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Aerolineas Argentinas decided to join SkyTeam back in 2010. Normally the process of joining an alliance takes from 12 to 24 months. The process was completed today when the Argentinean flag carrier was officially welcomed to the alliance. You can read the press release about the joining here.

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From today all SkyTeam member airline frequent fliers can redeem and earn miles on Aerolineas Argentinas flight.  The same benefit apply for Aerolineas Argentinas frequent flier members on all SkyTeam member airlines. You should always check that the ticketed fare class is eligible for mileage credit. This often varies from airline to airline.

Route Network

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Aerolineas Argentinas has extensive route network within Argentina.

aerolineas-argentinas-international-route-map

The airline also serves 19 international destinations in 14 countries. The most interesting is the one from Buenos Aires to Auckland and continuing to Sydney. The airline has fifth freedom rights to carry local traffic for the Auckland-Sydney segment.

Argentinian Financial Problems

Argentina is again going through some financial difficulties. The current president nationalized and raided some pension funds. The inflation rate published by the government is fantasy and they have enacted “laws” to punish those that disagree with the official figures. The official currency rate is also unrealistic. The rate is about 4 pesos to USD but you can get close to 7 pesos in the unofficial market.

Eventually this financial turmoil will lead to a significant devaluation of the peso.  Aerolineas Argentinas probably has a significant amount of their revenue in other currencies so it doesn’t necessarily affect them

SkyTrax 3 Stars

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I don’t normally pay too much attention to the SkyTrax ratings, but they are not very favorable for the Aerolineas Argentinas. The Airline is listed as having an “official” 3 star rating.

Conclusion

It is good that Aerolineas Argentinas is now officially a full member of SkyTeam alliance. The only problem is the unstable financial and political situation in Argentina.

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The latest member of SkyTeam Saudia should be a SkyMiles partner at the moment, but is entirely missing on Delta.com. The future member of SkyTeam Aerolineas Argentinas, however, is a SkyMiles partner already. The two Indian airlines that are SkyMiles partners; Kingfisher and Jet Airways are both going away as partners on this coming October.

Saudia

Saudia joined the SkyTeam on May 29th, 2012. Delta SkyMiles SkyTeam wide status benefits, when it comes to priority check in and lounge access, should now apply for flights taken on Saudia. Also, earning and burning of SkyMiles should be possible, but Delta’s website doesn’t have any mentions of Saudia on its partner page.

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Saudia has a very good coverage in the Middle East and on the Indian Subcontinent. There are quite a few restrictions on transfers and whether you need a visa or not. This makes Saudia more complicated partner for transfer purposes. Always check Timatic first.

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Aerolineas Argentinas

Aerolineas Argentinas became Delta’s partner for earning and redeeming SkyMiles in May. Aerolineas Argentinas is also set to join the SkyTeam alliance later in the year, when all the benefits associated with the SkyTeam status would apply for Aerolineas Argentinas flights.

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There is a list of eligible fare classes for mileage accrual on AR that is divided between Domestic, Regional, and International. Lower fare classes earn very little on domestic and regional flights, but you might have better luck on international flights.

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Aerolineas Argentinas was renationalized back in 2008 and is till bleeding money. According to an Associated Press article the airline received $200 million in subsidies in the first quarter of 2012 alone.

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The airline flies to Miami and Mexico City in the North America, and Madrid, Barcelona, and Rome in Europe. This will help with using SkyMiles for travel to/from South America. The only drawback is that you need to call to make an award reservation if it involves AR.

Kingfisher & Jet Airways

Delta is terminating its partnership with Kingfisher on October 1st and with Jet Airways on October 15th. Normally you can make redemptions until the partnership ends as far in the future as the schedule is open.

delta-kingfisher

It is really not a surprise that Delta is ending the partnership with the Kingfisher. The airline has been in huge financial turmoil this year and has ceased all the international operations. They had few planes repoed at airports. Not nice. Right now they only operate in domestically in India using less than 20 airplanes.

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It is sad, however, to see that the partnership with Jet Airways is ending. It is one of the better Indian airlines and, although it is going through some financial difficulties, they are nowhere as bad as Kingfisher’s.