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Incredible TAM First Class Award Space to Brazil and Beyond

by on February 7, 2014 · 13 comments

in star alliance, TAM

TAM, the flag carrier of Brazil, is currently in Star Alliance, but is leaving on the same day as US Airways (March 31, 2014). This is certainly a blow for those with Star Alliance miles, but TAM has always been stingy with releasing first and class availability. However, my friend Fabio who writes the Brazilian blog, PassageirodePrimeira.com (First Class Passenger), recently discovered that TAM is releasing a ton of first class award space to partners. (Check out this tour of their new 777 first class from airlinereporter.com – looks snazzy!)

TAM first class, courtesy of airline reporter.com

TAM first class, courtesy of airlinereporter.com

To search for award space that is available to partners, you can use Aeroplan.com or the ANA search tool. Once you find space, you can book via Star Alliance partners or other airline partners like American Airlines:

Aeroplan.com is showing the award space and the taxes/fees are low

Aeroplan.com is showing the award space, and the taxes/fees are low.

This couldn’t have come at a better time because I need to go to a charity event in Sao Paulo in April and paid flights are expensive and saver award flight availability is scarce. Plus, I’ve never flown TAM and I have 105,000 orphan ANA miles sitting in my account that I’ve been looking to use. Lucky for me, it is only 100,000 miles from Miami to Sao Paulo roundtrip in first class, so I was able to book a trip on the exact dates I wanted, though the $219 in taxes/fees was a little bit annoying. However, they they did waive the $25 booking fee since I had no choice but to call in.

ANA search was easy to navigate

ANA search was easy to navigate

The exact flights I just booked would have cost $5,312, so I still feel good about the redemption! FYI ANA’s website could not price the taxes appropriately, so after I booked the flight I had to call in to their US Service center to have an agent calculate the taxes and send the reservation for ticketing.

Weird ANA error

Weird ANA error

Also, note that American Express to ANA transfer can take up to two days, so this deal may not be around in time to transfer Amex to ANA. Amex to Aeroplan transfers are usually instantaneous.

Readers have noted that there is also plenty of availability in mid-June through mid-July, right when the World Cup will be taking place, so that’s good news for anyone hoping to get down there to catch some games.

Here are some of your mileage options if you want to book a first class TAM award yourself.

American Airlines: Has an earning/redeeming partnership with TAM in advance of TAM joining one world. North America to deep South America is 62,500 each way for first class (one-ways permitted). Must call to book.

Aeroplan: 135,000 miles roundtrip per Aeroplan’s partner chart.

ANA: I booked my roundtrip Miami-Sao Pauolo for 100,000 miles roundtrip. Booking from NYC would have been 120,000. One-way awards price at the roundtrip level. American Express Membership Rewards transfers usually go through instantly.

United: 70,000 miles one-way for partner first class travel from the US to deep South America. Must call to book since TAM first class does not show online.

US Airways: 125,000 miles roundtrip for first class North America to South America. Must call to book. One-ways price at the roundtrip level.

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  • ExpatRan

    I just called AA to check first class award availability to both Rio and Sao Paulo using AA miles and the agent kept coming back with 125k one way awards on TAM. Let me know if anyone has better luck using AA miles on TAM. I was looking for the second week in March, may have been a factor.

  • j midtown

    That 777 FC Cabin looks AMAZING. Almost a nice change from the pods that everyone is going to.

  • thepointsguy

    Call back and get a smarter rep. TAM awards definitely aren’t 250k roundtrip- even for peak. It’s either saver or nada

  • james

    can i use tam jfk-eze?

  • YUL

    even wide open during world cup!

  • ExpatRan

    Thanks, she didn’t seem so sure of it herself so I’ll call back and push a bit harder.

  • Heather L. Cannady

    Which Amex partner transfers immediately? I think you say Aeroplan in the body and ANA in the details.

  • Nick

    Does this apply to multicity travel as well via US or UA?

  • Diotallevi

    I’ve got a boat load of US Airways miles and I’ve been looking to burn some soon, and I’m also looking for a vacation destination for this fall and Brazil is on the short list. I think I’ll check this out. Thanks for the info!!!

  • Secretary Toaster

    Aeroplan. ANA takes like two days

  • Robert

    Shoot, there are actually flights to GRU right around the World Cup final game. I’d only need to purchase a separate GRU-GIG-GRU flights. If only there were still tickets for the actual game available.

  • Sheila

    how soon should I book tickets to Brazil (I’m going there for world cup in June)? I’m looking to book Boston to Salvador, Brazil.

    For AA, it seems like $60K minimum, but I can call AA rep to use AA miles for flights within Brazil/South America?

  • BrazilianGringo

    Thanks TPG, I managed to grab the last seat (only four per cabin!) to upgrade from a 1-stop coach Copa award that I had with United JFK-GRU to direct, in F with TAM for only 12.5K more miles! During World Cup season, too!

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