5 cool 5th Freedom Routes I’m considering flying in South America

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Qatar, Emirates, KLM, Ethiopian, and Turkish all operate short flights within South America. The key is “within.”  Routes like these are called 5th Freedom routes, which refer to the Freedoms of the Air going back to the Chicago Convention in 1944. 5th freedom refers to an airlines ability to operate individual flights that aren’t originating or departing from their airlines’ home country. Not only do these operate flights, but these flights have offer their incredible long haul cabins at reduced rates. Pretty cool, right?

I’m planning a trip to South America in November and have been toying with the idea of using points to fly on one of these airlines depending on the how the trip actually shapes up. Currently, the Qatar flight between Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires looks tempting at just 15k Avios ( 11k Amex with the transfer bonus ), but I’m also tempted to just splurge and fly Emirates First between Rio and EZE and go all out for roughly 50k. You only live once, right? Let’s take a look at the 5 I’m currently considering.

Emirates First Class between Rio and Buenos Aires – 77W for 47,500

Spending almost 50k miles for a roughly 3 hour flight is quite spendthrift, but it is hands down the best way you can fly within South America. If you’re flush with Emirates Skyward miles, or you have a ton of Amex points ( instant transfer ), and you’re looking to make that once in a lifetime experience…or a blogger wanting content 🙂 it may just be the chosen path.

You’ll be able to close your doors and spend time gazing at gold aboard their first class. You can also see that Biz could be had for 35k points

Emirates First Class courtesy of Emirates.com


Qatar’s 77W Sao Paolo to Buenos Aires

Another very attractive option is flying on Qatar’s 77W between GRU and EZE. In fact, it’s probably the most cost effective because you can use British Airways to book it for just 15k Avios and $30. That’s insane and if you combine that with the current 40% transfer bonus to British Airways from Amex – you’re riding pretty well for 11k Membership Rewards. In fact, that’s less than most of these other airlines offer their coach seats for.

You can Fly Ethiopian’s 787-8 Dreamliner between GRU and EZE

Another solid redemption, but quite a bit pricier than Qatar’s option. Ethiopian features diamond business class seats which are completely lie flat and flying in a Dreamliner is pretty fun. Avianca offers an intriguing opportunity because they often sell their miles so cheaply ( even recently as low as 1.375 cents per point ) – that’s just $481 for the 35k points needed to this flight. Not too shabby.

Turkish also flies the same route utilizing their 77W

Turkish offers fully flat, 2-3-2 styled seating, and incredible catering. However, I’m not so sure how much this route will feature Turkish’s best food, but I’m still interested to try it out. I haven’t flown/reviewed Turkish and this would be a fun and different way to give them a go.

courtesy of turkish.com

I’m not planning on going to Chile on this trip, but this KLM flight is pretty cool as well.

I flew KLM business class on another fifth freedom route from Singapore to Bali last year.  Their biz features diamond business class seats, in a 2-2-2 configuration that is comfortable, but rings in quite pricy. The lowest I found on a cursory search around my desired dates was 39k one way + $69.

Which would you choose?

Affiliate link via CardRatings


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

80k offer in branch currently – I think this should be online soon

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

Super solid welcome offer.

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

There is currently an 80k offer after $4k spend in 3 months available in branch, and up to 90k after $6k spend in 6 months. I suspect some version of this will be online soon if you don’t want the hassle of going into a branch.

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 60k is a very, very good offer. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back. .

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


  • Billy October 2, 2018

    Q-Suite will arrive in December and Air Canada had a SCL-EZE flight on their 777 plane!

  • Mike October 2, 2018

    Also, if you’re in South America it’s worth flying from Buenos Aires to Iguazu Falls. One of the most amazing things you will see. One of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World. You can fly using Avios miles

  • Mike October 2, 2018


    What’s the best site to look for these routings?

  • Earl Lee October 2, 2018

    Not worth burning the 50k miles for the Rio to Buenos Aires. Way too short of a flight. JMHO. I have an apartment in both Rio and Buenos Aires so fly back and forth and just too short of a trip to really enjoy.

  • George October 2, 2018

    First and foremost: São Paulo.

    You also forgot the GRU-SCL with Emirates. They started the route with their recent refurbished 772, but right now I dunno if it’s the 77W that’s being used.

    • Miles October 2, 2018

      Didn’t include each and every – just the ones I’m currently considering.

  • Jeremiah B October 2, 2018

    Turkish 77Ws all feature 2-3-2 business class.

    • Miles October 2, 2018

      Ahhh yes, brain fart – corrected

  • David October 2, 2018

    flying the KLM EZE – SCL, booked one way for 401 dollars. Not too bad. Plus you still get the Delft House

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