- American Airlines Admirals Club New York JFK
- LAN Business Class: New York to Lima
- LAN Economy Class: Lima to Cusco
- Machu Picchu
- LAN Economy Class: Cusco to Lima
- Radisson Decapolis Miraflores
- SUMAQ Lounge Lima
- LAN Business Class Lima to Easter Island
- Easter Island
- LAN Business Class: Easter Island to Santiago
- LAN Neruda Lounge Santiago
- LAN Business Class: Santiago to Lima
- LAN Business Class: Lima to New York
- Yotel New York City
- American Airlines Transcontinental Business Class: New York to Los Angeles
This is a trip report for a trip I took in 2012, courtesy of British Airways and American Airlines miles. Both BA and AA are in the OneWorld Alliance and you can use those miles to fly on South American partner LAN (without fuel surcharges with Avios). A lot of folks recently booked cheap LAN business fares to Chile, so this might be a useful trip report for them as well.
Before the British Airways Avios changes, the BA Executive Club had a gem of a redemption for South America. One-way was 20K in coach or 40K in business to anywhere in South America with unlimited stopovers. The kicker was that you could only fly on one partner. Since LAN covers almost all of Western South America with various country hubs, this made exploring the continent very easy with a number of stopovers.
However, the new British Airways Avios points are great for short-haul redemptions for which a paid ticket would be very expensive. Since their new chart is distance based, a trip that is sub-650 miles each way is only 9K Avios round-trip. This means that the Lima to Cuzco route, which hit prices of $380 roundtrip for my dates, cost only 9000 Avios + $13. Once the Avios changes hit, I booked this.
Lastly, since AA’s chart allows for 30K business one-way from northern South America to the U.S. with a free stopover at the North American gateway city, I booked my return using AA with a stopover in New York, using Avios to get from Santiago to Lima.
I ended up using 40,000 (old) BA miles for New York to Lima (stopover) to Easter Island (stopover) to Santiago (destination), 9000 Avios for Lima to Cuzco roundtrip, 10000 Avios + $100 for Santiago to Lima one-way, and 30000 AA miles for Lima to New York (stopover) to Los Angeles. All in all, I paid under $280 in taxes/fees for airfare.
If you wanted to replicate this fare today, it would cost 40,000 Avios for a business class one-way from New York to Lima; 25,000 Avios for a business class one-way from Lima to Easter Island; 25,000 Avios for a business class one-way from Easter Island to Santiago; and 50,000 Avios for a business class one-way from Santiago to New York. Flying in Economy would cost half the number of Avios.
LAN is the only airline that flies to Easter Island. They fly pretty regularly from Santiago and Papeete, and seasonly to Lima (during the Southern Hemisphere Summer). I chose to fly from Lima because that meant I could avoid paying the Chile Reciprocity fee, which was $141 at the time and collected only upon international arrival at Santiago airport. I eventually arrived at Santiago on a domestic Chile flight from Easter Island.
During the Southern Summer, flights from Lima to Easter Island are only 2x a week (Wednesday and Sunday mornings), so you’d have to plan a trip around catching that flight. It’s pretty open for award seats, with at least 6 seats on each flight in both coach and business. The only limiting factor is that the flight is flown 2x a week for only about 3 months.
In order to position from L.A. to New York to begin the trip, I used a $150 voucher I had from Delta. I won’t post a trip report on that since it was a normal Economy Comfort transcon flight.
The itinerary was as such:
02/05/12: LAN 531, New York to Lima, 10:15pm – 6:00am (+1), Business
02/06/12: LAN 2047, Lima to Cuzco, 09:05am – 10:10am, Economy
02/10/12: LAN 2019, Cuzco to Lima, 07:05am – 08:30am, Economy
02/12/12: LAN 848, Lima to Easter Island, 01:15am – 07:00am, Business
02/17/12: LAN 842, Easter Island to Santiago, 02:05pm – 08:30pm, Business
02/21/12: LAN 530, Santiago to Lima to New York, 09:00pm – 08:00am (+1), Business
02/26/12: AA 181, New York to Los Angeles, 04:30pm – 07:45pm, Business