45K business class to South America: LATAM sweet spot via Alaska Mileage Plan


The Frequent Miler Party of 5 challenge has been plugging forward on an epic trip meant to highlight sweet spots and opportunities for those looking to travel with a group of 4 or 5 people. After Team Tokyo’s adventure wrapped up, Tim and I took over as Team San Francisco (as SFO was our starting point). Tim and I flew the entire team to two countries/cities in South America in business class for just 45,000 miles per passenger. What’s more is that all five of us really enjoyed the experience of flying on LATAM.

Party of 5 Day 8/9

Sweet spot spotlight:

  • The short story: Alaska Mileage Plan charges just 45,000 miles each way in business class to/from South America on LATAM (note that with the new award chart, that pricing is not guaranteed, but LATAM flights continue to price at 45K so far. Note also that Alaska offers a free stopover on a one-way award, which can make a terrific value and an exciting sweet spot given LATAM’s reach across South America.
  • Miles required: 45,000 one way + ~$19 one-way departing the US (plus some additional taxes with a stopover)
  • How to find awards: Search at AlaskaAir.com
  • How to book awards: Book at AlaskaAir.com

More detail about why this is a great sweet spot

Alaska offers a standout value for travel to South America at just 45,000 miles one-way in business class from the US. That’s a great deal even if you’re just traveling to one destination (particularly if you’re trying to reach far stretches as we did), but the deal compounds further since you can include a stopover on a one-way award and see two destinations of the price of one.

In our case, Tim found a nonstop flight from Los Angeles, California to Santiago, Chile on a date that worked perfectly for the challenge. This is a 10.5hr flight that would cost just 45,000 points and $19 for a flat bed business class seat. (The dates below are a future example rather than being from the dates we flew).

a screenshot of a flight schedule
In our case, we found business class availability for 5 passengers on the nonstop flight from LAX and that one appealed to us because it would land early enough to get in a full day of activities.

As seen in the screen shot above, it is possible to book a nonstop flight at 5pm or one that leaves at 9:10pm and makes a stop in Lima. There is also an itinerary that connected in Lima.

In our case, we wanted the nonstop from Los Angeles to Santiago because it would arrive in Santiago early enough to get in a full day’s activities. As it turned out, our day of activities didn’t work out as planned (if you’re not familiar with why, you should be checking out our Instagram page).

But more interesting yet is that we could have continued on from Santiago to other destinations in South America. LATAM serves quite a range of destinations from Santiago.

a map of the south america

Of course, Santiago wouldn’t have been our only option. We could have alternatively flown to Lima and enjoyed a stopover there before continuing on to one of the many destinations that LATAM serves from Lima.

a map of the world with points and lines

As you can see, LATAM’s reach across South America gives you an exciting number of options.

We booked our itinerary with a stopover, first flying from Los Angeles to Santiago and then after about 36 hours in Santiago, we continued on to Buenos Aires. We only moved on from Santiago so quickly because this challenge is limited in time (none of us can spend an unlimited amount of time away from our loved ones). In reality, you could (and certainly should) spend more time in Santiago. As I’ve said before, the purpose of our trip isn’t to set a blueprint that you should follow but rather to provide a framework you could easily adjust as per your own preferences.

In our case, the next destination after Santiago is Buenos Aires. To read more about what we did with our first day in Santiago (and to keep up with whatever is next), you’ll want to check our Daily Update post and follow us on Instagram to see our stories and reels.

How to book the 45K LATAM business class sweet spot with a stopover

Again, while this award chart sweet spot would stand on its own for 45K miles one way, the thing that made it stand out for the purposes of our challenge was the ability to get to two different destinations on the same one-way ticket without it costing any additional miles.

Alaska allows a free stopover on a one-way award. Typically, you can only stop over in an international hub on a partner airline. Also note that Alaska will only allow one partner on an award — at most, you can fly on two airlines on a single award: one partner airline plus Alaska Airlines. As an example, you should be able to fly from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Alaska Airlines and then continue on LATAM to South America on a single award. For those following our Party of 5 challenge who would wonder why we didn’t do that, the answer is that we weren’t quite fast enough. We originally saw award space for five from San Francisco to Los Angeles, but by the time we got around to booking it, that space was gone. So, we booked the itinerary starting in LAX, hoping that saver space would eventually open up on Alaska and we could then add the first leg later. We also booked a flight from San Francisco to LAX on Southwest as a failsafe in case space never opened on the Alaska flight. It’s good that we did as that backup flight is what we ended up having to use for the challenge.

When it comes to booking your stopover itinerary, you can either:

  1. Book your itinerary with a free stopover online (works in many cases)
  2. Book your itinerary with a free stopover with a phone agent (works in some cases where online bookings won’t work)

Booking online can be relatively painless.

For instance, to replicate our routing from Los Angeles to Santiago and then on to Buenos Aires (but with a longer stop in Santiago), you could simply go to AlaskaAir.com and on the home page choose an “All search options”.

a screenshot of a computer

Then choose a “multi-city” search and enter your desired city pairs and dates. Once you hit “search”, you’ll find results like those below.

screens screenshot of a computer

In our case, we put together the second combination you see above — Los Angeles to Santiago on LATAM flight 603 together with Santiago to Buenos Aires (AEP) a few days later on LATAM flight 425.

You might be confused by the airport code used above. Some frequent travelers are likely familiar with the main Buenos Aires International airport, which uses code EZE. However, Tim found that Buenos Aires also has a smaller airport located closer to the downtown area (we made it from the airport into the city in about 15 minutes, though you should probably budget 20ish depending on your driver and traffic conditions.)

As you can see above, that itinerary could be booked for 45,000 Alaska Airlines miles and $44 (the taxes are higher because of the stopover). You’ll also notice that all of the options shown above are mixed-cabin bookings (indicated by the little blue chair next to the business class totals). That’s because there is no business class on the flight from Santiago to Buenos Aires. The good news is that we got an exit row and the flight came with bonus awesome sunset views of the Andes Mountains as we flew over them.

a view of mountains from an airplane window

We found it relatively easy to find space for 5 passengers, though not always on the nonstop.

a screenshot of a computer screen

Also keep in mind that LATAM flies from Miami, and 5 seats from Miami are also pretty easily doable.

a screenshot of a computer

Once again, space for 5 passengers on the nonstop flight isn’t always available, but sometimes it is.

a screenshot of a flight schedule
This is space for 5 passengers on the nonstop from Miami to Santiago.

It’s worth mentioning that right now is winter in this part of the world, which may make it more or less appealing for you. Temperatures these days have been brisk (in the high 50s or low 60s during the day). Still, whenever you want to go, this can be a good technique to leverage to get you there.

Our experience on LATAM in business class (FM team summaries)

LATAM Business Class

LATAM turned out to be great. Each of us was really pleasantly surprised with LATAM for different reasons (and perhaps for different purposes). I’ll summarize the feedback from each team member as follows:

Greg: This is perfect for a daytime flight (he didn’t feel it offered enough privacy for a night time flight). There was ample leg room, the food was good, and the service was friendly.

Stephen: This was one of my top 3 business class experiences ever. The catering was so good that I enjoyed eating everything on my tray, the temperature in the cabin was comfortable for sleeping (i.e. not too hot), the mattress topper and seat were comfortable in lie-flat mode, and the blanket was the perfect thickness.

Tim: LATAM was surprisingly good. There was ample leg room and unlike many business class seats, that leg room was at a constant width rather than narrowing at the footwell (which is especially important for taller passengers like Tim).

Carrie: I loved the LATAM flight. It felt private enough (I think her point was that in lie-flat mode, your head is shielded on both sides by the seat, creating a cocoon of sorts for your head even though your body is clearly visible). The layout also made it really easy to talk to your seatmate.

Nick: I was very pleasantly surprised by LATAM business class. The seat was quite comfortable, the service from my flight attendant was very warm and friendly, and the catering was surprisingly good. I slept well despite the fact that I woke up one time to my seatmate stepping over me (in this 2-2-2 configuration, the people with window seats do not have direct aisle access). I also liked the open cabin — the lack of a wall at the entry doors made the cabin feel brighter and more welcoming, though I imagine it could be a problem if one half of the cabin or the other might disturb your sleep.

More pictures

a plane with seats and a television
The cabin felt open and airy.

a man sitting in an airplane

a bed with white sheets and a bag on it
I included this picture of the bedding rolled up (right side) because of the headphones, which are on the left side but which I’d have not seen if not for the fact that Greg found them first.
a plate of food on a table
Squash ravioli with eggplant and a salmon appetizer, which was my meal choice. There was also a beef tenderloin dish and a fish dish. Everyone reported that they enjoyed their food more than expected.
a plate of food on a tray
For breakfast, I had a waffle with berries and jam, a small fruit plate (that was more melon than I’d like(, a croissant, coffee, and juice. It was a good start to the day (and ended up being the last thing I ate for the next 12 hours).
a room with a bed and a table with a lamp
Once it was time to get some shut-eye, the entire team was able to get at least some sleep (given the 5pm timing of the flight at 6:30am arrival 10 hours after departure, that isn’t necessarily conducive to a full night of sleep for everyone, but at least everyone got some amount of sleep.
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This looks amazing. How did you guys get so many Alaska mikes?


We just came back on an Alaska/LATAM redemption. 3 Business class tickets from São Paulo to JFK with a 2 day stopover in Lima for 45k each. We got both legs in Business on a 767-300 and 777-300. The cabins and seats were newer than the pictures in the article. Cabin had a 1-2-1 layout. Entertainment was provided through a large screen. Service was ok but the seats/beds were great. https://spy.box.com/s/80t5r1s3l0kkty8xbwgtornjwbl9zvdw


Is this LATAM flight bookable with any other currencies? (BA, etc)


I am not seeing any multi-city functionality with the second leg of SCL to IPC. That’s despite both one way segments being bookable with miles and same class. Alaska rep can’t make it work either on LATAM. Any suggestions?

Tim Steinke

This is one of the things that we ran into as well. The LATAM – Alaska functionality isn’t great and we found a bunch of availability that would show up individually but not connecting, or vice-versa. Sometimes, a phone rep could piece it together, but usually, no dice.


So how did you get yours to ticket? did you only book what you could do directly online or did you HUCA until an agent was able to ticket what you wanted?


Other than California and Florida, the only LATAM options are JFK & BOS, right? Do you know if they are as nice business class hard products as what you got on this trip? Or are they older planes?

Mel P

But there’s no transferable currency to Alaska Airlines besides hilton,ihg, and marriott


Very helpful!

George the Blogger

Elaine we miss you


Thanks! I’m around but mostly stepped back some. Hope you and yours are all well!


What tool are you using to look at all the flight options from each destination on Latam?


I found lots of award space on Alaska’s own site which is a recent change as not too long ago you needed to call them directly.
POA-GRU or LIM-BOG for 12,500 miles each way with a stopover in LIM or GRU.

Last edited 1 year ago by Michael

I meant the map that shows all the LATAM flights originating from Santiago or Lima. Looks like a nice tool and I haven’t seen that before.


The site is flightconnections. I think FM has used that before. It is also in their resource page.

George the Blogger

Everytime i see the hats your waring, I think of the Netflix Series Lilyhammer and the co-star character Torgier.

George the Blogger

wearing of course nat waring, I blame my keyboard

George the Blogger

not nat but not

Gorge the Blagger

nat not bat nat


I thought Alaska eliminated the rule that allows only one partner per award flight. Could have sworn that happened within the last year. Am I misremembering? Useful report here. Getting to South America on points is tricky and this gives me ideas, especially for how to do it from DC (hence the one partner rule is important, since I would need AA to get to Miami or NY or would need a positioning flight).

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