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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
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.
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?
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