How to Book South America Awards on TAM With Partner Miles

TAM is a Brazilian based airline with good coverage of South America as well as non-stop flights from Miami and New York to Brazil. We can redeem plenty of other miles on TAM flights, including US Airways Dividend Miles, American Airlines AAdvantage Miles, British Airways Avios and Lufthansa Miles & More. The tough part is that most partner search engines will not show award availability on TAM. To reserve award space, you have to know where to search and how to book.

Where Does TAM Fly?

TAM flies all over Brazil as well as many destinations in South America. There are also non-stop flights to both Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro from New York and Miami. This is a great way to get to South America or travel around once there.

TAM Airlines Route Map

TAM Airlines Route Map

How We Can Use Other Miles On TAM

TAM is a member of oneworld and has additional partners. We can redeem miles of the oneworld partners:

  • US Airways
  • British Airways
  • American Airlines.

For any of these miles programs, we can mix flights on TAM with other oneworld partners as well. As an example, if we are redeeming American Airlines miles, we can mix award space on American Airlines, US Airways, LAN and TAM to construct the perfect itinerary. We just have to find low-level award space on all these airlines. For the remaining oneworld partners, you can find the award availability on the British Airways website as well and then call the customer service line for US Airways, British Airways or American Airlines to book.

In addition, even though TAM left the Star Alliance, it has retained its relationship with Lufthansa. This means we can still redeem our Lufthansa miles on TAM flights along with other Star Alliance partners. To redeem Lufthansa miles to South America, you can search on the British Airways website for TAM availability and on the United Airlines website for the remaining Star Alliance partners. I previously gave a full explanation on how to leverage the Lufthansa award chart to visit many cities: How To Visit Four South American Cities on One 60,000 Lufthansa Award (and No Fuel Surcharges!)

The Steps to Finding And Booking Award Availability

To search for award availability, it’s best to visit the British Airways website. US Airways, American Airlines and Lufthansa will not show award space for TAM although you can book seats if you call customer service for any of these miles programs.

To start the search, just visit the British Airways website. You do need a British Airways Executive Club Avios account to search for availability, but it’s free to join. Once you’ve logged into your account, click on Executive Club and then Spending Avios. Then click on Book Flights with Avios on the left hand side.

Spending Avios on British Airways

Spending Avios on British Airways

On the next page, I will have a chance to type in cities and dates and the award availability will come up. You can scroll through adjacent dates at the top and you will also see availability for Economy, Business and First Class at once.

Availability from New York to Rio de Janeiro on TAM

Availability from New York to Rio de Janeiro on TAM

The award space you find on the British Airways website will be available to the other miles programs for which TAM is a partner – American Airlines, US Airways and Lufthansa. Don’t pay attention to British Airways pricing for the TAM flights as each miles program has its own pricing. Just write down the flight number and call customer service for the miles program you’re actually using to book the flights.

Planning a trip to South America soon? Here are some more posts on how to get there with miles:

Comments

  1. marua says

    Would you please give us your idea how to book reward flights from LAX to Tahiti, Bora Bora and Morea? We are United Platinum with lots of miles and that’s the place we would like to go kite surfing but United does not fly there. Air Tahiti Nui does, but when we wanted to use Air New Zealand a partner in Star Alliance they told us there are no award flights. Your expert suggestion would be greatly appreciated. We want to use our miles before they get less and less value. Thank you for your great work. Marua

    • says

      If you would like to use United miles, then Air New Zealand is certainly a good way to go. Customer service agents are not very good at locating award availability at all so it’s best to search yourself on the United airlines website – most of the time, when you call customer service, they won’t be able to find anything. You can fly from Los Angeles to Auckland on Air New Zealand and then proceed to connect to Tahiti from there. Award availability is not abundant, but it is there – as an example, there is plenty next Spring and it’s generally good to book several months in advance.

      • marua says

        Great advice. Thank you so much. We have been flying with United since the merger but are considering to change after we use our miles. We fly 10-12x each year between LAX and HNL (Honolulu) and few additional flights here and there. But this year we got a shock of our life time after we purchased several upgrades to our tickets to HNL during booking but were told that our $600.00 extra per ticket we paid does not count towards our new PQD requirement. We were just shocked because our tickets were issued as first class tickets and we were trying to have additional spending to qualify for 1K because we will have the miles but now it looks like we will be short the dollars spent to qualify. We already bought our tickets for the next 6 trips. I use United Presidential Plus Card so do not have to be concerned since I will be Platinum but not 1K but my husband does not have his own United branded card, maybe I should get him one for the rest of the year so he can qualify. I enjoy your posts and information and am learning a lot. Thank you for all what you do to educate us to get the most for our hard earned dollar which is getting harder and harder.
        Aloha.

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