As the newest member of the Oneworld alliance, TAM Airlines is open for business to Qantas frequent flyers who can now earn and burn points on the Brazil-based airline.
Earning rates on TAM flights are relatively easy to understand – the base rate pulls in one Qantas point per mile flown, with a 25% bonus in business class and a 50% bonus in first.
As such, Qantas frequent flyers can now earn points for travel on TAM-coded domestic and international flights at the following rates:
The only unique footnote here is fares in the W booking class (or 'fare bucket') earn points and status credits only on Brazilian domestic flights, but amass nothing on the airline's international flights.
How many points could I earn?
On the economy-only hop from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, you’ll earn roughly 210 Qantas points and 10 status credits for an hour of your time.
If you’re heading further afield, things start to pick up – Frankfurt-São Paulo reels in roughly 6,073 points in economy, 7,591 points in business and a cool 9,109 points in TAM’s exclusive, single-row ‘living room’ first class cabin.
On that flight, Qantas frequent flyers would also grab 240 status credits in row one, 160 in business class and 40 status credits down the back.
TAM doesn’t have a premium economy cabin, so there’s no middle ground between business and economy.
However, these rates are set to change from July 1 2014, as an overhaul of the Qantas Frequent Flyer program takes effect.
While the new points earning rates haven't yet been released, the number of status credits earned will be slashed on TAM and Qantas' other Oneworld partners.
The new rates see that São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro flight pulling in just five status credits in economy, while the Frankfurt-São Paulo leg drops to 210 status credits in first, 140 in business and 35 in discount economy.
Booking a Qantas points-earning fare on TAM
Unfortunately, you won’t be able to spot your booking class on TAM’s website, so matching fare types to booking classes gets a little complicated.
However you choose to book, we’d advise against the Mega Promo fares – TAM doesn’t even award points to its own frequent flyers on these tickets, so expect this fare type to house any non-earning fares for Qantas frequent flyers:
If you avoid these cheapest fares, you’ll enjoy a nice little bonus on your travels – Qantas is paying out double points on TAM Airlines flights taken between now and May 31, welcoming the airline into the global alliance.
To earn these extra points, you'll just need to register for the promotion and fly before May 31, with points taking up to six weeks to arrive in your Qantas Frequent Flyer account.
Burning Qantas points on TAM flights
Naturally, Qantas frequent flyers are now free to spend their hard-earned points on a sojourn with TAM Airlines – from the longest of journeys to the most brief.
Perhaps one of the shortest hops is that hour-long journey from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro – available for 10,000 points in the main cabin.
Also from our earlier examples was the Frankfurt-São Paulo route, which would set you back 50,000 points in economy, 92,000 points in business or 134,000 points in that relaxing first class lounge room – while the same cost applies São Paulo to Paris and Zurich.
You’ll save a few extra points by choosing Madrid over these European destinations: economy can be snapped up for 42,000 points and business class for 78,000, while first class would set you back 114,000 points in each direction.
Flights between São Paulo and New York can be had for just 35,000, 65,000 and 95,000 points, respectively.
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