When I wrote about the GOL Smiles miles sales with 200% bonus last week (read more here), I didn’t think that I would end up buying the maximum allowed.
GOL is a Brazilian airline that is partly owned by both Delta and Air France-KLM. The airline is partner with number of other airlines including Qatar Airways, Etihad, TAP and Aerolineas Argentinas.
What caught my eye was the comment left by a LoyaltyLobby reader:
I wouldn´t speculatively buy miles from them, as they have a history of making unannounced changes to their chart, but there a few bright spots that may be worth to buy their miles
and burn immediately: Asia-Asia (which includes Middle East and even Egypt) cost 12,5k in economy and 32,5k in business or first class on some partners (you can´t mix first and business class). The only partner worth redeeming miles on this area is Qatar.
So for about U$ 250 you can book a business class ticket from Doha to NRT, BKK, DPS,
Better yet, all Qatar´s Middle East flight are marketed as economy or first class and they are releasing space on first class on DOH-BKK route, so for the same U$ 250 you can book a first class ticket from BKK to DXB, CAI, AMM… with a change of planes in DOH.
They charge 100k from Asia to North or South America, so for about U$ 750 you can book a
business class ticket on Qatar from/to Asia to/from JFK, MIA, DFW, GRU, EZE…
You can have a stopover on the same destination region, so if you book something like
JFK-DOH-NRT you can have a stopover in DOH (this is only bookable by phone).
Play around and you may find some great bargains.
So, I decided to check out the Smiles. Registered for an account and purchased the miles. Note that the website and Smiles buying process is mostly in Portuguese, but not that difficult to figure out.
There is no note anywhere during the buying process that buying 40,000 Smiles would give you 80,000 bonus.
An email arrived almost instantaneously telling that I had accrued 80,000 miles. After logging out and then logging back in, the account reflected the correct 120,000 miles.
Then I spend some time with Smiles award search (access here):
– Delta domestic US awards were pricing 12,500 miles one-way including to/from Hawaii
– Aerolineas Argentinas awards in South America are also priced very nicely. Buenos Aires to Caracas in Executive Class is just 22,500 miles.
– Qatar Airways also a good choice. The awards both business and economy are reasonably priced. One-way from Bangkok to Sao Paulo is 100,000 miles in business class.
– I also checked TAP, Air France, Etihad and KLM but didn’t see anything worthwhile on these airlines, although there could be….
Buying GOL Smiles make only sense if you have immediate use for them. The 80,000 bonus miles expire in just 6 months. There are, however, some deals to be had if you plan to travel in South America or using Qatar Airways.
Remember that GOL can change the program and number of miles required for partner awards at their whim.
I am going to be in South America later this year and probably could use some Smiles for flights on Qatar Airway.