The Starwood Preferred Guest program is AWESOME overall, and can really come in handy when trying to snag a free rewards tickets to South America. Last week I posted on how to get a great value by transferring your SPG points to airline miles, and a reader commented asking more about the LANPASS program (the frequent flyer program for LAN airlines). This is because the transfer ratio for most SPG points to airline miles is 1:1, but with LAN it is actually 1:2. This means you only need to transfer half of the SPG points required for a free award (i.e., 10,000 SPG points transfers to 20,000 LANPASS miles).
LAN is a South American based airline and is your Oneworld option for flying to/from the continent. Their award chart is pretty simple, however, after reading more about the program it seemed like it can be a little hit or miss. Some have reported that the lower cost mileage redemption typically include stop overs, but it is definitely worth looking into yourself. The award charts are the minimum number of miles required. While the LANPASS program does not seem to be overly simple, if you are willing to put in the time, this can be a great opportunity for a future award redemption trip to South America. Also, since this is a South American based airline, being able to speak Spanish when calling customer service could be helpful.
Per their award chart, you can fly from the US to Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador for 48,000 miles roundtrip. With the 1:2 transfer rate with SPG plus the 5,000 mileage bonus when transferring 20,000 points, you will only need to transfer 20,000 SPG points to the LANPASS program, which is pretty amazing! Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay is 70,000 miles rountrip (or 30,000 Starwood points). To be able to fly to South America from the US for 20,000 or 30,000 Starwood points cannot be beat! You can also redeem your points to fly LAN domestically within the continent. You can view the entire awards chart here.
Some things to know:
- LAN does not allow awards to be put on hold and it can take up to 5 business days for your points to transfer from SPG to LANPASS, so keep that in mind
- Not all routes are available through Lan.com, requiring you to call their Contact Center (1-866-I FLY LAN; Monday – Saturday 9am to 6pm). For these routes the LANPASS service fee will not apply.
- One-way awards are not allowed, however, you are allowed 1 stopover or 1 open jaw on international and domestic routes. For the stopover rule, you this means that you can fly from JFK > Brazil > Ecuador (for example) all one on award ticket without any additional miles or fees. For the open jaw rule, you can fly into one location and out of another, for example, fly into Brazil and out of Ecuador with no connecting flight between the two cities.
If you are able to make this work for you, it can be a pretty great redemption for your SPG points. While I personally am a huge fan of the Cash & Points awards from SPG, I will definitely be looking into this for a hopeful future trip to South America. You can read more about my favorite SPG redemption opportunities in this previous post here.