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Machu Picchu, the Nazca Lines, Lake Titicaca, the Amazon… Peru has some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Not only that, but its capital, Lima, has developed one of the hottest restaurant scenes in the world.

With so much to do, see and eat, the time is right to visit Peru. Here’s how to get there using your airline miles.

There’s so much to see, do and learn in Peru, like traditional weaving in the Sacred Valley. Photo by Eric Rosen.

Airlines That Fly to Peru

If you’re flying to Peru from the US, you’ll have almost certainly have to fly to Lima (LIM), unless you’re taking an unnecessarily circuitous route. Here are the major airlines currently flying there from North America either nonstop or with just one stop to the capital.

  • Aerolineas Argentinas flies from New York (JFK) and Miami (MIA) to Buenos Aires (EZE), from which you can continue on to Lima.
  • Aeromexico flies from various US airports to its hub in Mexico City (MEX) and on to Lima from there.
  • Air Canada flies to Lima from its hub in Toronto (YYZ) four times weekly and from Montreal (YUL) on Sundays and Wednesdays.
  • Avianca operates flights to Lima from its hubs in Bogotá (BOG), San José (SJO) and San Salvador (SAL).
  • American Airlines flies to Lima from Dallas (DFW) and Miami (MIA).
  • Copa flies from the US to Lima via its hub in Panama City (PTY).
  • Delta operates a nonstop flight to Lima from its hub in Atlanta (ATL).
  • JetBlue operates a nonstop from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Lima.
  • LATAM flies to Lima from Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA) and New York (JFK).
  • Spirit also flies from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL).
  • United flies from both Houston (IAH) and Newark (EWR) to Lima.

Mileage Table

First, let’s look at the various miles and points you can use and the airlines to which they apply that you might be interested in flying to Lima.

Miles/Points Transfer and Airline Partners Miles Needed Round-trip
Alaska Mileage Plan Aeromexico, American Airlines, LATAM, Starwood Preferred Guest ·Economy: 40,000-60,000
·Business: 60,000-90,000
American AAdvantage American Airlines, LATAM, Starwood Preferred Guest ·Economy: 35,000-40,000
·Business: 60,000
Avianca Lifemiles Avianca, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Copa, Starwood Preferred Guest, United ·Economy: 30,000-40,000
·Business: 60,000-80,000
British Airways Avios American Express Membership Rewards, American Airlines, Chase Ultimate Rewards, LATAM, Starwood Preferred Guest ·Economy: 25,000-50,000
·Business: 75,000-150,000
Delta SkyMiles Amex Membership Rewards, Aeromexico, Delta, Flying Blue, Starwood Preferred Guest ·Economy: 45,000+
·Business: 80,000+
Flying Blue Aeromexico, American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Delta, Starwood Preferred Guest ·Economy: Variable
·Business: Variable
JetBlue True Blue American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards ·Depends based on airfare
United Mileage Plus Avianca, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Copa, Starwood Preferred Guest (2:1), United ·Economy: 40,000
·Business: 70,000
American Express Membership Rewards Aeromexico, Air Canada Aeroplan, British Airways, Delta, Flying Blue, JetBlue
Chase Ultimate Rewards British Airways, Flying Blue, United
Citi ThankYou Rewards Avianca, Flying Blue, JetBlue
Starwood Preferred Guest Aeromexico, Alaska, American, Avianca, British Airways, Delta, LATAM, United (2:1)

 

Once you get to Lima, you can take cheap flights around the country on Avianca, LATAM and Peruvian Airlines.

Airline and Mileage Options

Now let’s focus on the airlines with the most convenient options from the US (sorry, Aerolineas Argentinas!) and discuss how to use your miles to fly them to/from Lima.

Here they are in alphabetical order.

1. Aeromexico

Thanks to the number of flights it operates to the US, Aeromexico can be a great choice for getting to Lima. Image courtesy of Aeromexico.

There are a few reasons to consider this SkyTeam carrier for your trip to Lima. First, it flies to several major US gateways including: Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Dallas (DFW), Detroit (DTW), Houston (IAH), Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Orlando (MCO), San Antonio (SAT), San Francisco (SFO) and Washington Dulles (IAD).

While most of these flights are operated on old 737s with recliner-style business-class seats, one daily flight from JFK is operated by a 787 (and sometimes the LA route gets one, too) with nicer business-class seats (though not the newest ones aboard the 787-9s).

From Mexico City (MEX), it flies three daily nonstops to Lima aboard 737s. Because of the number of US gateways, your chance of finding an award is usually better than on some other airlines, and availability on the MEX-LIM leg tends to be pretty open.

Where to search: I’d suggest using Delta.com to search for SkyTeam availability since the search engine is much better about pulling in partner awards than in years past. However, I was hard-pressed to find many Aeromexico awards using the site at the time of writing (mid-2018), which was rather unusual, and the engine seemed to favor finding higher-level awards on Delta itself rather than on partners. But if you find individual flight segments with award availability on Aeromexico, like the one below from New York-JFK to Mexico City and an onward connection to Lima, you can call into Delta and ask an agent to book it and waive the phone booking fee.

Miles to use: Delta is your best bet here and it’s a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards as well as Starwood Preferred Guest (and for each 20,000 points you transfer from SPG, you get a 5,000-mile bonus). The rates using Flying Blue miles could be better…theoretically. Unfortunately, Flying Blue’s phone agents seem to have little to no access to Aeromexico award space based on several phone calls I made to their mileage desk armed with individual segment awards I’d found on Delta.com.

Though Delta removed its award charts from its site back in 2015, it’ll cost you the following miles at the lowest level:

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • Business: 80,000 miles

Your other option is Air France/KLM Flying Blue, which is a transfer partner of all four major transferable points programs. Before you get your hopes up, the program just switched over to a revenue-based model and the redemption rates are illogical, to say the least. Not only that, but whereas before you could search for awards a month at a time, you now have to do so day by day. I would instead suggest searching on Delta.com, and then trying to find matching award space once you’re logged in to your Flying Blue account on the Air France or KLM sites.

The lowest business-class redemption I could find on Aeromexico for the next year was 50,500 miles each way.

As for economy awards, they should price out at 20,000 miles each way, but I could not find any that were solely on Aeromexico, so something might be going on with award space on the airline for the moment.

2. American Airlines

American flies 757s and 767s to Lima. Photo courtesy of AA.com

American flies two daily nonstops to Lima from its hub in Miami (MIA). One is aboard a 757 and one is aboard a 767, both with fully lie-flat seats. It also operates a daily nonstop from Dallas (DFW) using another 757.

Where to search: For awards on American itself, the airline’s own site is the best place to search for award availability, though you can also us BritishAirways.com and AlaskaAir.com.

Miles to use: You have a couple choices here including American’s own AAdvantage program, Alaska’s Mileage Plan and even British Airways Avios.

American’s off-peak dates for this region on are January 16 – June 14 and September 7 – November 14, and it will charge you the following amount of miles round-trip:

  • Economy: 35,000 miles off-peak, 40,000 miles peak
  • Business: 60,000 miles

Here’s a sample off-peak award.

And here’s a sample business-class award.

The airline’s AAdvantage program is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest, as is Alaska’s Mileage Plan, which will charge you…

  • Economy: 40,000 miles
  • Business: 60,000 miles

Unfortunately, Alaska and American are not the close partners they once were, and there are no longer off-peak awards using Alaska miles, but you can still use Mileage Plan miles for awards on American, like the one below.

Now for the interesting option. American is a Oneworld partner with British Airways. BA’s award chart is distance-based, so longer flights or those with multiple segments will cost you more miles. However, American’s flights from Miami to Lima will cost the following amount of Avios round-trip, which can be a real bargain.

  • Economy: 25,000 Avios
  • Business: 75,000 Avios

From Dallas to Lima, the amounts are:

  • Economy: 40,000 Avios
  • Business: 120,000 Avios

That economy award is still decent, but the business-class one less so. The only thing is, award availability on BA’s site is not matching up to what you will find using AA.com, so you might have to search for awards first, then call the BA mileage desk. When I did so, they were able to see the same awards I’d found on American and Alaska’s sites, but had to book them for me by phone.

3. Avianca/TACA & Copa

Avianca is another great option for getting to Lima if you don’t mind making a stop or two.

I’m grouping these two airlines together because they’re both members of Star Alliance and both fly to several airports in the US and on to Lima via hubs in Bogota (BOG), Panama City (PTY) San José (SJO) and San Salvador (SAL).

To be honest, I wouldn’t call these options great since they’re all on either smaller aircraft with recliner-style seats or, in the case of Avianca, on some A330s with older, angled seats. Avianca does fly its newest aircraft, the 787, with lie-flat seats on one daily flight to Los Angeles (LAX) and it does sometimes get swapped in for the A330 on one of the airline’s two daily non-stops from New York (JFK).

Where to search: For Star Alliance awards, your best search engines are likely Aeroplan’s or United’s.

Miles to use: Unfortunately, Aeroplan considers Peru to be part of southern South America, so the mileage redemption rates are pretty bad (110,000 round-trip for business class). Instead, you should use United miles, which you can transfer from Chase Ultimate Rewards if you have a card like the Chase Sapphire Reserve.

United will charge you the following miles for round-trip tickets from the US to Peru.

  • Economy: 40,000 miles
  • Business: 70,000 miles

Here’s a sample award on Copa with availability in both economy and business.

And here’s a different award on the same day on Avianca/TACA.

Another option that stands out here is using Avianca’s own Lifemiles. You might not think of the program every day, but it is now a Citi ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partner, and often offers buy-miles bonuses that could make it worth it.

Award rates vary by route and distance, but you can look up the numbers on the Lifemiles calculator page for Avianca’s own flights, or here for its award rates on its Star Alliance partners. In general, though, they range within the following numbers for flights from various US hubs.

  • Economy: 30,000-40,000
  • Business: 60,000-80,000

For instance, this award search came up with saver-level availability on Avianca’s own flights from New York (JFK) to Lima (LIM) via Bogotá (BOG) and San Salvador (SAL) for 16,500 miles one-way in economy and 37,500 in business.

Meanwhile, you could think about using ANA miles since you can transfer both American Express Membership Rewards or Starwood Preferred Guest points to the program, but you’ll be paying 55,000 miles round-trip in economy or 80,000 in business, so you’re better off with United or Avianca.

4. Delta

Delta flies a 767 from Atlanta to Lima daily. Photo by Eric Rosen.

Delta operates a single daily flight to Lima from its hub in Atlanta (ATL) using a 767-400ER with just your average economy seats, and its usual Delta One lie-flats in a staggered 1 – 2 – 1 front-facing configuration. So you don’t have many choices, but award availability is there, so you might want to consider it.

Where to search: Using Delta.com is probably easiest to find awards like this one in economy.

And this one in business class.

Miles to use: Delta’s transfer partners include both Amex and SPG, and you’ll need the following amount of miles:

  • Economy: 40,000-50,000 miles
  • Business: 80,000-150,000 miles

The reason I’ve included ranges is because Delta seems to be shifting its SkyMiles program to a more revenue-based redemption system, so we’re likely to see mileage requirements go up as the redemption rates begin to reflect the paid airfares on these routes. For reference, at time of writing in May 2018 and for the next year, redemption rates only went as low as 46,000 miles round-trip in economy from the US to Lima and 136,000 miles in business class even though they used to be lower.

That’s why you might also want to think about using Flying Blue miles at the following rates (which is what they’re pricing out now, but this might change as Flying Blue’s new revenue-based award redemptions work out the kinks.

  • Economy: 20,000 miles
  • Business: 50,500 miles

What’s more, the Flying Blue search engine seems to be pulling in more saver-level award availability on Delta flights on some days than Delta’s own search engine, so you’re better off booking there for the time being. Especially considering Flying Blue is a transfer partner of all four major transferable points programs: Amex, Chase, Citi and SPG.

Here’s a sample economy award on Delta from Washington Dulles (IAD) to Lima.

And one from New York JFK to Lima via Atlanta in business.

 

5. JetBlue

JetBlue flies from Ft. Lauderdale to Lima.

You might be surprised to see JetBlue on this list, but the carrier has been flying its route from Ft. Lauderdale (FLL) to Lima since 2013. Unfortunately you won’t find JetBlue’s Mint business class on this route, but the flight is only six hours, so you might not mind.

Where to search: JetBlue.com

Miles to use: Although TPG only values JetBlue points at 1.3 cents apiece, the great thing about using JetBlue True Blue points is that you can redeem them for any available seat on the plane just like paying for airfare. Only you’re using points instead. That means that the higher the airfare, the more points you’ll need, but that last-seat availability can definitely be worth it.

Not only that, but TrueBlue became a Citi ThankYou Rewards transfer partner in 2016. If you have the Citi Prestige or Citi ThankYou Premier, your transfer ratio is 1,000 Citi to 800 True Blue. If you have the Citi ThankYou Preferred or Citi Forward that ratio is 1,000:500 instead. There are even occasional transfer bonuses.

Airfares on the route run about $440 round-trip:

Using True Blue points, you’ll be paying 24,800 points.

You’re getting an average value of about 1.5 cents per point with this particular itinerary.

6. LATAM

LATAM flies from several US cities to its hub in Lima.

Now for the big one. LATAM is the result of the merger between LAN and TAM, so now it’s the major player in South America. It currently flies nonstops from Lima (LIM) to Los Angeles (LAX), Miami (MIA), New York (JFK) and Orlando (MCO). Most flights are operated by 767s, though one of the LA daily flights is aboard a 787 and the Orlando flight uses an A320. The 767s and 787s have lie-flat beds in business class, though the 787s have newer interiors (obviously).

Where to search: You won’t find LATAM award space on AA.com or Alaska’s site, so your best option is on British Airways’ site.

Miles to use: Like flights on American, your best mileage choices for awards on LATAM are going to be Alaska Mileage Plan, American AAdvantage miles, or British Airways Avios, depending where you’re coming from.

American’s mileage round-trip requirements look like this:

  • Economy: 40,000 miles
  • Business: 60,000 miles

British Airways award requirements will depend both on the number of segments and the distance you’re flying thanks to the airline’s unique award charts. As mentioned above, BA’s award chart is distance-based, so longer flights or those with multiple segments will cost you more miles. However, here are the round-trip amounts for awards between Lima and Miami:

  • Economy: 25,000 Avios
  • Business: 75,000 Avios

Versus those from Los Angeles to Lima:

  • Economy: 50,000 Avios
  • Business: 150,000 Avios

So you can see, where you’re flying to/from makes a huge difference. Remember, these are just the nonstop redemption levels. If you have more segments, you’ll need more Avios since they’ll price out as separate awards.

If you want to use Alaska miles, it’ll cost you the following amounts round-trip.

  • Economy: 50,000 miles
  • Business: 90,000 miles

7. United

United flies 757s and 767s down to Lima from Houston and Newark.

United operates a daily nonstop flight from its hub in Newark (EWR) to Lima (LIM) until mid-August then drops down to four days a week aboard a 757, and a daily nonstop from its other hub in Houston (IAH) aboard a 767. Both have lie-flat business-class seats.

Where to search: You can use United.com to look for availability on its own flights.

Miles to use: As noted in the Avianca/Copa section, your best bet for Star Alliance awards to South America is likely United miles, especially because it’s an instant Chase transfer partner.

I won’t lie, award availability on United’s own flights is quite tight. I did not see any saver business-class awards available between either Newark or Houston and Lima for the next several months, but that might change. If you do find awards, they will cost you the following amount of miles round-trip.

  • Economy: 40,000 miles
  • Business: 70,000 miles

Here’s a sample economy award from Houston to Lima:

You could use Avianca miles as well, but given how much rarer United awards on these routes seem to be than Avianca awards, you’ll have a hard time searching and booking.

Bottom Line

Flight options from the US to Peru are a little more limited than to some other regions in the world. However, there are still plenty of great ways to get down there, both in terms of the airlines that do fly to Lima as well as award availability and the various kinds of miles you can use to fly them.

Feature photo by Jesse Kraft / EyeEm / Getty Images

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