Freddo yesterday covered a rather attractive fare from Lufthansa that has been around for a while, however, previously with more restrictive stopover rules.
Although Covid-19 is still creating havoc in Latin America, countries have started to open up and allowing international arrivals with or without a negative test (Ecuador and Colombia) or with insurance (Brazil).
When I buy airfares, I pay attention to the routing, stopover, HIP, and flexibility rules.
These are often difficult to pull up on airline websites, and hence you need to rely on third-party tools such as Expertflyer that I subscribe to, regardless of its ownership.
There is the business fare (P) for $1,200 and the first one (A) for $2,100.
I always look for interesting routings. This fare allows transiting or having a stopover in Toronto, Montreal, Washington, San Jose, Panama, Miami, Mexico City, Cancun, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, or Buenos Aires.
Fares are usually routing based, while there are occasionally mileage-based ones as well. Even when the routing table shows many options, it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily bookable due to an airline not operating the route or fare rules.
Stopovers & HIP
You always need to have a look at the stopover rules. What is in the routing doesn’t matter if the fare itself won’t allow stopovers OR doesn’t waive HIP (Higher Intermediate Point).
This fare allows stopovers each way for 100 euros each and waives any HIP pricing.
The fare also allows flexibility.
I use a competent travel agent to book complicated tickets such as this or around the world ones. I checked the availability and emailed what I would like to book.
I got a reply and asked him to issue it. The electronic ticket was soon in my email inbox.
Where to credit?
I have lifetime status with United and 800K miles sitting in my MileagePlus account.
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles are useful for SQ redemptions, but their booking interface for partner awards is atrocious. I have 150K sitting there and another 200K+ coming when I convert my HSBC points to SQ (only reasonable option in a country where that account is based).
My Aegean Miles+Bonus account would earn 50K+ miles (I only credit flights there), or this ticket would get me a SAS Eurobonus Gold status.
I’ll likely choose Aegean.
I understand that reading routing and fare rules can be a daunting experience first, but this is something that you need to do to understand what is allowed and possible and what is not. I didn’t learn this overnight either, but it has been a rather long 20-year process.
The business class P-fare is also available on Swiss that would allow crediting flights into a more significant number of Star Alliance frequent flyer programs. Lufthansa’s P, however, is toxic, and you need to be very careful when buying a discounted business on that airline. Swiss’ routing options aren’t as good as Lufthansa’s.
I rarely buy “traditional” return fares regardless of the price (unless I toss the return away) because I am not into mileage runs. I instead buy fares that allow me multiple stopovers and offer flexibility. Most recently, I have flown on Oneworld RTW-fares. They are not cheap but have worked for me.
I had been eyeing similar Lufthansa fare previously that had a similar routing table, but which didn’t allow stopovers or only one.
I count on porteniros forcing the Argentinean government to reopen the border before the summer travel season in the Southern Hemisphere is in full swing. This Lufthansa fare allows me to reroute the return via Mexico, among other destinations, if Argentina doesn’t open up before December.
Even though this ticket is from Paris to Colombia, nobody forces you to spend most of the time in the destination country unless you want. I like Bogota, but will perhaps revisit Medellin (been there only once) or Cartagena (been there twice or thrice).
So, I paid 2,600 or so Euros for this ticket that earns perhaps 600 euros worth of miles (net cost in my mind 2K), and Lufthansa First class is usually a lovely experience, although the First Class Terminal in Frankfurt is currently closed. I certainly could have chosen business too, but the price difference and the higher number of miles earned justifies first.