The ultimate guide to earning and redeeming TAP Miles&Go
TAP Air Portugal is the flag carrier airline of Portugal and a member of the Star Alliance. The airline uses an all-Airbus fleet to transport passengers to more than 90 destinations in 37 countries across Europe, Africa, North America and South America. If you are a U.S.-based traveler, it's entirely possible you've barely heard of TAP and may have never considered its frequent flyer program ... until now.
Until now, the Miles&Go frequent flyer program didn't have U.S. bank transfer partners and just had one relevant transfer partner -- the Marriott Bonvoy program. However, Capital One just announced that TAP Portugal was joining their portfolio of transfer partners. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card and Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business cardholders can now convert their miles at a 1:1 ratio into TAPs Miles&Go program and redeem them for flight awards.
The information for the Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Today we’re going to take a look at everything you need to know about TAP Portugal’s Miles&Go program and whether this should become a new option in your points and miles toolkit.
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Earning miles with Miles&Go
The TAP Miles&Go program is a relatively obscure program for U.S. travelers. The simplest way to earn TAP Miles&Go miles will be by flying TAP Air Portugal or its Star Alliance partners or through reward transfers from the Marriott Bonvoy program and now, Capital One.
You can transfer Bonvoy points to most airlines at a ratio of 3:1, including to TAP Portugal.
By transferring 60,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to TAP's Miles&Go program, you’ll earn a 5,000-mile bonus. That results in 25,000 airline miles for every 60,000 Bonvoy points transferred. The other straightforward method to earn Miles&Go miles is by transferring Capital One miles earned from the Capital One Venture Rewards and Capital One Spark Miles Select for Business cards at a 1:1 ratio to redeem for flights.
If you’re looking to boost your Miles&Go balance, the Capital One Venture Rewards Card currently has an offer of 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. This translates into 75,000 miles with the Miles&Go program.
Redeeming miles with Miles&Go
TAP Air Portugal is a Star Alliance member, meaning you can use your Miles&Go miles for flights on the Portuguese flag carrier or any of its alliance partner airlines. This includes popular options such as United, Lufthansa, ANA and more. You can redeem one-way or roundtrip tickets at half the price of a round-trip ticket.
Miles&Go uses two standard zone-based award charts, one for flights directly with TAP Air Portugal and another for partner award flights. Though, in theory, these are fixed-priced award charts, in reality, flights operated by TAP Portugal display variable award pricing, so rates will fluctuate.
The Lisbon-based airline also partners with a few non-alliance partner airlines such as Brazilian low-cost airlines Azul and GOL and Emirates, Azores Airlines, and Capital Airlines.
Note that Emirates, one of the most intriguing partners of TAP Air Portugal, no longer allows its ultra-luxurious first class to be booked with partner miles. However, you can still use Miles&Go miles to experience Emirates business class and no fuel surcharges are imposed on the award.
For example, you could book New York City to Dubai in Emirates business class for 115,000 miles one-way.
There are a couple of things you should be aware of before redeeming your miles with partners, though.
The first is that most redemption rates lag behind some other Star Alliance programs for many awards -- making it uncompetitive as the first place to look for partner awards. The second is that TAP Portugal tacks on fuel surcharges for redemptions on several partner airlines.
Fortunately, there are plenty of airline mileage programs that are better alternatives for booking a Star Alliance awards.
Best Uses for TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go miles
While TAP generally charges more miles than other Star Alliance carriers for most routings, there are a couple of caveats to this general rule.
First, there are a few sweet spots within TAP’s program, including the U.S. to South America in business class. Second, because TAP miles are often sold for cheap (around a cent apiece during sales), it could be worth buying miles even if award rates are slightly higher than other programs. Plus, since TAP is now a transfer partner of Capital One, you can mix and match both buying miles and transfers, depending on your needs.
For all redemptions, be aware of pesky fuel surcharges with certain partner carriers, such as Lufthansa, Austrian, Swiss and Asiana. Here are some decent awards you can book with the TAP Miles&Go program.
One-way U.S. to South America for 50,000 miles in business
Here is TAP’s published award chart for Star Alliance carriers originating from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean (one-way, business class).
One of the best uses of Miles&Go miles is flying from the U.S. to anywhere in South America — including countries further south in latitudes such as Brazil, Argentina and Chile. Typically, programs require more miles for “deep” South America but not so with TAP Miles&Go.
Here’s an example of how you can fly one-way from Newark (EWR) to Sao Paolo, Brazil in United Polaris business for 50,000 miles and $36.60 in taxes and fees. For the 50,000 miles rate to show, you will need to search for saver business class availability with United.
One-way U.S. to Europe for 80,000 miles in business
Another solid redemption is a one-way business class seat from the U.S. to Europe for 80,000 TAP Miles&Go miles. Again, choose your carrier wisely as some -- such as Lufthansa -- can charge hundreds of dollars in additional fees.
Some Star Alliance airlines to look for that avoid those fees are flights operated by United, Air Canada and Avianca.
The TAP Air Portugal Miles&Go program is suddenly much more relevant to U.S. travelers now that it's a transfer partner to a few popular Capital One cards.
With TAP Air Portugal being a Star Alliance member, the miles earned (or transferred into) the program can be redeemed for award flights on both TAP and Star Alliance partners. While other Star Alliance programs may often offer better value in terms of award flight redemptions, there are a few noteworthy uses of TAP’s Miles&Go program that can get you decent value and that makes it a program worth being aware of now that there's a new way to earn miles you can transfer to the program.
Additional reporting by Chris Dong.