TAM Airlines is the biggest airline in Brazil, and part of the LATAM Airlines Group, which was created when LAN Airlines merged with TAM in 2012. For the most part, the airlines still maintain separate operations, but they are slated to fully complete the merger in 2017.
TAM currently flies to 67 destinations in 18 countries, including three cities in the United States: Miami, New York and Orlando.
The carrier’s loyalty program, TAM Fidelidade, has a few excellent redemption options in its generally complicated and expensive award chart. The best values are for domestic economy awards within Brazil, and for flights throughout South America.
POINTS TRANSFER PARTNERS
- Brussels Airlines
- Shenzhen Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
- South African Airways
- Turkish Airlines
- São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport
- Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport
- Brasília International Airport
You can use TAM Fidelidade points on TAM and LAN Airlines on its subsidiary TAM Airlines Paraguay and with oneworld alliance members. TAM also has several of its own partners, including ANA, Air China, Austrian Airlines, Brussels Airlines, Lufthansa, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, Swiss and Turkish Airlines.
- Good redemption rates on flights within Brazil and South America
- A lot of airline partners
- One-way awards available
- Mixed-class awards allowed on round-trip flights
- Up to a $200 fee for changing flights or redepositing points
- Complicated award charts
- No U.S.-based transfer partners or co-branded credit cards
The best redemptions in the TAM Fidelidade chart are for domestic awards in Brazil. They cost 5,000 to 8,000 points each way. Considering that Brazil is the fourth-largest country in the world, this can be a terrific bargain.
Award flights between Brazil and other South American countries are also a good deal. Tickets cost 7,000 to 10,000 points each way.
Another valuable redemption is for flights between North America and Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand and almost a dozen South Pacific and French Polynesian islands. Tickets cost only 60,000 points roundtrip.
All business and first class awards are overpriced. For example, a round-trip flight between the U.S. and South Asia costs 320,000 points in first class.
You can use points to upgrade your cash ticket on TAM and partner airlines. You can only upgrade one class, from economy to business, or from business to first.
TAM Fidelidade has an entry-level White status and four elite levels: Blue, Red, Red Plus and Black. To qualify for elite status, you must obtain the following points or flights per year:
- Blue: 15,000 points or 15 flights
- Red: 50,000 points or 50 flights
- Red Plus: 100,000 points or 100 flights
- Black: 150,000 points or 125 flights
Every level includes the benefits of the previous level.
- Blue: 25 percent bonus points on TAM and LAN flights; 10 kg excess baggage or one extra piece on TAM flights; Ruby status on oneworld flights, which includes priority check-in, waiting list and seating
- Red: Preferential redemption rates on national and international flights; 75 percent bonus points on TAM and LAN flights; priority check-in, boarding and baggage handling on TAM and LAN flights for member and companion; access to VIP lounges for member and companion; 20 kg excess baggage or two pieces on TAM flights; Sapphire status on oneworld flights, which includes access to premium class lounges and priority boarding
- Red Plus: Upgrades from economy to business class, depending on availability; 100 percent bonus points on TAM and LAN flights; Emerald status on oneworld flights, which includes check-in at first class counter, access to first class lounges and fast-track through security
- Black: Priority check-in and boarding on TAM and LAN flights for member, family and one guest; access to VIP lounges for member, family and one guest; personalized customer phone service; Emerald status on oneworld flights, including priority on waiting lists and excess baggage allowance
TAM Airlines does not offer a co-branded credit card for U.S. residents.