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Deal alert: Amazing award prices to South America for early 2021

April 09, 2020
6 min read
World Cup - Brazil
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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until later into 2020 – and even then be mindful of cancellation policies.

While the team at TPG is sheltered-in-place, many of us have our heads up in the clouds thinking about that next trip. While American still publishes an award chart, many of the best (and worst) mileage rates have been off-the-charts — literally. American's Web Special awards have been particularly lucrative opportunities to maximize your AAdvantage miles.

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The latest American deal opens the door to incredible opportunities to visit South America this winter. Eager to experience Carnival in Rio? What about a trip to Santiago and an adventure onwards to Patagonia?

And since we're talking about destinations in the Southern Hemisphere, you'll experience the summer peak period when days are long and the air is warm.

The deal to South America

To get the best mileage rates to South America, book for travel in early 2021. We're talking about destinations such as Santiago, Buenos Aires, São Paolo and Rio de Janeiro.

  • Airline: American Airlines
  • Where: Various U.S. cities to major South American cities where American operates
  • When: Early 2021 including during Carnival
  • How much: From 30,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip in economy and from ~80,000 AAdvantage miles round-trip in business class. Save up to half the normal "MileSAAver" rate on these flights for the peak travel season to destinations throughout South America

Sample itineraries

New York-area airports to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Feb. 2021 during Carnival: 30,000 miles round-trip in economy

Head to Carnival from 30,000 AAdvantage miles roundtrip

New York-area airports to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) in Feb. 2021 during Carnival: 82,000 miles round-trip in business class

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New York-area airports to Santiago (SCL) in Jan. 2021: 30,000 miles round-trip in economy

Wide open 15,000 AAdvantage miles one-way from New York to Santiago
Lots of availability for 15,000 AAdvantage miles one-way between New York and Santiago, Chile

Los Angeles (LAX) to São Paolo (GRU) in Feb. 2021during Carnival: 30,000 miles round-trip in economy

How to book

The easiest way to book is directly through American's website. American has a newer award booking tool that, while a bit slow, has a handy calendar view option that can be sorted by class of service and number of connections.

Remember, Web Special fares with American cannot be changed but you can redeposit miles for a fee (unless you are an Executive Platinum which has the fee waived).

Related Reading: How to avoid change and cancellation fees

Note that there may be other cities with even lower fares, so you can also use American's handy Award Map tool. Enter your home airport, dates, number of passengers and total miles you want to use. You can even specify premium cabins only. From there, the map will display which destinations are available within those parameters.

Earning extra American miles

In the coming weeks and months, there are bound to be more mileage deals that come our way. There are a handful of ways to earn extra American miles to be ready for when that happens. This includes transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy, dining at a participating restaurant in the AAdvantage Dining Rewards program or shopping through the AAdvantage eShopping portal.

Related Reading: Maximizing online shopping portals

However, one of the quickest ways to earn a healthy stash of American miles is by adding a new credit card to your wallet, and a few of American’s cobranded cards are currently offering lucrative sign-up bonuses:

  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $5,000 within the first three months of account opening.
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 65,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 in purchases within the first four months of account opening.

The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum card and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Bottom line

While the travel industry is hurting now in the current realities, airlines are looking to lure deal seekers in with great cash and mileage deals. This is a prime opportunity to visit South America in 2021 using American miles. Play around with your home airports and additional destinations to see if you can jump on one of these offers.

Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates

Featured image by Getty Images/500px Prime
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.