Wide Open American Availability to South America Before the Devaluation

With American AAdvantage devaluing its award chart March 22 there’s a ton of last minute requests for space.

For quite some time American has been really really tough with award space on their own international flights. However American has been going to lengths to improve their premium cabin award availability. At the end of last year American finally opened pretty good award space on their new Sydney flight. I covered the floodgates opening for award space on London routes. And how they opened up China flying. That was just the start. And they opened up space to Auckland, too.

It seems though that right as the window is about to close to book at current prices, American has shut the window on availability for many of its own flights. But that’s not true in every market.

Want to redeem premium cabin miles at current pricing? Look to South America.

American has been heavily invested in South America and the market hasn’t been performing well. Seats are empty. In some cases awards are plenty.

Under the new award chart,

  • Business class between the US and ‘South America 2’ goes from 50,000 to 57,500 miles each way. That means two people roundtrip would spend an extra 30,000 miles starting March 22.

  • First class between the US and ‘South America 2’ goes from 62,500 to 85,000 miles each way. That means two people roundtrip would spend an extra 90,000 miles starting March 22.

You’ve got an opportunity to book now at current pricing. Remember that you can put an award on hold in most cases for 5 days without ticketing. (Which gives you the opportunity to lock in an award before transferring points or buying points to top off an account.) You want to ticket before March 21, and there are several changes you can make to awards after that without triggering a reprice of the award.

Here’s Miami – Sao Paulo in business class for 6 passengers.

Note that American flies both Boeing 777-300ER and Boeing 777-200 aircraft on this route. You want to the 777-300ER. That has fully flat business class with direct aisle access. The 777-200s they’re using are scheduled to have the old, unreconfigured angled business class product.


American Boeing 777-300ER Business Class


American Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Here’s Dallas – Sao Paulo in business class for 6 passengers.

American operates a Boeing 777-300ER (‘the good plane’) on this route.

Here’s New York JFK – Sao Paulo in business class for 6 passengers.

American operates a Boeing 777-300ER (‘the good plane’) on this route.

It’s not just Sao Paulo with great availability. Here’s Miami – Santiago for 2 passengers in business class.

And here’s first class for 2 passengers on the Miami – Santiago route.

You’ll see similar space on New York JFK – Santiago. So try the South America routes you’re interested in.

Looking for instruction on how to make the most of your American AAdvantage award? Here’s the Ultimate Guide to Booking Award Tickets Using American Miles.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Glad you pointed out that the reason these flights are available is they are having a very tough time with flights to SA

  2. AA was not having a tough time on our recent flights..DFW-EZE and SCL-DFW.
    2 of us EP’s traveling. On OB leaving LAX I UG’d on DFW-EZE during counter checkin. By the time we arrived in DFW flight was “oversold” in J by 2 while F was open with 5 seats. It was late Feb and I had some SWU’s set to expire on 29th so we convinced 3 people in AC to allow us to UG them from J to F and then my wife could UG to J.(Huge kudos to Cyndy in Term D AC for making this “creative situation” work.)
    On return just this week SCL-DFW I UG’d 24 hours or so before.The wife ,also EP was a “battlefield”UG 10 mins before door closed.Some guy no-showed so1 seat opened. I think the only reason the agent processed it so late was there was a long Standby list and they could sell her seat. So this was a 100% full flight
    Full disclosure. OB flight was 4 days before a cruise departing EZE while return was on same day as disembarkation from a cruise.

  3. I wish they would release space for January. We’re trying to get out of EZE on 1/12. There’s nothing, and it’s almost a month past when that date would normally have been made available. After supporting the merger and being an EP, this just feels tacky and inappropriate.

  4. @Tom: to be fair, getting in/out to/from EZE around December-January was always tough.If you are EP, book something to EZE as far out as you can and keep checking availability. If something opens up, change it at no fee or cancel. I always go there for Christmas/New Year and had better luck finding TAM/LAN than AA. Good luck!

  5. @Tom: I was curious, so went and check some option. You can book EZE-SCL-JFK on LAN using AA miles on January 17th (not sure if you can stay a day longer in EZE). EZE-SCL will be in Y but SCL-JFK is on LANs 787 in J. Availability is showing on BA.com so AA agents should have no issues booking this. If you are in the West coast, there’s also availability SCL-LAX on the 17th 🙂 Hope this helps!

  6. @Tom: Ok, for some reason I read 1/16 and not 1/12 😮 In any event, you can find EZE-SCL in Y on the 12th continuing on SCL-JFK in J on the 787 (via Lima).

  7. @Tom: I’ve been stalking EZE reward space back to the US (either JFK or MIA) for the better part of a month now, waiting for availability to open since we want to travel on Jan 14 or 15. Seems like they are opening space on the EZE-MIA day flight one day at a time – so you might get lucky for Jan 12 if you check back on Saturday. That said, some days never became available. And the day flight is an old 777, so angled business (2-3-2).

  8. The truth is American Airlines is not making any any space available to South America (Brasil) in First Class on their new planes. Business yes. It is the same with Europe. As a result 100% of my paid flight will go to foreign carriers. I guess this is not news to anyone reading this most interesting blog. Stepping over a dollar to save a dime…

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