Advertiser Disclosure

Many of the credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which we receive financial compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). However, the credit card information that we publish has been written and evaluated by experts who know these products inside out. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse. This site does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers that are on the market. See our advertising policy here where we list advertisers that we work with, and how we make money. You can also review our credit card rating methodology.

The Best Ways to Fly to South America With Points and Miles [Step-by-Step]

Michael McHugh's image
Michael McHugh

Michael McHugh

Former Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 15U.S. States Visited: 32

Michael fell in love with points and miles back in 2014 and since then has built up a vast knowledge of award programs and has striven to show readers how to receive the maximum value when using their...
Edited by: Stella Shon

Stella Shon

Compliance Editor & Content Contributor

Countries Visited: 25U.S. States Visited: 22

With a degree in media and journalism, Stella has been in the points and miles game for more than 6 years. She most recently worked as a Corporate Communications Analyst for JetBlue. Find her work in ...
& Keri Stooksbury

Keri Stooksbury

Editor-in-Chief

Countries Visited: 41U.S. States Visited: 28

With years of experience in corporate marketing and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, Keri is now Editor-in-Chief at UP, overseeing daily content operations and r...

We may be compensated when you click on product links, such as credit cards, from one or more of our advertising partners. Terms apply to the offers below. See our Advertising Policy for more about our partners, how we make money, and our rating methodology. Opinions and recommendations are ours alone.

South America is a continent with a diverse set of countries with half of its population located in Brazil. From Machu Picchu in Peru, to the beaches in Rio de Janeiro, to the food scene in Lima, to the bustling capital cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago, to the salt flats in Bolivia, the continent is filled with a diverse set of travel experiences.

After reading about these things to do, you may be asking yourself, is there a good way to get there with points and miles? Of course! This article covers the best programs you can use to book award flights to South America, how to book an award flight, and how to earn enough miles for your next redemption.

Best Programs to Use to Book Flights

South America is well-served with flights from the U.S. by airlines across all major airline alliances: Oneworld, Star Alliance, and SkyTeam.

As with most award searches, premium cabin award space is easiest to find by searching close-in (within 2 weeks of the travel date) or far out in the calendar (10-11 months).

This article covers the best programs to use, including Japan Airlines, Alaska Airlines, and Etihad Airways, among others.

Japan Airlines Mileage Bank 

Use Japan Airlines to book American Airlines business class! Image Credit: American Airlines

The Japan Airlines Mileage Bank program provides value to nearly every destination in South America across all cabin classes. Japan Airlines is a member of the Oneworld alliance, which is helpful given Oneworld member airlines American Airlines and LATAM offer a number of nonstop flights from the U.S. to South America.

Book Awards With Japan Airlines

JAL uses a distance-based award chart to determine the amount of miles required, which is based on the total distance and cabin class of your itinerary. Calculate the distance of your flight using Great Circle Mapper and then refer back to the Oneworld award chart.

Search for LATAM and American Airlines business class award availability on the British Airways website, and then confirm the same availability on the Japan Airlines website or call Japan Airlines at 800-525-3663 to book the award flight.

Search for American Airlines and LATAM economy award availability on the British Airways/Qantas websites and then confirm the same availability on the Japan Airlines website or call directly to book. For a step-by-step, check out this guide on how to search Oneworld award availability.

Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for both American Airlines and LATAM round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Bogotá, Colombia (BOG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy25,000-40,000$7525,000$116
Business48,000-80,000$7548,000$116

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000-70,000$132
Business85,000-115,000$132
First110,000-165,000$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000$92
Business85,000$92

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
São Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000-70,000$9350,000$93
Business85,000-115,000$9385,000$93
First110,000-165,000$93N/AN/A

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Lima, Peru (LIM)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy40,000$10940,000-50,000$109
Business80,000$10980,000-85,000$109

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000$9350,000-60,000$93
Business85,000$9385,000-110,000$93

 

Hot Tip: Need help booking an award flight? Here’s a step-by-step guide to booking American Airlines business class and our review of AA’s Business Class on the 787-9 Dreamliner.

American Airlines and LATAM fly nonstop from the U.S. to South America on a number of routes. If you are looking to fly first class on American, Dallas (DFW), Miami (MIA), and New York (JFK) offer it on select routes.

Here are the nonstop flights to several locations in South America that are bookable with Japan Airlines miles:

Nonstop American Airlines flights to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG):

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)

Nonstop LATAM flights to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG):

  • Miami (MIA)

Nonstop American Airlines flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE):

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)

Nonstop American Airlines flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG):

  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)

Nonstop American Airlines flights to São Paulo, Brazil (GRU):

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK)

Nonstop LATAM flights to São Paulo, Brazil (GRU):

  • Boston (BOS)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Orlando (MCO)

Nonstop American Airlines flights to Lima, Peru (LIM):

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)

Nonstop LATAM flights to Lima, Peru (LIM):

  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)

Nonstop American Airlines flights to Santiago, Chile (SCL):

  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Miami (MIA)

Nonstop LATAM flights to Santiago, Chile (SCL):

  • New York (JFK)

Earning JAL Miles

Japan Airlines partners with 1 transferable point program: Marriott Bonvoy. Separately, Japan Airlines doesn’t offer a co-branded credit card with a meaningful sign-up bonus, making it hard to earn Japan Airlines miles with plastic.

For those looking to transfer Marriott points to Japan Airlines, keep the transfer ratio and transfer time in mind. Marriott point transfers take 7 days at a 3:1 ratio. While that’s not ideal, the upside is that Marriott points are easy to earn with credit cards like these:

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card

A great option for Marriott hotel fans who want a no annual fee card and automatic Marriott Bonvoy elite status.
Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.
30,000 points
$210
$0
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Casual travelers who like to frequent properties that are part of the Marriott Bonvoy collection of brands may want to consider the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card.

The Marriott Bold card rewards cardholders for Marriott stays and gives them a boost towards Marriott Bonvoy elite status.

Pros

  • Up to 14x points per $1 on Marriott purchases
  • 2x points per $1 on travel purchases
  • 15 Elite Night Credits each year (automatically gives you Silver Elite status)
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • No annual fee

Cons

  • Lower point earn rate than other Marriott Bonvoy cards
  • Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status is the lowest status tier
  • Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Pay no annual fee with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card from Chase®!
  • Earn up to 14X total points per $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Card.
  • 2X points for every $1 spent on other travel purchases (from airfare to taxis and trains).
  • 1X point for every $1 spent on all other purchases.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, qualifying you for Silver Elite Status. Restrictions apply.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Marriott loyalists will love this card's annual free night award, automatic elite status, and up to 17x points per $1 on Marriott hotel stays.
Earn 3 Free Nights after you spend $3,000 on eligible purchases (each night valued up to 50,000 points) within the first 3 months from account opening.
Up to 3 Free Nights
$1,050
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

If you’re a frequent traveler and a Marriott loyalist, there’s a lot to love about the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. The card comes packed with several great benefits like a free hotel night once a year, automatic Silver Elite status (with a fast-track to Gold Elite status), and multiple options for redeeming points.

Pros

  • Earn big when you use your card at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels
  • New benefit to earn big at grocery stores, gas stations, and dining
  • Automatic Silver Elite Status
  • 1 Free Night Award each cardmember anniversary (up to 35,000 points)
  • DoorDash DashPass subscription
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Marriott Silver status is the lowest status tier
  • Earn 3 Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after qualifying purchases.
  • Earn 3X points per $1 on the first $6,000 spent in combined purchases each year on grocery stores, gas stations, and dining.
  • Earn 1 Elite Night Credit towards Elite Status for every $5,000 you spend.
  • 1 Free Night Award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary.
  • Earn up to 17X total points per $1 spent at thousands of hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy® with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Card.
  • Receive 15 Elite Night Credits annually, automatic Silver Elite status, and path to Gold Status when you spend $35,000 on purchases each calendar year.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy card gives you automatic Marriott elite status and helps you earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on your everyday purchases.
Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership
85,000 points
$595
$250
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, the latest mid-tier offering in the Marriott Bonvoy lineup of cards, offers cardholders automatic elite status and ways to earn more Marriott Bonvoy points on each of their stays and daily purchases.

Pros

  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy
  • 4x points per $1 at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases per calendar year, then 2X points)
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • Complimentary Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status
  • 15 Elite Night Credits per year
  • 1,000 bonus points per paid stay
  • 1 Free Night Award (up to 50,000 points) when you spend $15,000 on the card in a year
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $250 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Free Night Award certificate is not an automatic benefit
  • Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy® points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Earn 4X points at restaurants worldwide and U.S. supermarkets (on up to $15,000 in combined purchases at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets per calendar year, then 2X points).
  • Earn 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • 1K Bonus Points Per Stay: Earn 1,000 Marriott Bonvoy® bonus points per paid eligible stay booked directly with Marriott for properties participating in Marriott Bonvoy.
  • With complimentary Gold Elites status, earn up to 2.5X points from Marriott Bonvoy® on eligible hotel purchases with the 25% Bonus Points on stays benefit.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy Free Night Award: Earn 1 Free Night Award after spending $15,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ Card in a calendar year. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points) at a hotel participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • 15 Elite Night Credits: Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express Card® you can receive 15 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Plan It® is a payment option that lets you split up purchases of $100 or more into equal monthly installments with a fixed fee. Plus, you'll still earn rewards the way you usually do.
  • $250 Annual Fee.
  • Terms apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card

A premium card for Marriott fans who want perks like an annual statement credit and Free Night Award, plus a fast track to Marriott elite status.
Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
95,000 bonus points
$665
$650
20.99%-29.99% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card is a premium card designed with road warriors and Marriott Bonvoy loyalists in mind.

So is the card a worthwhile addition to your wallet?

Pros

  • 6x points per $1 at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy program
  • 3x points per $1 on flights booked directly with airlines and restaurants worldwide
  • 2x points per $1 on all other purchases
  • 25 Elite Night Credits each year
  • Priority Pass Select membership upon enrollment
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee statement credit
  • Annual Free Night Award after card renewal
  • Complimentary Platinum Elite status

Cons

  • Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • $300 Brilliant Dining Credit: Each calendar year, get up to $300 (up to $25 per month) in statement credits for eligible purchases made on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card at restaurants worldwide.
  • With Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, you can receive room upgrades, including enhanced views or suites, when available at select properties and booked with a Qualifying Rate.
  • Earn 6X Marriott Bonvoy points for each dollar of eligible purchases at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. 3X points at restaurants worldwide and on flights booked directly with airlines. 2X points on all other eligible purchases.
  • Free Night Award: Receive 1 Free Night Award every year after your Card renewal month. Award can be used for one night (redemption level at or under 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points) at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
  • Each calendar year after spending $60,000 on eligible purchases on your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card, you will be eligible to select a Brilliant Earned Choice Award benefit. You can only earn one Earned Choice Award per calendar year. See https://www.choice-benefit.marriott.com/brilliant for Award options.
  • $100 Marriott Bonvoy Property Credit: Enjoy your stay. Receive up to a $100 property credit for qualifying charges at The Ritz-Carlton® or St. Regis® when you book direct using a special rate for a two-night minimum stay using your Card.
  • Fee Credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®: Receive either a statement credit every 4 years after you apply for Global Entry ($100) or a statement credit every 4.5 years after you apply for a five-year membership for TSA PreCheck® (up to $85 through a TSA PreCheck official enrollment provider) and pay the application fee with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card. If approved for Global Entry, at no additional charge, you will receive access to TSA PreCheck.
  • Each calendar year with your Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card you can receive 25 Elite Night Credits toward the next level of Marriott Bonvoy® Elite status. Limitations apply per Marriott Bonvoy® member account. Benefit is not exclusive to Cards offered by American Express. Terms apply.
  • Enroll in Priority Pass™ Select, which offers unlimited access to over 1,200 lounges in over 130 countries, regardless of which carrier or class you are flying. This allows you to relax before or between flights. You can enjoy snacks, drinks, and internet access in a quiet, comfortable location.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on international purchases.
  • With Cell Phone Protection, you can be reimbursed, the lesser of, your repair or replacement costs following damage, such as a cracked screen, or theft for a maximum of $800 per claim when your cell phone line is listed on a wireless bill and the prior month's wireless bill was paid by an Eligible Card Account. A $50 deductible will apply to each approved claim with a limit of 2 approved claims per 12-month period. Additional terms and conditions apply. Coverage is provided by New Hampshire Insurance Company, an AIG Company.
  • $650 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 20.99%-29.99% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Marriott Bonvoy

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan

Unlike Japan Airlines, Alaska Airlines provides value to only a few South American destinations. Alaska Airlines is a member of Oneworld and also has individual partnerships with airlines, including LATAM for flights from the U.S. to South America.

Book Awards With Alaska Airlines 

Alaska Airlines uses zone-based award charts and the number of Alaska miles that you’ll need will depend on the zones of your travel and cabin class. For American Airlines flights, Alaska Airlines divides South America into Zone 1 and Zone 2. Zone 2 includes Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. All other American Airlines flights to South America are considered Zone 1.

Search and book American Airlines awards directly on the Alaska website. LATAM economy flights can be searched on the Qantas website, then you’ll call Alaska Airlines at 800-252-7522 to book the flight. Search for LATAM business class award availability on the British Airways website and then call Alaska Airlines to book the flight.

With that said, below are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for American Airlines and LATAM round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 1
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy40,000$75-$109
Business60,000$75-$109
First110,000$75-$109

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 2
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy60,000$92-$132
Business115,000$92-$132
First170,000$92-$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America
Cabin ClassLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy Off-Peak*50,000$93-$116
Economy Peak60,000$93-$116
Business90,000$93-$116

*Alaska offers off-peak award pricing for LATAM economy flights, which are available from March 15 – June 30 and all of August, October, and November.

Hot Tip: Book LATAM economy award flights during off-peak pricing dates to save 10,000 miles round-trip!

For those looking to book a flight, reference the Japan Airlines section for a full list of American and LATAM flights from the U.S. to South America.

Earning Alaska Airlines Miles

Alaska Airlines offers a number of ways to earn its miles including its own credit cards and by transferring points from Marriott Bonvoy. Marriott has a number of airline partners that are unique to Marriott, with Alaska Airlines being one of those partners.

If you’re looking to transfer points from Marriott to Alaska Airlines, it’s helpful to know the transfer time and transfer ratio. Marriott point transfers take 2 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!

Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card

Provides the potential to earn plenty of miles to fly with Alaska Airlines or over a dozen partners. Plus, get an annual companion fare from just $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23)!
Get a $100 statement credit, 50,000 Bonus Miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
$100 statement credit + 50,000 bonus miles + Alaska's Famous Companion Fare™
$1,000
$95
18.24% - 26.24% Variable
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

With the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card in your wallet, you could get great perks and earn miles at the same time. This is a win-win if Alaska is the airline you prefer to fly with! Plus, its annual companion fare is a great benefit for traveling couples.

Pros

  • 3x miles per $1 spent on Alaska purchases
  • 2x miles per $1 spent on eligible gas, local transit (including rideshare), cable, and select streaming services
  • 1x mile per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual companion fare
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 traveling companions
  • 20% back on Alaska inflight purchase

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • LIMITED TIME ONLINE OFFER — $100 statement credit, 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™!
  • Get a $100 statement credit, 50,000 Bonus Miles and Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™ from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23) after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening.
  • Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare™. Every year on your credit card account anniversary you’ll receive a companion fare which allows you to book a companion flight from $122 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from $23). Valid on all Alaska Airlines flights booked on alaskaair.com.
  • Free checked bag for you and up to 6 guests on the same reservation – that’s a savings of $60 per person roundtrip!
  • Earn unlimited 3 miles for every $1 spent on eligible Alaska Airlines purchases, 2 miles for every $1 spent on eligible gas, local transit (including rideshare), cable, and select streaming services, and unlimited 1 mile for every $1 spent on all other purchases. And, your miles don’t expire on active accounts.
  • 10% reward bonus on all miles earned on card with an eligible Bank of America checking, savings, or investment account.
  • Priority boarding on Alaska Airlines when tickets are purchased with card.
  • With oneworld® Alliance member airlines and Alaska’s Global Partners, Alaska has expanded their global reach to over 1,000 destinations worldwide bringing more airline partners and more ways to earn and redeem miles.
  • Flexibility with no blackout dates on Alaska Airlines flights when booking with miles or a companion fare.
  • Plus, no foreign transaction fees and a low $95 annual fee.
  • This online only offer may not be available elsewhere if you leave this page. You can take advantage of this offer when you apply now.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 18.24% - 26.24% Variable
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Frequent Flyer Program

Etihad Guest 

Use Etihad miles to fly American business class! Image Credit: American Airlines

Etihad Airways is similar to Alaska Airlines in that the program can be used in niche circumstances for flights to South America. The airline is not a member of an airline alliance, but instead has individual partnerships, including American Airlines, for flights from the U.S. to South America.

Book Awards With Etihad 

Etihad uses a zone-based award chart for American Airlines flights and the number of Etihad miles needed depends on the zones of travel and cabin class.

Search British Airways/Qantas for award availability, then calling Etihad Guest at 877-690-0767 to confirm award availability and book the ticket.

When you decide where you want to travel, here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for American Airlines round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 1*
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000$75-$109
Business60,000$75-$109
First80,000$75-$109

*Zone 1 includes Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela.

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 2
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy Off Peak40,000$92-$132
Economy Peak60,000$92-$132
Business100,000$92-$132
First125,000$92-$132

 

Hot Tip: Etihad uses American Airlines pre-devaluation award pricing. Booking this award does require a phone call, but you can get solid value if you are patient. 

Earning Etihad Miles

Etihad partners with 4 transferable points programs in American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. The airline unfortunately doesn’t have a co-branded credit card, so earning points that can be transferred to Etihad will be the easy way to earn miles.

If you’re looking to transfer points to Etihad, keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind. Amex points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One miles take 36 hours at a 1:1 ratio, Citi points take 6 days at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott points take 5 days at 3:1 ratio. With that said, focus on transferring Amex and Capital One miles first.

Recommended Amex Cards (Personal)

BEST LOUNGE ACCESS
The Platinum Card® from American ExpressTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

The Platinum Card® from American Express

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The Amex Platinum reigns supreme for luxury travel, offering the best airport lounge access plus generous statement credits, and complimentary elite status.
Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
80,000 points
$1,760
$695
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

When it comes to cards that offer top-notch benefits, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better card out there than The Platinum Card® from American Express.

Make no mistake — the Amex Platinum card is a premium card with a premium price tag. With amazing benefits like best-in-class airport lounge access, hotel elite status, and tremendous value in annual statement credits, it can easily prove to be one of the most lucrative cards in your wallet year after year.

Pros

  • The best airport lounge access out of any card (by far) — enjoy access to over 1,400 worldwide lounges, including the luxurious Amex Centurion Lounges, Priority Pass lounges, Plaza Premium Lounges, and many more!
  • 5x points per $1 spent on flights purchased directly with the airline or with American Express Travel (up to $500,000 per year)
  • 5x points per $1 spent on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel
  • Annual and monthly statement credits upon enrollment (airline credit, Uber Cash credit, Saks Fifth Avenue credit, streaming credit, prepaid hotel credit on eligible stays, Walmart+ credit, CLEAR credit, and Equinox credit)
  • TSA PreCheck or Global Entry credit
  • Access to American Express Fine Hotels and Resorts
  • Access to Amex International Airline Program
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates and fees)

Cons

  • $695 annual fee (rates and fees)
  • Airline credit does not cover airfare (only incidentals like checked bags)
  • Earn 80,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $8,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Apply and select your preferred metal Card design: classic Platinum Card®, Platinum x Kehinde Wiley, or Platinum x Julie Mehretu.
  • Earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points for flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year and earn 5X Membership Rewards® Points on prepaid hotels booked with American Express Travel.
  • $200 Hotel Credit: Get up to $200 back in statement credits each year on prepaid Fine Hotels + Resorts® or The Hotel Collection bookings with American Express Travel when you pay with your Platinum Card®. The Hotel Collection requires a minimum two-night stay.
  • $240 Digital Entertainment Credit: Get up to $20 back in statement credits each month on eligible purchases made with your Platinum Card® on one or more of the following: Disney+, a Disney Bundle, ESPN+, Hulu, The New York Times, Peacock, SiriusXM, and The Wall Street Journal. Enrollment required.
  • $155 Walmart+ Credit: Cover the cost of a $12.95 monthly Walmart+ membership (subject to auto-renewal) with a statement credit after you pay for Walmart+ each month with your Platinum Card®. Cost includes $12.95 plus applicable local sales tax. Plus Up Benefits are excluded.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Select one qualifying airline and then receive up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year when incidental fees are charged by the airline to your Platinum Card®.
  • $200 Uber Cash: Enjoy Uber VIP status and up to $200 in Uber savings on rides or eats orders in the US annually. Uber Cash and Uber VIP status is available to Basic Card Member only.
  • $300 Equinox Credit: Get up to $300 back in statement credits per calendar year on an Equinox membership, or an Equinox club membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you pay with your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required. Visit https://platinum.equinox.com/ to enroll.
  • $189 CLEAR® Plus Credit: Breeze through security with CLEAR Plus at 100+ airports, stadiums, and entertainment venues nationwide and get up to $189 back per calendar year on your Membership (subject to auto-renewal) when you use your Platinum Card®. Learn more.
  • $100 Global Entry Credit: Receive either a $100 statement credit every 4 years for a Global Entry application fee or a statement credit up to $85 every 4.5 years for a TSA PreCheck® (through a TSA official enrollment provider) application fee, when charged to your Platinum Card®. Card Members approved for Global Entry will also receive access to TSA PreCheck at no additional cost.
  • Shop Saks with Platinum: Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases in Saks Fifth Avenue stores or at saks.com on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $300 SoulCycle At-Home Bike Credit: Get a $300 statement credit for the purchase of a SoulCycle at-home bike with your Platinum Card®. An Equinox+ subscription is required to purchase a SoulCycle at-home bike and access SoulCycle content. Must charge full price of bike in one transaction. Shipping available in the contiguous U.S. only. Enrollment Required.
  • Unlock access to exclusive reservations and special dining experiences with Global Dining Access by Resy when you add your Platinum Card® to your Resy profile.
  • $695 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

BEST FOR DINING
American Express® Gold CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

American Express® Gold Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!

Learn More(at Amex's secure site)

American Express® Gold Card

This is the best card for food lovers who dine out at restaurants (worldwide), order take-out and want big rewards at U.S. supermarkets!
Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months.
60,000 points
$1,320
$250
See Pay Over Time APR
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The American Express® Gold Card is a game-changer.

With this card, you can earn 4x Membership Rewards points at restaurants and you’ll also earn 4x Membership Rewards points at U.S. supermarkets on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1x.

There isn’t another card on the market that offers a 1-2 punch like this. Of course, there are several other benefits of the Gold Card as well, including extra monthly dining rewards and more.

Pros

  • 4x points per $1 at restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
  • 4x points per $1 at U.S. supermarkets, up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases; and 1x thereafter
  • 3x points per $1 on flights purchased directly from airlines or at Amex Travel
  • Up to $120 annual dining credit: up to $10 monthly statement credit when you pay with the Amex Gold card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations
  • Up to $120 in annual Uber Cash: get $10 monthly in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S. when you add your Gold Card to your Uber account
  • No foreign transaction fees (see rates and fees)
  • Access to Amex’s The Hotel Collection
  • Access to American Express transfer partners

Cons

  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $6,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Get a $100 experience credit with a minimum two-night stay when you book The Hotel Collection through American Express Travel. Experience credit varies by property.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: See Pay Over Time APR
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

American Express Membership Rewards

If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Amex business credit cards.

Recommended Miles-Earning Capital One Cards (Personal)

TOP PICK
Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card

The Capital One Venture X card is an excellent option for travelers looking for an all-in-one premium credit card.
Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$395
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-840)

The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card is the premium Capital One travel rewards card on the block.

Points and miles fans will be surprised to see that the Capital One Venture X card packs quite the punch when it comes to bookings made through Capital One, all while offering the lowest annual fee among premium credit cards.

Depending on your travel goals and preferences, the Capital One Venture X card could very well end up being your go-to card in your wallet.

 

Pros

  • 10x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 5x miles per $1 on flights purchased through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit on bookings made through Capital One Travel
  • Unlimited complimentary access for cardholder and 2 guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • 10,000 bonus miles awarded on your account anniversary each year
  • Global Entry/TSA PreCheck credit
  • Add authorized users for no additional annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees

 

Cons

  • $395 annual fee
  • Does not offer bonus categories for flights or hotel purchases made directly with the airline or hotel group, the preferred booking method for those looking to earn elite status

 

  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive a $300 annual credit for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Elevate every hotel stay from the Premier or Lifestyle Collections with a suite of cardholder benefits, like an experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

 

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Get 2x miles plus some of the most flexible redemptions offered by a travel credit card!
Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel.
75,000 miles
$1,350
$95
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent Credit (670-850)

As a frequent traveler with excellent credit, you’re always on the lookout for a credit card that comes with all the bells and whistles. And the easier it is to understand, the better!

The Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card is one of the most popular rewards cards on the market. It’s perfect for anyone in search of a great sign-up bonus, high rewards rates, and flexible redemption options.

Pros

  • 5x miles per $1 on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
  • 2x miles per $1 on all other purchases
  • 2 complimentary visits to a Capital One Lounge or Plaza Premium Lounges each year
  • Global Entry or TSA PreCheck credit
  • No foreign transaction fees (rates & fees)
  • Access to Capital One transfer partners

Cons

  • Enjoy a one-time bonus of 75,000 miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you’ll get Capital One’s best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Miles won’t expire for the life of the account and there’s no limit to how many you can earn
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Enjoy two complimentary visits per year to Capital One Lounges or to 100+ Plaza Premium Lounges through the Partner Lounge Network
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase – or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Enrich every hotel stay from the Lifestyle Collection with a suite of cardholder benefits, like a $50 experience credit, room upgrades, and more
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable)
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit CardTerms Apply / Rates & Fees

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.

Learn More(at Capital One's secure site)

Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card

The card offers unlimited miles at 1.25x per $1 and no annual fee. When you consider the flexible rewards, frequent travelers come out on top.
Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel.
20,000 miles
$360
$0
19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

Interested in a travel rewards credit card without one of those pesky annual fees? Then say hello to the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card, the no-annual-fee version of the more popular Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card.

In addition to no annual fee, the Capital One VentureOne card offers no foreign transaction fees.

But is this card worth its salt, or is it merely a shell of the more popular Capital One Venture card?

Pros

  • No annual fee
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Ability to use transfer partners
  • Access to Capital One Dining

Cons

  • Weak earn rate at 1.25x miles per $1 spent on all purchases
  • No luxury travel or elite benefits
  • $0 annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Earn a bonus of 20,000 miles once you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening, equal to $200 in travel
  • Earn unlimited 1.25X miles on every purchase, every day
  • Miles won't expire for the life of the account and there's no limit to how many you can earn
  • Earn 5X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of trip options
  • Use your miles to get reimbursed for any travel purchase—or redeem by booking a trip through Capital One Travel
  • Transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Enjoy 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months; 19.99% - 29.99% variable APR after that; 3% fee on the amounts transferred within the first 15 months

Financial Snapshot

  • APR: 19.99% - 29.99% (Variable),0% intro on purchases for 15 months
  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Capital One Miles

Cathay Pacific Asia Miles

Image Credit: American Airlines

Cathay Pacific is an Asian program that provides value with Oneworld partner airline flights. In the case of South America, American Airlines is the partner that you’ll want to focus on.

Book Awards With Cathay Pacific 

The Asia Miles program uses a distance-based award chart when flying Cathay Pacific or its Oneworld partners. When booking award flights, the number of Asia miles needed will depend on the number of airline partners that you fly, the distance, and the cabin class of your flight.

Search for Oneworld availability on the British Airways/Qantas websites. When you find a flight that works, call Cathay Pacific at 866-892-2598 to confirm the flight is available, then book the flight. If you’re looking for a step-by-step, check out this guide on searching for Oneworld award availability.

For American Airlines round-trip flights to South America, below is the number of miles and an estimate of the taxes and fees:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Bogotá, Colombia (BOG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy30,000$75-$13230,000$75-$132
Business60,000-100,000$75-$13260,000$75-$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy54,000-70,000$75-$132
Business100,000-140,000$75-$132
First150,000$75-$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
São Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy54,000-70,000$75-$13254,000$75-$132
Business100,000-140,000$75-$132100,000$75-$132
First150,000-210,000$75-$132N/AN/A

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Lima, Peru (LIM)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy30,000-54,000$75-$13230,000-54,000$75-$132
Business60,000$75-$13260,000-100,000$75-$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy54,000$75-$13254,000-70,000$75-$132
Business100,000$75-$132100,000-140,000$75-$132

Earning Cathay Pacific Miles

Cathay Pacific partners with 4 transferable point programs in American Express, Capital One, Citi, and Marriott Bonvoy. In addition, Cathay Pacific offers a co-branded credit card with a relatively valuable sign-up bonus.

If you’re looking to use Cathay Pacific miles, it’s helpful to know the transfer times and ratios. Amex point transfers take 7 days at a 1:1 ratio, Capital One mile transfers take 36 hours at a 1:1 ratio, Citi point transfers take 24 hours at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 10 days at a 3:1 ratio.

Asiana Airlines Asiana Club 

Use Asiana miles to fly United business class! Image Credit: united.com

Asiana Airlines is not a well-known program, but it does have an upside if you know how to use it. The airline is a member of Star Alliance, which means you can use your miles to fly United Airlines or Avianca to South America.

Book Awards With Asiana Airlines 

The Asiana Club program uses a zone-based award chart by cabin class for Star Alliance partner flights.

Search for Avianca and United Airlines award availability on the United website, then call Asiana Airlines at 800-227-4262 to confirm the award availability and book the flight. For a step-by-step guide, see our guide on searching for Star Alliance award availability.

For Star Alliance flights to South America, below are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees:

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 1*
Cabin ClassAviancaTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000$109-$116
Business55,000$109-$116

* South America 1 includes Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Peru

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America 2*
Cabin ClassUnited AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000$92-$132
Business70,000$92-$132

*South America 2 includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, and Paraguay

Hot Tip: The Asiana Airlines website does not allow you to search for Star Alliance availability. Instead, use the United search engine to use to find award availability on a Star Alliance flight. 

Avianca and United Airlines fly nonstop from the U.S. to South America on a number of routes. There are currently no routes with first class offered.

With that said, here are nonstop flights to South America that you can book with Asiana Airlines miles:

Avianca flights to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG):

  • Fort Lauderdale (FLL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Orlando (MCO)
  • Washington (IAD)

United Airlines flights to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG):

  • Newark (EWR)
  • Houston (IAH)

United Airlines flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE):

  • Houston (IAH)
  • Newark (EWR)

United Airlines flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG):

  • Houston (IAH)

United Airlines flights to São Paulo, Brazil (GRU):

  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Newark (EWR)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Washington (IAD)

Avianca flights to Lima, Peru (LIM):

  • Miami (MIA)

United flights to Lima, Peru (LIM):

  • Houston (IAH)
  • Newark (EWR)

United Airlines flights to Santiago, Chile (SCL):

  • Houston (IAH)

Earning Asiana Airlines Miles

Asiana Airlines partners with 1 transferable point program: Marriott Bonvoy. If you’re looking to transfer Marriott Bonvoy points to Asiana, keep in mind the transfer times and transfer ratios. Marriott Bonvoy transfers take ~4 days at a 3:1 ratio.

ANA Mileage Club 

Use ANA miles to fly United Airlines business class! Image Credit: Chris Hassan

All Nippon Airways (ANA), like Asiana, is another under-the-radar Star Alliance carrier that can provide value. You can use your ANA miles to fly ANA or its Star Alliance partners Avianca or United Airlines to South America.

Book Awards With ANA 

The ANA Mileage Club program uses a zone-based award chart by cabin class for its Star Alliance partner flights. There are currently no routes with first class offered.

Search for Avianca and United Airlines award flights on the United website first. You’ll then search for the same flight on the ANA website and then book the flight. Another option is to call ANA at 800-235-9262 to confirm award availability and then book the flight. For more info, see our guide on searching for Star Alliance award availability.

After you’ve decided on a trip that you want to take, here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for Avianca and United Airlines round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America
Cabin ClassAvianca/United AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy55,000$92-$132
Business88,000$92-$132

Hot Tip: ANA requires you to book round-trip partner award flights. When you are searching for an award on ANA, the website requires you to search for round-trip flights. The United Airlines website allows you to search for one-way flights, which can make your award search easier. 

Earning ANA Miles

ANA partners with 2 transferable point programs in American Express and Marriott Bonvoy. Unfortunately, the airline doesn’t currently offer a credit card to the U.S. market with a meaningful welcome offer.

For those looking to transfer American Express and/or Marriott points to ANA, it’s good to know the transfer times and transfer ratios for each program. Amex point transfers take 3 days at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott point transfers take 7 days at a 3:1 ratio. With that said, transfer your Amex points first for a redemption with ANA.

British Airways Executive Club

Use British Airways Avios to fly American Airlines to South America! Image Credit: Marianna Ianovska via Shutterstock

British Airways is a carrier many U.S. travelers have likely used because of the ability to book domestic American Airlines flights with British Airways Avios. The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so you can use your miles for flights on British Airways or its partner airlines to South America.

Book Awards With British Airways

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart by cabin class to determine the amount of Avios required.

Search for American Airlines and LATAM business class award availability on the British Airways website. After you find award availability, book the flight online. We recommend using the British Airways/Qantas websites to search for American Airlines and LATAM economy award availability, then book the flight on the British Airways website.

Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for both American Airlines and LATAM round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Bogotá, Colombia (BOG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy20,000-25,000$7520,000-35,000$116
Business40,000-75,000$7540,000-70,000$116

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000$132
Business120,000-150,000$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000-70,000$92
Business120,000-150,000$92

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
São Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000-60,000$9350,000-70,000$93
Business120,000-150,000$93120,000-150,000$93
First180,000-200,000$93N/AN/A

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Lima, Peru (LIM)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy25,000-40,000$10925,000-50,000$109
Business75,000-120,000$10975,000-150,000$109

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy50,000$9350,000$93
Business120,000-150,000$93150,000$93

 

Hot Tip: The British Airways website does not show all of the award availability for American Airlines. Before you transfer points to British Airways, call British Airways at 800-247-9297 to confirm award availability. See more in this step-by-step on searching for Oneworld award availability

Earning British Airways Avios

British Airways partners with 3 transferable point programs in American Express, Chase, Capital One, and Marriott Bonvoy. In addition, British Airways has a co-branded credit with Chase with a high welcome offer.

If you’re looking to transfer points from one of these programs to British Airways, keep the transfer ratios and transfer times in mind. Amex points, Capital One Miles, and Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio and Marriott point transfers take 1 day at a 3:1 ratio.

Recommended Chase Cards (Personal)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

A fantastic travel card with a huge welcome offer, good benefits, and perks for a moderate annual fee.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
60,000 points
$1,200
$95
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Good to Excellent (670-850)

The Chase Sapphire Preferred® card is one of the best travel rewards cards on the market. Its bonus categories include travel, dining, online grocery purchases, and streaming services, which gives you the opportunity to earn lots of bonus points on these purchases.

Additionally, it offers flexible point redemption options, no foreign transaction fees, and excellent travel insurance coverage including primary car rental insurance. With benefits like these, it’s easy to see why this card is an excellent choice for any traveler.

Pros

  • 5x points on all travel booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 5x points on select Peloton purchases over $250 (through March 31, 2025)
  • 5x points on Lyft purchases (through March 31, 2025)
  • 3x points on dining purchases, online grocery purchases, and select streaming services
  • 2x points on all other travel worldwide
  • $50 annual credit on hotel stays booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 6 months of complimentary Instacart+ (activate by July 31, 2024), plus up to $15 in statement credits each quarter through July 2024
  • Excellent travel and car rental insurance
  • 10% annual bonus points
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs like United MileagePlus and World of Hyatt
  • Complimentary Spot Club Platinum status with The Parking Spot for 2 years, 20% off of your first reservation, and points for 1 free day of parking (enroll by October 26, 2023)

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • No elite benefits like airport lounge access or hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • Enjoy benefits such as 5x on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, 3x on dining, and 2x on all other travel purchases, and $50 annual Ultimate Rewards Hotel Credit, plus more.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get complimentary access to DashPass which unlocks $0 delivery fees and lower service fees for a minimum of one year when you activate by December 31, 2024.
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

U.P. Rating
The rating for this card has been determined by our own industry experts who know the in's and out's of credit card products. Bonuses, rewards as well as rates and fees are all taken into account. Compensation from the issuer does not affect our rating. We only recommend products we either use ourselves or endorse.

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.

Learn More(at Chase's secure site)

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

A top player in the high-end premium travel credit card space that earns 3x points on travel and dining while offering top luxury perks.
Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
60,000 points
$1,200
$550
Upgraded Points credit ranges are a variation of FICO®Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit cardapplication.
Excellent (740-850)

If you’re looking for an all-around excellent travel rewards card, the Chase Sapphire Reserve® is one of the best options out there.

The card combines elite travel benefits and perks like airport lounge access, with excellent point earning and redemption options.  Plus it offers top-notch travel insurance protections to keep you covered whether you’re at home or on the road.

Don’t forget the $300 annual travel credit which really helps to reduce the annual fee!

Pros

  • 10x points on car rentals, hotels, and dining booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 10x points on Lyft purchases March 31, 2025
  • 10x points on Peloton equipment and accessory purchases over $250 through March 31, 2025
  • 5x points on airfare booked via the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal
  • 3x points on all other travel and dining purchases; 1x point on all other purchases
  • $300 annual travel credit
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access
  • TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, or NEXUS credit
  • Access to Chase Luxury Hotel and Resort Collection
  • Rental car elite status with National and Avis

Cons

  • $550 annual fee
  • Does not offer any sort of hotel elite status
  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 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, 60,000 points are worth $900 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
  • Member FDIC

Financial Snapshot

  • Foreign Transaction Fees: None

Card Categories

Rewards Center

Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you’re a business owner, see our list of the best Chase business credit cards.

American Airlines AAdvantage

Use American miles to fly American Airlines to South America! Image Credit: Celso Diniz via Shutterstock

American Airlines is a familiar program to U.S. travelers as one of the “big 3” U.S. airlines, along with United Airlines and Delta Air Lines. The airline is a member of the Oneworld alliance, so you can use your miles for American Airlines flights and its Oneworld partner flights to South America.

Book Awards With American Airlines 

American Airlines uses zone-based award charts by cabin class and dates of travel for its own flights and partner airline flights.

When flying American Airlines’ own product, its award program divides South America into South America Region 1 and South America Region 2:

  • South America Region 1: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus (Brazil), Peru
  • South America Region 2: Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela

For American Airlines partner flights, the regions look slightly different:

  • South America Region 1: Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Manaus (Brazil), Peru
  • South America Region 2: Argentina, Brazil (excluding Manaus), Chile (excluding Easter Island), Falkland Islands, Paraguay, Uruguay, Venezuela

They offer off-peak pricing when flying their own product to South America Region 1. The off-peak dates are January 16-June 14 and September 7-November 14.

Use the American Airlines website to search and book your award flight. Another option is to search for award flights on the British Airways website, confirm award availability on the American website, and then book the flight.

Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for both American Airlines and LATAM round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
Bogotá, Colombia (BOG)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000-40,000$7540,000$116
Business60,000$7560,000$116

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & Fees
Economy60,000$132
Business115,000$132

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
São Paulo, Brazil (GRU)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy60,000$9360,000$93
Business115,000$93115,000$93
First170,000$93N/AN/A

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Lima, Peru (LIM)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy35,000-40,000$10940,000$109
Business60,000$10960,000$109

 

SCROLL FOR MORE
Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Cabin ClassAmerican AirlinesTaxes & FeesLATAMTaxes & Fees
Economy60,000$9360,000$93
Business115,000$93115,000$93

 

Hot Tip: The American Airlines website does not show availability for all members of the Oneworld alliance. You will want to familiarize yourself with both the British Airways and Qantas websites to search for award availability. 

If the award flight is in a lie-flat seat in the U.S., the business mileage will be 7,500 miles higher than the mileage shown.

Earning American Airlines Miles

American Airlines partners with 1 transferable point program in Marriott Bonvoy. In addition, American offers co-branded Barclays and Citi credit cards with large sign-up bonuses, partners with hotels and car rental companies, and has a shopping portal. All of these ways allow you to earn American Airlines miles.

If you’re looking to book a trip with Marriott points, it’s helpful to know that point transfers take 2 days at 3:1 ratio.

Virgin Atlantic Flying Club

Virgin Atlantic, a carrier that many in the U.K. are familiar with, has a loyalty program that can be used in the right situation for solid value. The airline is not a member of an airline alliance, but instead, the Flying Club program has individual award charts for each of its airline partners.

Book Awards With Virgin Atlantic 

The number of Virgin Points you’ll need is based on the zones of your travel and the cabin class of your flight. A key item to point out is that the pricing in the award charts below applies to nonstop flights only. If your itinerary requires a connection, you will need to pay additional Virgin Points.

Search for Delta Air Lines award availability on the Virgin Atlantic website and then book the flight online. Another option is to find award availability on the Air France/Delta/Air France websites and then call Virgin Atlantic at 800-862-8621 to confirm availability and book the flight.

Here are the redemption rates and an estimate of the taxes and fees for Delta Air Lines round-trip flights to South America:

SCROLL FOR MORE
South America
Cabin ClassDeltaTaxes & Fees
Economy45,000$93-$116
Business90,000$93-$116

Hot Tip: Need help securing an award flight? Here’s a step-by-step guide to booking Delta business class.

Delta flies nonstop from the U.S. to South America on a select number of routes. The nonstop Delta flights to South America that you can book with Virgin Points are:

Nonstop flights to Bogotá, Colombia (BOG):

  • Atlanta (ATL)

Nonstop flights to Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE):

  • Atlanta (ATL)

Nonstop flights to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (GIG):

  • Atlanta (ATL)

Nonstop flights to São Paulo, Brazil (GRU):

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • New York (JFK)

Nonstop flights to Lima, Peru (LIM):

  • Atlanta (ATL)

Nonstop flights to Santiago, Chile (SCL):

  • Atlanta (ATL)

Earning Virgin Points

Virgin Atlantic partners with 4 transferable point programs in Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Marriott Bonvoy. The airline also offers Bank of America co-branded credit cards that earn miles with your credit card spend. By focusing your spend on credit cards that earn these miles and points, you will find it easy to earn enough Virgin Points for Delta award flights to South America.

If you have a trip in mind and want to transfer points to Virgin Atlantic, keep the transfer times and transfer ratios in mind. American Express point transfers take 1-2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Citi point transfers take 2 days at a 1:1 ratio, Chase points transfer instantly at a 1:1 ratio, and Marriott point transfers take 1-2 days at a 3:1 ratio. With that said, we recommend transferring Chase points first for your next award flight.

Final Thoughts

South America is a continent that offers a diverse set of experiences. From the beaches and mountains to the plains and rain forests, you will have more than enough ideas for a unique itinerary.

What is perhaps most interesting about traveling to South America is that you can use any number of programs, points, and miles to get there. Airlines across all of the major alliances offer flights, making it much easier to find an award redemption that works for you!

 

The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
The information regarding the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Gold Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the American Express® Business Gold Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which airlines include carrier-imposed surcharges on award flights to South America?

When flying American Airlines, United Airlines, LATAM, or Avianca, fuel surcharges should be near 0.

What is the fewest number of miles you can use to book an economy class award flight to South America?

Japan Airlines requires the fewest number of miles to fly economy, at 21,000-miles round-trip from Miami to Bogotá on either American Airlines or LATAM.

What is the fewest number of miles required to fly business class to South America?

Japan Airlines requires the fewest number of miles to fly business, at 42,000-miles round-trip from Miami to Bogotá on either American Airlines or LATAM.

What is the fewest number miles required to fly first class to South America?

Etihad offers the fewest number of miles to fly first class, at 80,000 miles round-trip on American Airlines from the U.S. to Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela

About Michael McHugh

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Michael took his first international trip in 2013 with friends to the Bahamas. Although he didn’t travel much in his younger years, on that trip, he caught the travel bug and has been hooked ever since.

Michael first caught wind of the points and miles game in 2014 while at a bar in Washington, DC where the conversation amongst friends was quickly derailed because of an alert on a friend’s phone about a mistake fare.  That’s where the love affair with points and miles began.

INSIDERS ONLY: UP PULSE

Get the latest travel tips, crucial news, flight & hotel deal alerts...

Plus — expert strategies to maximize your points & miles by joining our (free) newsletter.

We respect your privacy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA. Google's privacy policy and terms of service apply.

DMCA.com Protection Status