What’s Happening At GOL Smiles – Is The Program Still Worth It?

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It’s been a while since we’ve written about GOL Smiles, their promotion and award options so I thought it’s worth it to have a quick look again to reflect on the program.

Gol SmilesGOL Smiles made headlines last year when they ran the famous 200% Bonus Promotions for mileage sales that could be used for high yield redemptions on Qatar Airways First Class.

Essentially back then the story was that you could fly from Asia to the Middle East and North Africa for 32,500 GOL Smiles in First Class which was roughly 250 EUR after promotional price of the miles. Part of the deal was that GOL did not price First Class as a separate category from Business Class and essentially it turned out to be the same price.

Well it was fun while it lasted and it didn’t take very long until either GOL, Qatar Airways or both decided to crack down on this loophole and blocked out Qatar Airways First Class altogether. On top of that GOL recently lifted the award charts in some regions.

If we focus on the Middle East to Asia since that is the one which made the news before here we go into the detail:

QR DOH-BKKThe Doha to Bangkok redemption used to be available for 12,500 Miles and is now 25,000 Miles in Economy, up by 100%. The Business Class rate went from 32,500 to 47,500 so was upped a whopping 15,000 Miles, just below 50% increase.

In February I wrote about a redemption I was able to work out using GOL Smiles to Mongolia (access our Award Success article here) which still made good sense to use the miles.

Apart from that I don’t think that there are many outstanding deals anymore in the GOL award chart even with ongoing promotions. On top of it most GOL Smiles purchase promotions now require a Brazilian Taxpayer ID Number which is personalized and has to be applied for. Some report that they were able to generate a random number through an online number generator.

A big plus for me was when GOL added Korean Air as partner as this drastically improved the options within Asia. The addition of Air Canada is good to see as well even though I didn’t find their redemption pricing all that lucrative.

Conclusion

There are still decent redemption options available such as last minute one way awards to/from expensive destinations (such as my Mongolia example or flights ex Japan) and I continue to keep my Clube Smiles Subcription active which adds 5000 Smiles every month for roughly 40$. That’s a very reasonable amount considering 15k is an Economy Flight within Asia (32,500 in Business).

As with all loyalty programs it’s my firm opinion to not hoard large amount of miles without having an immediate use for them. I have at least 3 friends who lost all or part of their GOL Smiles because they bought them in a frenzy and then didn’t find ways to use them up.

Last but not least… let’s not forget that this is for those of us who never ever fly GOL or credit flight activity there but purely purchase the points!

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