The pandemic was the ideal time to earn miles and plan a future trip, but also a headache for those who are they beat and they could not exchange them for air tickets due to border closures and flight cancellations.
The three most popular shows in Argentina are Latam Pass,Plus Airlines and Smiles of the airline Gol. Since 2020, they have all taken steps to relax their expiration policies and try to adapt to a world, in which traveling is not so easy.
Today, with a slightly more encouraging outlook for the tourism industry, what can be done to make the most of this benefit?
The miles allow you to fly to national and international destinations. Photo Shutterstock.
From Smiles, they launched the extension and reactivation. The first option allows all customers who have miles to expire, to extend their validity for another 30, 60 or 90 days. The operation can be repeated.
Reactivation allows you to recover past due dates that were not used by the customer regardless of the amount. They will be valid for a further 12 months.
In addition, Smiles offers Easy trip, a service that allows that without having miles, you can freeze the price and book a ticket up to 11 months in advance. The total is paid 2 months before traveling.
A plane of the Brazilian airline Gol. Their mileage program is Smiles.
You can choose between the 100% mileage redemption modality or pay a part in pesos. At the time of booking, a service fee plus the ticket’s own taxes must be paid. In the event that the buyer changes his mind, he may cancel it and the expenses will be reimbursed.
From Aerolineas Argentinas they affirmed: “We extended the expiration of miles and categories of the partners whose expiration occurred between March 31, 2020 and August 31, 2021. The new expiration date is December 31, 2021.”
In Latam Pass, a program that has more than 6 million members in the country, the decision was extend flexibility policies for airline tickets redeemed with miles. Passengers who want to make changes to tickets purchased from July 1, 2021, may change the date and destination once without paying a fine, paying the difference in fare, if necessary.
Latam Airlines relaxed its mileage expiration policies.
“You can see that people really want to travel and we can verify it by the amount of emissions that we had in the last weeks. The miles are still highly valued by travelers and many are already planning their future trips, “they said from Aerolineas Argentinas.
What to do with the miles
According to the sources consulted, the most requested destinations within the country are Bariloche, Córdoba, Mendoza, Ushuaia and Iguazú. Of the international ones, the most chosen is Madrid. New York, Miami and Cancun are also among the favorites.
The passenger quota imposed by the national government as a measure to stop the pandemic, was reflected in the exchange of tickets. According to Smiles, these winter holidays, the most chosen destinations were national.
“In cabotage the partners are traveling without problems. On international flights, tourists are planning their future itineraries ”, explained from Aerolíneas Plus, which has three million members.
Aerolineas Argentinas plane at Miami International Airport. Photo Eva Marie Uzcategui / Bloomberg.
Depending on the class and the date to travel, to the United States it is possible to get round-trip tickets from 40,000 miles, from 50,000 for Europe and 12,000 miles plus taxes per section within the country.
The spokespersons consulted agree that there is no destination that suits more than another at the time of issuing the tickets using the benefit. It depends on many factors such as the season, the demand, the anticipation. From Smiles they suggest to be attentive to all promotions.
Aerolineas Plus members can only change their miles for tickets. However, the other two programs mentioned offer other options that can be helpful in these times when many prefer to stay at home and others do not want to experience the bitterness of being stranded abroad.
To make better use of the miles, you have to be attentive to the offers of each program. Photo Shutterstock.
Latam Pass allows you to use them to buy products and services from your own catalog or on items available on Amazon.com. They also serve to upgrade the cabin category on the plane, in hotels, for car rentals, in Shell fuel and lubricants.
Smiles customers have the possibility of using them at Shopping Smiles. It is a store with travel items, sports, technology, appliances, among others.
On the other hand, if you do not want to use the benefit, the miles can be transferred to another customer.
Myths about mileage programs
Since Smiles – has 18.5 million adhesions around the world – they detect that there is a ignorance general information about these plans.
Some believe that to register it is necessary to pay or have flown on the loyalty program airline. This is not like this. Nor is it true that tickets can only be redeemed on the airline to which the program belongs, since they have alliances with other companies.
Various misunderstandings keep people away from mileage programs. Photo Shutterstock.
Others consider this system to be for frequent travelers. In truth, miles are not only accumulated by traveling. They can be purchased and transferred. The points of allied banks also serve to add.
“We noticed that the programs are gaining more and more popularity among Argentine travelers, who see them as a new way to save and plan their next trip”, explains Carla Fonseca, CEO of Smiles Argentina, which in 2019 issued more than 6.3 million air tickets.
And he adds: “Part of this is due to the false belief that issuing a ticket in miles is complex, for a few who travel frequently, or that they will not find a ticket for the date and destination in which they want to fly. All this it happens because of a great ignorance ”.