Many months after Delta made waves by stealing LATAM away from American Airlines with a 20% stake and partnership, you can finally use your Delta SkyMiles to fly LATAM to South America.
Delta had promised this ability starting April 1, and the airlines have already rolled mileage earning rates – so you can earn SkyMiles and build Delta status when flying LATAM, and vice versa. But it took some time for those LATAM awards to become available through Delta.com. Those awards are now available.
Delta is charging 25,000 SkyMiles each way in economy for LATAM flights between the U.S. and South America. That means you could book round-trip flights to Sao Paulo (GRU), Buenos Aires (EZE), Santiago de Chile (SCL), and beyond – even into smaller destinations throughout South America – for just 50,000 SkyMiles round-trip plus taxes and fees.
Wary of booking future travel right now due to coronavirus? SkyMiles are one of the best ways to book, as you can cancel any trip booked by May 31 and get your miles and fees back for free.
That's a pretty good deal for flights that typically cost $800 or more – especially deeper into South America. And the award space for these economy flights is wide open throughout the fall and into 2021, so it should be fairly easy to book at these rates. For reference, American typically charges 60,000 AAdvantage miles for a round-trip flight to much of South America.
Unfortunately, we couldn't find a single LATAM business class seat via Delta. If award space ever opens up, it's probably safe to assume these flights will cost somewhere between 70,000 to 100,000 SkyMiles each way.
Thrifty Tip: Set on flying business class? Look into using Virgin Atlantic miles to fly Delta One – Virgin charges just 45,000 miles each way to fly Delta business class down to South America.
How to Book
Booking flights with partner airlines is one of the best ways to use your Delta SkyMiles, and this is no exception. While the rates for Delta flights can be all over the map – and often exorbitantly high – thanks to its dynamic award pricing, prices are more predictable when booking partner airlines. There's still a (hidden) award chart for these partner redemptions, which keeps the prices stable.
And the real beauty of these LATAM redemptions is the fact that they're not just good for nonstop flights from outposts like Miami (MIA), New York City (JFK), Boston (BOS), and Los Angeles (LAX). Even for one-stop or even two-stop journeys from your hometown airport, you can still pull up itineraries for 25,000 SkyMiles each way, flying Delta to one of these major hubs before making your way south.
All that matters is that your long-haul flight is on LATAM – that's what determines the award rate for the entire trip.
This is where the real value lies. Round-trip flights from Fargo (FAR) to Lima (LIM) or Santiago de Chile (SCL) would typically cost $1,000 to $1,500. Start by searching at Delta.com for one-way awards from your hometown to your final destination in South America.
Thrifty Tip: Especially with these more complicated itineraries, use Delta's “Price Calendar” when searching for SkyMiles bookings to find the dates that work.
Read our guide on how to pile up Delta SkyMiles.
Delta partnering up with LATAM opened up some new ways for loyal Delta flyers to get to South America.
At 50,000 SkyMiles for a round-trip deep into South America in economy, this could be a great little sweet spot for using your SkyMiles.