Christmas in Argentina courtesy of a Delta low award? No, I am not hallucinating.
I saw a news item that new SkyTeam member Aerolíneas Argentinas launches daily nonstop Buenos Aires to New York service on December 15.
The flight is daily:
- AR 1300, Buenos Aires (EZE) – New York (JFK) 23:59 – 09:04 (1)
- AR 1301, New York (JFK) – Beunos Aires (EZE), 15:20 – 04:40 (+1)
Delta.com does not support Aerolíneas Argentinas and some 3rd-party sources such as wandr.me and Expert Flyer only can access economy awards, so the best tool I have found is Air France’s website, which requires free registration of a Flying Blue account.
Pull up their award calendar and be bathed in a sea of green Classic Awards, which are the low price awards available to Delta. Flex Awards are not bookable by Delta. From December 15 onward business class is wide open, and economy class is nearly so. Prior to December 15 you will find some Classic Awards for connecting itineraries, most commonly through Mexico City on AeroMexico.
December JFK-EZE economy:
December JFK-EZE business:
December EZE-JFK economy:
December EZE-JFK business:
I called in to Delta to verify availability and my test dates all matched the Air France display.
Air France charges for a roundtrip:
- 50,000 miles + $111.72 in economy
- 125,000 miles + $111.72 in business
Delta charges for a roundtrip:
- 60,000 miles + $77.32 in economy
- 100,000 miles + $77.32 in business
Air France and Delta are transfer partners of American Express Membership Rewards. Air France has one-way awards for half the roundtrip price, while Delta charges the full roundtrip.
Those with Chase Ultimate Rewards can in theory transfer to Korean Air. Do lots of research and steel yourself for agony if you try to book with them.
Aerolíneas Argentinas has an extensive domestic network in Argentina that can be added to an award. Ushuaia for Antarctica cruises, etc. LAN serves many of the same destinations but with extremely limited award availability for certain routes. Many domestic flights operate out of Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (AEP) so build in a few hours for connections from EZE.
Aerolíneas Argentinas also serves a number of international destinations in Brazil and some other South American countries, plus has flights on to Europe and to Sydney. Sydney has virtually no award availability. From the US, they also fly out of Miami, which currently has much less award availability than New York.
Since Delta splits its award chart into Northern South America (45,000 in economy, 90,000 in business) it may be possible to book an award from New York-Buenos Aires (stopover)-Bogotá/Caracas/Lima-New York.
Note that citizens of Australia, Canada and the United States must now have proof of online prepayment of the reciprocity fee to enter Argentina.
What is Aerolíneas Argentinas like to fly? I have no idea. Reports are decidedly mixed and weighted to the negative. For me, though, the appeal of a nonstop over potentially connecting on other airlines outweighs what might be an inferior in-flight experience.
The difficult thing with Delta for those not in the New York area is to get positioning flights. A US domestic mid or high award segment will inflate the whole price. Look for revenue tickets or awards on other airlines.
Christmas in Argentina courtesy of Delta. Imagine that!