How to Fly to South America With British Airways Avios Points

Disclosure: We get a commission for links on the blog. You don’t have to use our links, but we’re very grateful when you do. American Express, Barclaycard, Chase, and US Bank are Million Mile Secrets advertising partners. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or endorsed by our partners. Here’s our Advertiser Disclosure.

Update:   One or more card offers in this post are no longer available.  Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers. 

Visit South America to see the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu, explore nature in the Galapagos Islands, dance the tango in Buenos Aires, and tour world-class wineries in Chile.

All are possibilities with British Airways Avios points – and you’ll pay fewer miles than other mileage programs!

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you can earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements.

And you can transfer your points directly to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio to book partner award flights to South America with no fuel surcharges from several US cities!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Cross the Equator to Visit South America! Visit Gorgeous Patagonia and See Breathtaking Views in Argentina or Chile. Use Your British Airways Avios Points to Get There!

If you want more British Airways Avios points, there’s also an offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card after meeting the minimum required tiered spending requirements.

I’ll show you how to get to many places in South America using British Airways Avios points.  And help you decide which card offer is better for you!

When Should You Use British Airways Avios Points?

Link:   Book British Airways Award Flights Like a Pro

Link:   British Airways Award Flight Calculator

Link:   Wandering Aramean’s Avios Map

British Airways has a distance-based award chart.  That means the amount you’ll pay depends on the length of your flight.  And in many instances, you’ll pay fewer miles, based on where you depart.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Redeem British Airways Avios Points for Award Flights on American to South America

You can use British Airways Avios points to fly non-stop on airline partners American Airlines, LAN, and TAM.  And, you can search for and book the flights directly on the British Airways website!

Keep in mind British Airways charges per flight segment.  So if you connect, you’ll have to pay for each individual flight.

Note:   British Airways is changing the price of the shortest (under 650 miles) partner flights in North America starting February 2, 2016Flights which currently cost 4,500 British Airways Avios points 1-way in coach will cost 7,500 British Airways Avios points after that date.

You can use the British Airways award flight calculator to check the cost of each flight.  Or Wandering Aramean’s Avios calculator tool to see where you can fly for 12,500 British Airways Avios points or fewer.

It’s always worth seeing if you can get a more convenient flight with British Airways Avios points, especially if flights cost roughly the same as United Airlines.

Who Should Use United Airlines Miles?

I’ve written about how to to fly to South America using United Airlines miles.

You’ll pay the same number of miles when you fly United Airlines or 1 of its partner airlines to South America, regardless of which city you’re starting from in the continental US, Alaska, or Canada.  And on many routes, United Airlines may have more award seats available, or more convenient flights, so it’s worth checking.

United Airlines breaks South America into 2 regions, Northern South America and Southern South America, with different prices for each region.

Northern South America includes:

  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Peru
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela

To Northern South America, you’ll pay:

  • 20,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in coach
  • 35,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 45,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class

Southern South America includes:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Paraguay
  • Uruguay

To Southern South America, you’ll pay:

  • 30,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in coach
  • 55,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 70,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class

See More of South America

Whichever you decide is best for you, you’ll still avoid fuel surcharges.

United Airlines never adds fuel surcharges to its partner award tickets, and British Airways does not add fuel surcharges to partner award flights to South America, either.

Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York are some of the cities with non-stop flights to South America on British Airways airline partners.  And you’ll get a great deal on many award seats to the Southern Hemisphere!

Let’s take a closer look!

1.   Flights From Dallas

Dallas is an American Airlines hub city, so folks there can enjoy several non-stop flights on American Airlines and LAN to:

  • Bogota, Colombia – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Lima, Peru – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Quito, Ecuador – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Santiago, Chile – 25,000 British Airways Avios points

ALL of these prices are lower than if you book with United Airlines!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

I Easily Found Award Seats Between Dallas and Santiago, Chile! Pay $5 to Fly There, and $47 Back Home for Taxes and Fees

You’ll pay ~$53 in taxes and fees round-trip, which is a great deal.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Award Seats in Business Class Are Rarely a Better Deal With British Airways Avios Points

Prices in Business Class and First Class are higher for partner award flights.  You’ll pay 3X the coach price for Business Class.  And 4X the price for First Class (when it’s offered)!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

From Santiago, You Can Take the Bus to Valparaiso, Go Skiing in the Andes, or Visit Numerous Vineyards Nearby. And Santiago Has Nightlife, Museums, and Delicious Food to Experience!

For example, I found Business Class award seats from Dallas to Santiago for 75,000 British Airways Avios points each way, which is much more than United Airlines charges.  But depending what type of points you have access to, which route you want to fly, and which award seats you find, you might decide it’s worth it to fly to South America in Business Class (or First Class).

From Santiago, you can redeem more British Airways points to fly around South America on LAN, including to Easter Island or Patagonia!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Bogota Is a Huge City With Lots of Art Galleries, Shopping, and New Dishes to Try

Folks in Dallas also get a fantastic deal to Bogota, Colombia, and Quito, Ecuador.  Both cities cost 12,500 British Airways Avios points each way.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

From Ecuador, Use British Airways Avios Points to See the Rich Wildlife of the Galapagos Islands!

If you decide to visit Ecuador, you can arrange a visit to the Galapagos Islands from Guayaquil or Quito.

And Bogota is known for its food culture, especially its empanadas!  Folks on TripAdvisor have lots of recommendations, including tours of 17th-century architecture, and nearby hiking.

2.   Flights From Los Angeles

If you’re departing from Los Angeles, you can fly non-stop to:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – 30,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Lima, Peru – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil – 30,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Santiago, Chile – 30,000 British Airways Avios points

These flights all cost the same as United Airlines charges, except for Lima, Peru, which costs 5,000 points more.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Fly to Lima with British Airways Avios Points, Then Take the Train or Bus or Cusco or Machu Picchu. Learn About Peru’s Ancient Civilizations and Be Sure to Try the Ceviche (Popular Seafood Dish Made With Fresh Raw Fish)!

So if you want to visit these South American cities, it’s worth it to compare flights and dates with United Airlines.  That’s a big reason I love Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Because you have the flexibility to transfer to either British Airways OR United Airlines!

That said, if you’re in Los Angeles, and want to visit South America, you have lots of ways to get there!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

From Lima, You Can Use 4,500 British Airways Avios Points to Fly to ANY Other Airport in Peru

If you decide to visit Lima, you can visit another city in the country for only 4,500 British Airways Avios points.  So this is a great way to see even more of Peru!

Again, you can use the British Airways award flight calculator to check how many miles you’ll need for each route.

3.   Flights From New York

Even though New York is in the Northeast US, you can still find excellent award prices to South America.  Every non-stop route is a better deal with British Airways Avios points.  You can fly non-stop on American Airlines, LAN, or TAM on routes including:

  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Caracas, Venezuela – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Lima, Peru – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Santiago, Chile – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Visit the Market in Sao Paulo to Buy Fruits and Veggies, Meat, Seafood, Pasta, and More! It’s a Must During Your Trip to Brazil

You’ll have the chance to fly routes on TAM to Brazil, including Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

See Penguins in 1 of the Most Southernmost Cities on Earth, Ushuaia, Argentina, Near Tierra del Fuego

Remember, you can use your British Airways Avios points to fly down to Tierra del Fuego in the Patagonia region of Argentina (and Chile) with your British Airways Avios points. Ushuaia is a great base for exploring the area – or for visiting Antarctica, if you want to keep going south!

4.   Flights From Miami

Folks in Miami have the most options when it comes to visiting South America.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

You Can Use British Airways Avios Points on American Airlines to Fly From Miami to Over 20 Cities in South America

You can fly non-stop from Miami to:

  • Asuncion, Paraguay – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Belo Horizonte, Brazil – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Bogota, Colombia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Brasilia, Brazil – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Cali, Colombia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Caracas, Venezuela – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Curitaba, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Guayaquil, Ecuador – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • La Paz, Bolivia – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Lima, Peru – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Manaus, Brazil – 12,500 British Airways Avios points
  • Maracaibo, Venezuela – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Medellin, Colombia – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Montevideo, Uruguay – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Porto Alegre, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Quito, Ecuador – 10,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Recife, Brazil – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Rio de Janiero, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Salvador, Brazil – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Santa Cruz, Bolivia – 20,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Santiago, Chile – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
  • Sao Paulo, Brazil – 25,000 British Airways Avios points
How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Folks in Miami Can See the Water Lilies in the Vast Brazilian Amazon. Or Visit the Botanical Garden in Rio de Janeiro Before a Trip to the Beach!

TAM has flights to many cities in Brazil.  Remember, to enter the country, you’ll need to purchase a visa BEFORE you leave.

From Miami, you’ll also have access to less-explored South American countries like Bolivia, Paraguay, and Venezuela.

And depending on which route you want to fly, it may be worth it to redeem more British Airways Avios points to connect in Miami.  Because on some routes, you’ll pay fewer points than United Airlines charges, even with the connection!

Which Offer Is Right for You?

Chase Sapphire Preferred

Link:  Chase Sapphire Preferred

With the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, you’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when you spend $4,000 on purchases within the 1st 3 months of opening your account.

This is the highest bonus ever for this card.  And it’s the top card I recommend if you’re new to miles and points.

Chase Ultimate Rewards is my favorite points program.  Because the points are flexible, they transfer 1:1 to airline and hotel partners like British Airways, United Airlines, and Hyatt if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Plus, or (no longer offered) Chase Ink Bold cards.

If you have the Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash cards, you can combine your points and transfer them to any travel partner as long as you have 1 of the other cards!

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

Earn 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards Points per $1 Spent on Travel and Dining, Including the Empanadas You Try in South America

It’s easy to earn Chase Ultimate Rewards with everyday spending.  For example, you can earn up to 15,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points when shopping at Amazon through December 31, 2015, with the the Chase Freedom card if you activated the offer in time.

United Airlines miles might be a better choice if you have to connect, or if you’re in the Northwest or Central US.  With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you’ll have the flexibility to transfer points to United Airlines, British Airways, Southwest, or any other partner that fits into your travel goals.

Chase British Airways

Link:   Chase British Airways – Earn a Total of 100,000 British Airways Avios Points

Chase also has a terrific offer to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points with the Chase British Airways card after meeting the minimum required tiered spending requirements. (EXPIRED.)

With all the points you’ll earn, you could book 2 round-trip award flights to South America, and have plenty left over to fly to Patagonia, Easter Island, or another nearby country.  And remember British Airways Avios points are also fantastic for getting to Hawaii, the Caribbean, or Europe, too!

If British Airways Avios points are more useful for you, consider the Chase British Airways card.  Just be sure you’re comfortable meeting the full minimum spending requirement.  You might also want to open this card even if you don’t want to earn the full sign-up bonus.

Check out my series on how to book British Airways award flights like a pro, and my review of the Chase British Airways card offer to give you more guidance.

Can You Get Both?

Yes, it’s possible to get both!

Keep in mind, Chase has gotten stricter on their approvals for folks who have opened more than 5 new credit cards within the past 24 months.  However, some you may have success opening new Chase cards anyway.  If you have a good relationship with Chase, they may decide to extend new credit to you as long as you have a history of paying your bills on time.

How To Fly To South America With British Airways Avios Points

You Can Get Both! But Make Sure to Apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st, Because Chase Has New Rules About How Many Cards You Can Get

I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st, even if you want both, because Chase’s application rules only seem to apply to cards that earn Chase Ultimate Rewards points and not co-branded credit cards (like the the Chase British Airways card).

It’s also the top card I recommend if you’re starting out with miles and points.

Where to Stay?

Check out my posts about how to get cheap stays or award nights with your hotel points:

Bottom Line

You’ll earn 50,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after meeting the minimum spending requirements with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.  You can transfer your points directly to British Airways and United Airlines at a 1:1 ratio for cheap award flights to South America!

You can use British Airways Avios points for award flights on airline partners American Airlines, LAN, and TAM.  Although you’ll most likely be better off using United Airlines miles if you have to connect, or if you’re farther from where you want to visit (because British Airways charges based on distance flown).

If you’re in a city with non-stop service on American Airlines, LAN, or TAM, you may prefer the Chase British Airways card because you’ll have the opportunity to earn a total of 100,000 British Airways Avios points if you’re comfortable meeting the spending requirements to receive the full bonus.  Depending on where you are, you can pay fewer points with British Airways Avios and stretch them for even more award flights!

You can get both cards.  But keep in mind Chase has tightened up on their approvals, although there have been lots of exceptions.  I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred 1st if that’s your top choice.

Let me know if you’re planning a trip to South America with your miles or points!

* If you liked this post, why don’t you join the 25,000+ readers who have signed-up to receive free blog posts via email (only 1 email per day!) or in an RSS reader …because then you’ll never miss another update!

Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One response to “How to Fly to South America With British Airways Avios Points

  1. “From Santiago, you can redeem more British Airways points to fly around South America on LAN, including to Easter Island or Patagonia!”

    Good luck trying to find one of these flights. I’ve searched for almost the entire next year and haven’t found a single award flight to these destinations. I’ve heard others complaining about this, too.