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How to fly to Argentina with miles (award charts for Chase, Amex, Citi points)

by on Wed July 5, 2017 • No Comment
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Argentina has a lot to offer no matter where your interests lie – from big cities and museums, to beaches, to adventure-lite (but beautiful) Iguazu Falls, to extreme hiking and climbing in Patagonia.

No matter how you like to spend your vacations, Argentina has something for you.

It’s possible to find reasonably priced flights into Buenos Aires and occasionally to Iguazu, but if you want to explore more, spending miles is a good option.

There are many route options to get to Argentina from the US.

Nonstop flights are available from…

  • New York – Buenos Aires (Aerolineas Argentinas, American, United)
  • Dallas – Buenos Aires (American)
  • Houston – Buenos Aires (United)
  • Atlanta – Buenos Aires (American)
  • Miami – Buenos Aires (Aerolineas Argentinas, American)

You can also fly connections with other airlines like LATAM, AeroMexico, or Copa.

Keep in mind that if you are trying to fly somewhere other than Buenos Aires, you may need to call in to your airline of choice in order to book your award.

Most short haul flights out of Buenos Aires leave out of the domestic airport near the city center, AEP, while long haul flights arrive at the main international airport, EZE. Many search engines won’t be able to handle the airport change from the international airport, EZE, to AEP very well, so searching separately or calling can help you find more options.

Best bets with Chase, Amex, or Citi Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards and its transfer partners offer a handful of good redemption options for flights to Argentina.

Booked With… Fly With… Economy Class Price (RT) Business Class Price (RT) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
Korean Skypass Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico 50,000 110,000 1:1 Instant
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico 50,000 125,000 1:1 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer United, Copa, Avianca 60,000 100,000 1:1 Instant
British Airways Avios* American, LATAM 70,000+ 180,000+ 1:1 Instant
Delta SkyMiles Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico 70,000+ 200,000+ 1:1 Instant

*Distance Based Program: Price depends on routing and length of flights. Price based on LAX – EZE.

Korean Skypass and Air France Flying Blue tie for the lowest price if you want to fly in economy, letting you fly Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, or Aeromexico for 50,000 miles roundtrip, with decent award availability.

Flying Blue is an easier program to work with than Korean. You can book one way awards for half the price of a roundtrip using Flying Blue, while Korean only lets you book round trip awards. But, Korean has a lower price for business class awards.

If you want to fly in business class, your best bet is a redemption with Singapore KrisFlyer.

You can route through Panama City with Copa, redeem for United flights, or fly through Bogota on Avianca, though Copa flights don’t have lie flat seats in Business Class. 

American Express Membership Rewards

American Express Membership Rewards offer a good number of airline transfer partners that are useful for flights to Argentina. A couple of them are also partners of Chase Ultimate Rewards which give you the ability to pool your points into one program if you don’t have enough Membership Rewards for your entire redemption.

Booked With… Fly With… Economy Class Price (RT) Business Class Price (RT) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
ANA Mileage Bank
United, Copa, Avianca 55,000 88,000 1:1 2-3 Days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico 50,000 125,000 1:1 Instant
Delta SkyMiles Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico, Gol
60,000 – 70,000+ 150,000 – 180,000+ 1:1 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer United, Copa, Avianca 60,000 100,000 1:1 1-2 Days
Air Canada Aeroplan United, Copa, Avianca 60,000 110,000 1:1 Instant
United Mileage Plus
United, Copa, Avianca 60,000 110,000 – 120,000 (after 11/1/17)
1:1 Instant
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles* American, LATAM 60,000+ 115,000+ 1:1 1-7 Days
British Airways Avios* American, LATAM 70,000+ 180,000+ 1000:800 Instant

*Distance Based Program: Price depends on routing and length of flights. Price based on LAX – EZE.

In terms of which option is the best, ANA Mileage Club, which gives you access to Star Alliance airlines like United, Copa, and Avianca, offers the lowest price for business class redemptions and a very good price for economy class redemptions.

Additionally, Star Alliance generally has the most generous routing options allowing you to route through Panama City on Copa, San Salvador or Bogota on Avianca, and of course, United’s flights.

Tip: The downside is transfers of Amex points to ANA miles can take days, and there’s no way to hold the award space while you transfer points.

Air France Flying Blue, which lets you fly Delta, Aeromexico, or Aerolineas Argentinas, has the advantage of low prices for economy class and instant transfers.

You could also connect to your international gateway on Alaska Airlines, however these connections don’t price out online so you’ll need to call and book over the phone.

Citi ThankYou Points

Citi ThankYou Points don’t offer as many transfer partners that are applicable for flights to Argentina as the other major transferable points currencies and you’ll also notice that almost all of the transfer partners overlap at least one other program, with the only exception being Qantas.

Booked With… Fly With… Economy Class Price (RT) Business Class Price (RT) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Delta, Aerolineas Argentinas, Aeromexico 50,000 125,000 1:1 2 Days
Singapore KrisFlyer United, Copa, Avianca 60,000 100,000 1:1 2 Days
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles* American, LATAM 60,000+ 115,000+ 1:1 24 Hours
Qantas Frequent Flyer* American, LATAM 84,000+ 168,000+ 1:1 2 Days

*Distance Based Program: Price depends on routing and length of flights. Price based on LAX – EZE

Citi ThankYou points really come in handy if you have points with another program but not quite enough for your redemption. ThankYou points will allow you to pool more miles into Air France/KLM Flying Blue, Singapore KrisFlyer, or the Cathay Pacific Asia Miles program.

As far as award redemptions go, Flying Blue offers the best price if you want to fly in economy while Singapore KrisFlyer offers the best price for business class redemptions.

Asia Mile’s prices are competitive, but their award chart is significantly more complicated; if you’d like to read more about redeeming Asia Miles, check out our full guide.

Using Qantas miles will rarely, if ever, make sense considering that you have access to the same flights via Cathay Pacific’s program and will end up paying less miles with Cathay.

Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska Mileage Plan offers a pretty unique award chart. They have different prices for each partner, but only allow flying one partner plus Alaska’s own flights on a single award itinerary.

LATAM and American Airlines are the only Alaska partners with flights to South America.

Alaska’s one partner rule basically means that if you’re using LATAM Airlines for part of your trip, like from Los Angeles – Lima – Buenos Aires, you can only get to the LATAM flight in Los Angeles using an Alaska Airlines flight.

This might sound like it’s way too much work to work around, but for the price and the ability to make a stopover on a one-way award it can be a pretty small price to pay.

Since Alaska charges different amounts of miles depending on the partner you’ve decided to book with, let’s take a look at the different prices available for flights to Argentina:

Booked With… Fly With… Economy Class Price (RT) Business Class Price (RT)
Alaska Mileage Plan
American 40,000 – 60,000 100,000
Alaska Mileage Plan
LATAM 50,000 – 60,000 90,000


If you can work with Alaska’s rules, you’ll be rewarded when it comes to paying for your flights – especially if you want to travel in business class.

These are some of the lowest prices available from any program.

In economy, you’ll pay a different number of miles depending on whether it is “peak” or “off-peak” season. During off-peak times, you’re saving miles compared to most other programs, but even during peak season you’re paying about the average.

Tip: Low awards on LATAM are available from March 15 – June 30 and August / October/ November.

Low awards on American are available from March 1 – May 31 and August 16 – November 30.

As of now, award redemptions with Alaska Airlines partner Aeromexico are not an option, but if they become an option in the future, you’ll have even more possible routings to look at with your Alaska miles.

americanairlines

American AAdvantage Miles

Of all of the options available to use miles to fly to Argentina, using American AAdvantage miles is perhaps the most difficult.

Not only has American Airlines availability been very tight recently, American also has restrictive award routing rules that really come into play with flying to South America.

American Airlines doesn’t allow transiting a region on the way to a destination that is in a different region, with a few exceptions.

Unfortunately, South America isn’t one of them.

Since American splits South America up into two regions, you can’t transit northern South America on your way to southern South America. That eliminates options like flying through Peru or Colombia to Argentina.

You also can’t transit Central American on your way to South America.

Assuming you can find a route that has availability and obeys AA’s routing rules, you can book your trip to Argentina for 60,000 AA miles in economy or 115,000 miles in business class, round trip. As far as pricing goes, this is pretty middle of the road compared with other programs.

Should You Use Bank Points as Cash Instead?

Using bank points as cash is a solid option, too. If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each when you redeem them for airline tickets.

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred your points are worth 1.25 cents each. American Express cards give you the ability to redeem your points for one cent each toward travel.

The times it would make sense to do this is if flight prices are really low on the dates you want to travel or if there is no award availability for your dates or class of service and you don’t have flexibility.

A major benefit to using your points this way is that you will still earn miles and elite qualifying credit when you purchase your flights.

We recommend that you always compare the number of miles required to transfer and redeem for your ticket and use your bank points as cash and book the option that offers you a better deal.

United MileagePlus® Explorer Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus miles

Intro Offer

$95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Earns United MileagePlus miles

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

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