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Delta and LATAM win final approval for joint venture; frequent flyer enhancements expected

Sept. 30, 2022
3 min read
Delta and LATAM win final approval for joint venture; frequent flyer enhancements expected
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Look for Delta to soon offer an enhanced relationship with its South American partner, LATAM.

The U.S. Department of Transportation granted final approval on Friday to the Atlanta-based carrier's joint venture with its South American partner, LATAM. LATAM has operations focused in Chile, Brazil and a number of other countries on the continent.

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With the new partnership, Delta and LATAM will split revenue on flights between the U.S. and Canada and South America. The deal comes with antitrust immunity, meaning that the two airlines will be allowed to coordinate on schedules and fares in those markets.

“Delta’s partnership with LATAM will help grow the market between North and South America and provide significant and much-needed benefits for customers, and we applaud the DOT for this final approval,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a statement. “Now, we’ll get to work with LATAM to transform the travel experience for our collective customers and create new opportunities for our employees.”

Friday's news is not a surprise; DOT had granted tentative approval to the deal in June, and there was very little that could have derailed the deal since then.

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More: Delta and LATAM's joint venture is tentatively approved by DOT

Still, Delta's pilot union had raised questions about one section of the joint venture agreement that was removed, that dealt with the proportion of new flying that Delta would be able to add. In its decision, the DOT disagreed with the union, the Air Line Pilots Association, and said that an increased amount of flying from LATAM would indirectly add more Delta flying, too.

Friday's news culminates a process that began nearly three years to the day. In September 2019, LATAM shocked the airline world by ditching its U.S. partner American Airlines and leaving the Oneworld alliance in order to partner with Delta. For its part, Delta purchased a 20% stake in the airline, which it recommitted to during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite LATAM's bankruptcy under Chapter 11 of the U.S. bankruptcy code. LATAM is expected to exit Chapter 11 later this year.

Already, Delta and LATAM passengers can take advantage of a codeshare, as well as reciprocal frequent-flyer program benefits. Delta promises more enhancements from the JV in the months to come.

Alliance shake-up: Shocker! Delta to take 20% stake in LATAM, which will leave Oneworld Alliance

If you fly Delta: Best Delta credit cards of October 2022

Featured image by ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY
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.

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  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
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Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more