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This is a great enhancement and one I wish I knew about a couple weeks ago before I bought expensive intra-Brazil flights. Per this press release, Delta is now partners with GOL, which is basically the Southwest Airlines of South America. They operate a fleet of 737s and operate coach-only flights. They move over 40% of domestic Brazilian travel, so the addition of this partner is a significant enhancement to the Skymiles program. Most trip reports indicate that they are very no-frills, with tight seat pitch. However, they run an efficient operation and have generally newer, clean planes.
As with most non-Skyteam partners, award tickets will have to be booked by Delta phone agents, so doing your research beforehand will be ncessary as I expect they won’t be well trained on this new addition (considering booking Alitalia flights with them can be a royal challenge). GOL is also a partner with American Airlines, but their partnership is new and there are not many reports of people redeeming miles for GOL flights, so I’m not sure what their award availability is like. Expertflyer.com does list GOL award availability, so I’m going to hope what shows there will be what i smade available to Delta.
Also, if you haven’t done so already, sign up for triple miles on GOL until February 28, 2011.