Right now there is a ton of First Class award space available on American Airlines flights to Santiago, Chile for 2015.
I flew First Class on American Airlines to Buenos Aires two years ago. The flight and bed were comfortable, though the service was uninspired. American Airlines First Class is not an aspirational use of miles compared to these fancy partner First Classes you can book with AA miles, but if you want to go to South America, this is one of the nicest ways to do it. Read my full review of American Airlines First Class.
Normally First Class award space on American Airlines to South America is tough to snag. For instance, it is very difficult to find First Class award space to Buenos Aires other than within one month of travel.
New York to Buenos Aires First Class for the next month
Buenos Aires to Miami First Class for the next month
But Gary Leff flagged an equipment swap on American’s Miami to Santiago route in mid-April that sees a First Class cabin added with plenty of award space.
First Class Award Space to Santiago
From mid-February to mid-March, there is no First Class cabin between Miami and Santiago, and the Business Class cabin has no award space.
But in mid-April, an older 777 layout with First Class replaces the reconfigured 777 on the route. The older 777 layout is the subject of my trip report above; it features fully flat First Class and angled flat Business Class. The reconfigured 777s got rid of First Class and have flat Business Class.
Immediately after the swap there is award space several days a week in both directions for two people.
Miami to Santiago April and May
Miami to Santiago June and July
Miami to Santiago November and December
One thing I love about flying to South America on a bed is that if you get a good night sleep, you should be able to completely avoid jetlag because of the small or non-existent time difference. The Miami to Santiago flight gives you eight hours to sleep at normal sleeping times.
How Many Miles?
You can book this First Class award space with American Airlines miles, US Airways miles, and British Airways Avios.
- 62,500 American Airlines miles each way plus government taxes. Bookable on aa.com. Zero extra miles to add Saver award space on American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, or LAN Airlines award space within the United States or South America.
- 125,000 US Airways miles roundtrip plus government taxes + $50. Bookable by calling US Airways. Zero extra miles to add Saver award space on American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, or LAN Airlines award space within the United States or South America.
- 75,000 British Airways Avios just for this segment plus government taxes. Bookable on ba.com. Connecting to Miami or to somewhere else in Chile will cost more Avios.
Getting the Miles
American Airlines miles are super easy to get.
Some credit card offers in this post have expired, but they might come back. If they do they will appear –> Click here for the top current credit card sign up bonuses.
Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. The card also comes with other awesome benefits like a 10% rebate on miles used for award bookings.
The business version, the CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, also comes with 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months. This card comes with 2x miles on select business purchases and a 5% miles bonus on renewal. One person can have both cards.
We also know that The US Airways® Premier World MasterCard® will no longer be offered to new applicants as soon as the US Airways and American Airlines frequent flyer programs integrate, some time before 2015. That means that the chance to earn 50,000 bonus miles after first purchase on this card will disappear soon. Check out all the places you can go with just the sign up bonus.
All US Airways miles not redeemed on the US Airways chart by the time of integration will become American Airlines miles, and American Airlines has committed to not devaluing its award chart at the time of combination. The two types of miles are roughly equal in value. Getting all three cards now and meeting their spending requirements means you will have at least 156,000 American Airlines miles by June.