In July/August we noticed that Gol Smiles has withdrawn their availability of Korean Air awards without any prior announcement but now it seems to be back!
Back in August, John wrote about the matter as one of our readers brought up the question (see here) and concluded that it might either be an intentional blocking on either side (Gol or Korean) or a technical malfunction between the two airlines allowing them to scan for award inventory.
Since then I randomly searched for connections between Bangkok/Hong Kong/Tokyo and Seoul using the Gol Website, and today I was successful at locating space from Bangkok to Seoul on various dates, both short notice and further in advance.
Korean Air is one of the last remaining sweet spots in the GOL redemption list and I’m more than happy that this option is back on the table.
Why did the availability disappear and suddenly came back?
There are multiple possible reasons for that and we will never know exactly why. As John noted before it could be intentional or technical.
Gol Smiles had been on a selling spree with all these mileage sale promotions going on which we covered extensively here on LoyaltyLobby and at some point the airline will get billed for all the awards booked on a partner carrier. If this bill isn’t paid properly then this might also provide grounds to suspend award availability at least temporarily until the matter is resolved. Not saying this is what happened here but to be honest it wouldn’t surprise me.
I have always maintained the position that you should only buy Gol Smiles if you have immediate use for them and availability is visible on the website. This way you can avoid being hit with last minute suspension of award partners, blocking of availability or increase of award levels.
Even if there is no current sale for GOL Smiles you have the option of enrolling in Clube Smiles which is a monthly paid subscription that comes with a set amount of miles every month (1,000 / 3,000 / 5,000 Miles) at a decent rate. Mind you that a Brazilian Tax ID Number is required to sign up for this.