LATAM will exit the Oneworld airline alliance sooner than expected, with the departure date being brought forward from October 1 2020 to May 1 2020.
Oneworld has confirmed the revised schedule, which will now mean that all Oneworld-related perks for travel with LATAM will cease from the end of April.
"Oneworld benefits for LATAM customers will be offered on oneworld flights up to and including 30 April 2020," the alliance says.
This also narrows the gap for using frequent flyer points or miles in any Oneworld member airline's loyalty program to book an award seat on LATAM, with the last date such tickets can be booked now being 30 April.
However, you won't be eligible for Oneworld status benefits if your travel takes place after 30 April 2020 – this includes creature comforts such as lounge access, priority checkin and boarding, and any additional checked luggage allowance.
That said, a number of Oneworld airlines "plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April," the alliance notes, and suggests that travellers "contact their airline for more information".
In another wrinkle, LATAM Pass members will not receive any Oneworld frequent flyer benefits offered by Royal Air Maroc, which joins Oneworld on April 1, 2020, nor will LATAM offer Oneworld frequent flyer member benefits to Royal Air Maroc Safar Flyer members.
LATAM's decision to leave Oneworld followed Delta Air Lines' decision to buy a 20% stake in LATAM worth US$1.9 billion to create a major partnership between the North and South American carriers.
It also opens the door to LATAM jumping across to SkyTeam, of which Delta is a founding member.
“This alliance with Delta strengthens our company and enhances our leadership in Latin America by providing the best connectivity through our highly complementary route networks,” said LATAM CEO Enrique Cueto Plaza.
As part of the deal, Delta will acquire four Airbus A350 aircraft currently flown by LATAM and will take ownership of ten additional A350 jets to be delivered from 2020 to 2025.
Oneworld frequent flyer points and perks with LATAM
Through to 30 April 2020 there'll be no change to frequent flyer arrangements between Qantas and LATAM – including the earning and redeeming of points, airport lounge access and other perks for frequent flyers
This includes benefits for Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald cardholders of Oneworld alliance airlines when travelling with LATAM, as well at LATAM's own tiered frequent flyers.
Approached by Executive Traveller for comment, a Qantas spokesperson confirmed that “there are no changes to our codeshare with LATAM as a result of recent announcements.”
“Qantas and LATAM have agreed that the bilateral agreement we have works well for customers and we will look for opportunities to enhance it in future.”
However, once LATAM formally leaves Oneworld, Qantas will no longer issue status credits for LATAM flights.
LATAM – previously two airlines, Chilean LAN and Brazilian TAM – has an interesting history with airline alliances.
LAN Airlines joined Oneworld back in 2000, and by 2007, had also brought three of its its South American affiliates under the Oneworld banner, including LAN Peru, LAN Argentina and LAN Ecuador.
TAM, on the other hand, joined rival Star Alliance in 2010, merged with LAN in 2012, quit Star Alliance in 2014 to join Oneworld instead, and alongside LAN, both airlines were rebranded as LATAM in 2015, a Oneworld alliance member.
Additional reporting by David Flynn