Looking to make a trip to South America next April to tick off some bucket list destinations being Brazil, Argentina and Peru. I have a stash of Velocity/Krisflyer points (about 200000 velocity points in total) and am looking for the best way to fly home business class that also isn’t too taxing in terms of flight duration.
Looking at redemptions through Singapore Air directly, they fly from Sao Paulo to Sydney however via Barcelona, which ends up being about a 35 hour trip on the quickest flight. Virgin Australia is returning much the same result also. I even looked at flying out of LA but the redemption requirements were ridiculous (over 1 million points on some days). Is there any other options I might be missing, or are these the best pick of the bunch?
Questions about getting to South America are becoming very popular on this forum! I guess everyone has the same experience as me where they research and then realise there is no easy way to use points to get there from Australia! You should read back over the last few posts to get more information.
You’re correct in pointing out that the Sydney>Singapore>Barcelona>Sao Paulo is one of the few options that has availability, but takes a looong time. The best thing about this route is it costs so few Krisflyer points (~90,000) whereas similar options cost at least double. However, given you have Velocity points, the only real option I can think of is to fly from Sao Paulo to Abu Dhabi to Sydney on Etihad. This still takes about 28 hours, but is 10 hours less than the Singapore option! I am pretty sure Virgin will price this as two separate awards rather than one, which means it will be about 95,000 points per flight plus some small taxes. Etihad has really good availability on both these flights, as long as you can book ~330 days out.
Air NZ (a partner of Virgin) does fly from Auckland to Buenos Aires, but I know very little about Air NZ and (1) how many Velocity points it would cost and (2) whether Air NZ make any award seats available. You’d need to research this separately.
I’m assuming your LA option is costing millions of points because you can’t find any saver availability and are instead finding standard cost redemptions? If you find saver seats this would cost fewer points but is quite a difficult redemption to find.
If you’re finding it hard to get availability and/or don’t have enough points, another strategy you could consider is using LifeMiles. See the article here for a good run-down by our local PH LM expert, Michael. (Full disclosure: I’m and admirer of LM, but not an expert!)
It would be 85,000 miles one-way in J from SYD-GRU, using the Star Alliance network. so 170,000 miles return (which might end up different as it sounds like you’re not exiting from Brazil?).
But, as a starting price, 170,000 miles at a really good sale will be around $3,000 including taxes in business class. Not bad, eh? Availability is pretty good on SA too.
LM isn’t all that user-friendly, but very powerful, Read and re-read the article above, and then feel free to ask more questions if you think it’s a viable option.