the partner award chart, which happens to be distance based. For flights operated by partner airlines, your award ticket costs will be as follows:

  • From the Northeastern part of the U.S. (JFK) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~54k miles for economy, ~96k miles for business class and ~132k miles for first class.
  • From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~54k miles for economy, ~96k miles for business class and ~132k miles for first class.
  • From the Southeast of the U.S. (MIA) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~54k miles for economy, ~96k miles for business class and ~132k miles for first class.
  • From the Southwest of the U.S. (DFW) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~54k miles for economy, ~96k miles for business class and ~132k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the half price of the above quoted rates.

While the redemption rates are actually not horrible – especially for economy redemptions, there have been a lot of reports of people experiencing issues when transferring their TYPs to the Enrich program. I would generally steer clear of transferring your TYPs to the Enrich program until Malaysia Airlines gets their IT department up to speed and fixes these issues.

Qantas

Qantas’ Frequent Flyer program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Qantas is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Qantas Points to book American Airlines and LATAM flights to South America.

Qantas uses a separate award chart for flights operated by American Airlines/Qantas and all other partner airlines, so which airline you fly is going to make the difference here. For flights operated solely by American Airlines between the U.S. and South America, you can expect the following redemption costs:

  • From the Northeastern part of the U.S. (JFK) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~56k miles for economy, ~90k miles for premium economy, ~120k miles for business class and ~180k miles for first class.
  • From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~56k miles for economy, ~90k miles for premium economy, ~120k miles for business class and ~180k miles for first class.
  • From the Southeast of the U.S. (MIA) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~45k miles for economy, ~74k miles for premium economy, ~100k miles for business class and ~150k miles for first class.
  • From the Southwest of the U.S. (DFW) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~45k miles for economy, ~74k miles for premium economy, ~100k miles for business class and ~150k miles for first class.

For flights operated by a combination of American Airlines and LATAM, or operated solely by LATAM between the U.S. and South America, you can expect the following redemption costs:

  • From the Northeastern part of the U.S. (JFK) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~85k miles for economy, ~127.5k miles for premium economy, ~170k miles for business class and ~255k miles for first class.
  • From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~85k miles for economy, ~127.5k miles for premium economy, ~170k miles for business class and ~255k miles for first class.
  • From the Southeast of the U.S. (MIA) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~75k miles for economy, ~112.5k miles for premium economy, ~150k miles for business class and ~225k miles for first class.
  • From the Southwest of the U.S. (DFW) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~75k miles for economy, ~112.5k miles for premium economy, ~150k miles for business class and ~225k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the half price of the above quoted rates. Remember that you will be charged for carrier imposed surcharges, which should not be very much on American Airlines and LATAM flights. It is also worth noting that as of right now, there are no routes that offer a premium economy cabin. That will change as American takes delivery of more of their 787-9 aircraft and deploy them on their South America routes, so I have included those redemption costs here for future reference.

Unless you are based out of a southern hub, are looking to fly economy class and can find a direct flight to your desired destination, Qantas’ redemption costs are extremely high – especially for premium cabins. So unless you have a glut of Qantas miles that you want to burn, you are better off transferring your TYPs elsewhere for a redemption to South America as Qantas offers one of the poorer values out there among TYP transfer partners.

Qatar

Qatar’s Qmiles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Qatar is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Qmiles to book American Airlines and LATAM flights to South America. Qatar uses a separate calculator for flights operated by Qatar, so if you wanted to route yourself via Doha (DOH), your are better off using Qatar’s award ticket calculator. For flights operated by partner airlines, your award ticket costs will be as follows:

  • From the Northeastern part of the U.S. (JFK) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~75k miles for economy, ~112.5k miles for premium economy, ~150k miles for business class and ~225k miles for first class.
  • From the West Coast of the U.S. (LAX) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~85k miles for economy, ~127.5k miles for premium economy, ~170k miles for business class and ~255k miles for first class.
  • From the Southeast of the U.S. (MIA) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~60k miles for economy, ~90k miles for premium economy, ~120k miles for business class and ~180k miles for first class.
  • From the Southwest of the U.S. (DFW) to Lima (LIM), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~75k miles for economy, ~112.5k miles for premium economy, ~150k miles for business class and ~225k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the half price of the above quoted rates. It is also worth noting that as of right now, there are no routes that offer a premium economy cabin. That will change as American takes delivery of more of their 787-9 aircraft and deploy them on their South America routes, so I have included those redemption costs here for future reference.

Again, and as with Qantas, unless you have a glut of Qmiles you want to burn, you are better off transferring your TYPs elsewhere for a redemption to South America.

EVA Air

EVA Air is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Infinity miles for Air Canada, United, Avianca or Copa flights to South America. In other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

EVA Air is one of several airlines that utilizes a separate award chart for EVA Air redemptions and for partner awards. As EVA Air does not fly between the U.S. and South America, you would redeem your miles under the partner award chart, which places all of South America into the same award zone.

Under the partner award chart, a roundtrip redemption between the U.S. and South America will cost you 68k miles for economy, 130k miles for business class and 170k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are available at half of the above quoted rates. It’s important to keep in mind that EVA Air requires that you make your Star Alliance award ticket booking(s) through their reservation office. Unless you are dead set on flying a Star Alliance carrier to South America, I would look elsewhere to transfer your TYPs. In the case you are dead set on flying a Star Alliance carrier, Singapore Airlines is your better option for your TYPs.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your KrisFlyer miles for Air Canada, United, Avianca or Copa flights to South America. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

Singapore Airlines is one of several airlines that utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards. As Singapore Airlines does not fly between the Continental United States and South America, you would redeem according to the Star Alliance partner award chart. Under the partner award chart, all of South America is contained within one zone.

For roundtrip partner redemptions between the CONUS and South America, it will cost you 60k miles for economy, 100k miles for business class and 140k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates.

Overall, Singapore Airlines is surprisingly decently competitive for redemptions to South America. There are definitely better redemptions to be had elsewhere with your TYPs, but the Star Alliance footprint is greater in South America, so the KrisFlyer program does present a strong option to consider if award space is hard to find elsewhere.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Royal Orchid Plus miles for Air Canada, United, Avianca or Copa flights to South America. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

Thai Airways is another airline that uses a separate award chart for redemptions on their own flights and partner redemptions. As there are no Thai Airways flights from the U.S. to South America, you will redeem according to the partner award chart, which places all of South America in the same award zone.

A roundtrip redemption will cost you 60k miles for economy, 105k miles for business class and 140k miles for first class.

It is worth keeping in mind that Thai Airways levies fuel surcharges on award tickets and from all the reports I have seen, they are crazy high. Considering that EVA Air should have access to most of the same Star Alliance award space that Thai Airways has access to, you are better offer transferring your TYPs to EVA for this redemption unless you have a stash of Royal Orchid Plus miles that you are looking to burn, and/or you do not mind paying exorbitant surcharges.

Etihad

Although Etihad is not a part of any major airline alliance, they do have several strategic partnerships with airlines such as Gol and American Airlines. Gol has recently terminated all of their routes to the United States though, so American is your only viable partner option when redeeming Etihad miles for a trip to South America. Interestingly, Etihad uses the pre-devaluation AAdvantage award chart still, which divides South America into 2 zones:

  • South America 1 – Colombia, Peru & Venezuela
  • South America 2 – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay

For flights between the Continental United States and South America 1, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 35k miles for economy, 60k miles for business class and 80k miles for first class. As you will not find a 3-cabin aircraft on American routes between the CONUS and South America 1, only business class redemptions will be available.

For flights between the CONUS and South America 2, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 40k miles (off-peak)/60k miles (peak) for economy, 100k miles for business class and 125k miles for first class. Off-peak dates are March 1st through May 31st and August 16th through November 30th.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. If you are looking for award tickets to South America, Etihad offers some pretty good value provided you can find American Airlines sAAver space available.

To redeem for any partner awards you have to contact the Etihad service center at 888-8ETIHAD at least 14 days prior to the intended date of travel.

Virgin America

From what I can tell, Virgin America does not offer any partner redemptions between the U.S. and South America. While you could potentially piece together multiple partner award tickets, it simply is not worth the hassle and frustration given the high taxes and carrier imposed fees that Virgin America passes on. You are better off looking elsewhere for TYP transfer partners that can get you to South America.

Virgin Atlantic

From what I can tell, Virgin Atlantic does not offer any partner redemptions between the U.S. and South America. While you could potentially piece together multiple partner award tickets, it simply is not worth the hassle and frustration given the high taxes and carrier imposed fees that Virgin Atlantic passes on. You are better off looking elsewhere for TYP transfer partners that can get you to South America.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the TYP transfer partners offer a lot of options for finding award availability to South America. Hopefully this guide has helped to shine a little light on how to utilize and maximize your TYPs for a trip to South America!

What is your favorite way to redeem TYPs to get to South America?

Be sure you get all the latest content from the Jet Set Blog first by entering your e-mail address in the upper right hand corner of this page! Also be sure to like the Points Jet Setter on Facebook and follow @ThePointsJetSet on Twitter!

1 thought on “Part III – Getting To South America Using Your TYPs

Leave a Reply