This is one of the best kept secret. LAN Airlines (a South American Airlines) has an excellent frequent flyer award structure for short-haul non-stop award flights. Plus note that LAN does not charge any fuel surcharge on any award tickets on any airline. LAN is part of the OneWorld alliance. If you fly any of the OneWorld Airlines, it is possible to earn miles, or in this, kilometers on LAN’s frequent flyer program.
As noted above, LANs frequent flyer currency is Kilometers and not miles. What that means is, effectively, all of your flown miles are converted to Kilometers at 1.6 times the number of miles. Thus, if you are flying AA from Chicago ORD to Delhi DEL round-trip, you will earn 7,483 miles each way when crediting to AA for a total of 14,966 AA miles. However, if you are crediting those flights to LAN’s frequent flyer program, called LANPASS, you will earn 12,044 Kilometers each way for a total of 24,088 LAN Kilometers.
When choosing to credit miles or kilometers to a particular frequent flyer program, it is always important to know which fare class class earns full miles or kilometers in which program. Thus, lets take a look at LAN’s earning structure. As can be seen from this earnings table, if you are flying AA, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Mexicana (not functional, for now), Alaska Airlines or Aeromexico, you will earn 100% flown Kilometers regardless of paid booking class. However, for other Airline partners, you may want to take a closer look at this earning table.
Lets take a look at LAN’s award redemption structure. I will primarily be focusing on the “good deals” for awards in LANPASS program and ignore the other regular awards. Here is LAN’s award chart for international LAN flights only. Keep in mind, the numbers listed in the table are in Kilometers and not miles. And the kilometers listed are for round-trip flights on LAN. I have attached a corresponding table showing the figures in miles (rounded to nearest whole number) for easier comparison with other Airlines (I will leave this comparison exercise up to our readers). And here is LAN’s award chart for LAN flights within Argentina, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.
Now, lets looks at LAN’s OneWorld Airlines and Affiliate Airlines table which has all the hidden good deals. Some important points to keep in mind before you review the table:
- The numbers listed here are in Kilometers.
- These awards can be issued as round-trip only. One-ways are not permitted. Open-jaws and stopovers may be allowed (except on Iberia, Malév, Royal Jordanian and S7 Airlines where stopovers are not allowed).
- The numbers are only for ONE-WAY amounts for each leg (i.e., a flight segment). Thus, you need to assign the Kilometer numbers for each flight in your itinerary and then add them up to arrive at the total Kilometers needed for your round-trip award.
I have attached the same award table in miles for easier comparison with American Airlines in this post and for other OneWorld Airlines’ award levels as it may apply for various readers of this post.
Based on the above listed rules for these awards in addition to other rules, we can see that for North America Awards, short distance non-stop flights within 1,250 miles each way are a better deal using LAN awards. These awards using AA or Alaska Airlines miles typically require 25K AA miles for round-trip. And as we are talking about non-stop flights, these further make sense for travelers who are primarily based in one of the AA or AS hub areas like Chicago, Dallas, New York, Miami, Raleigh-Durham, Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland and Anchorage. As the table shows, the lowest number of required miles for a round-trip non-stop flight is 8,000 which is truly an awesome value.
Some of the sample city pairs include:
- Anchorage-Alaska Interior
- MIA-Key West
- Los Angeles-Los Cabos, Mexico
- Chicago-Washington DCA
- New York-Raleigh
You will get the best value from these awards when you are flying to/from interior cities which are not served by low cost carriers like Southwest Airlines, JetBlue and Frontier. This is because, a lot of times, fares on these non-low cost carrier routes can be $500+.
Lets look at the above stated example of ORD-DEL-DEL round-trip paid flight on AA that earns you ~15,000 AA miles or 24,000 LAN Kilometers. If crediting to AA, 15,000 miles will get you one one-way flight within US or Canada, regardless of distance or connections or number of segments. But when crediting to LAN, you will get nearly 2 round-trip, non-stop flights on AA or AS. And these flights could be worth $500+ each, thus giving you a return worth $1,000+. A cheap ORD-DEL-ORD can be had for ~$1,000-1,100. Maximize your value!
So, if you fly short distances non-stop flights to/from the AA or AS hubs, might want to consider crediting your AA, CX, QF, AS, AM to LANPASS in order to avail of these fantastic award redemptions.
Another fantastic value if transferring your SPG points to LANPASS as the transfer ratio is 1:2. Thus each SPG transferred gets you 2 LANPASS Kilometers. Plus when you transfer in blocks of 20,000 SPG points, SPG adds 5,000 SPG points bonus transfer. This means 25,000 points are transferred and you will effectively get 50,000 LANPASS Kilometers into your LAN account. I will talk more about this in one of the upcoming posts.