5 Cheap Ways to Fly Business Class to South America (with Fewer Points + Miles)

by Global Viewpoint
Business class flight soaring over Rio de Janeiro
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Looking to fly business class to South America without breaking the bank? You’re about to hit the jackpot.

During the past seven years as a professional travel blogger, I’ve seen some amazing business class deals from the US to South America. Recently, I even flew business class on a leg of my trip to Argentina…for nearly 70% off. Keep reading to discover my top 5 tips on how to save money while flying business class to South American countries in 2024!

Flying to South America can often be expensive and inconvenient. After all — there’s not a whole lot of direct flights from US cities, so travelers often have to settle with having multiple layovers. I’ve been there and done that – hacking my way to cheap flights with no-name budget airlines and tight layovers. Not fun! However, with the right tips and tools, you can fly to South America in style.

From taking advantage of travel rewards programs to choosing the right airlines and cities to fly into, I’ve uncovered some great strategies to travel as far, wide, and affordable as possible. I’ve also discovered some incredible ways to find cheap business class fares.

In this guide, we’re diving into the 5 top ways to fly business class to South America in 2024. Whether it’s the sizzling streets of São Paulo or the majestic peaks of Patagonia that draw you in, I’ve got the expert tips to get you to South America on budget. Let’s explore them together!

Tips for finding business class tickets to South America on a budget
Get ready for these tips on how to fly business class to South America for cheap

1. Sign up for the Elite Version of Going.com

For the past 4 years that I have been a member, Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) has been my #1 tool for finding flight deals.

What exactly is Going? It’s a membership site and app that helps you find best-value flights from the US to anywhere around the world. When you subscribe to their alerts (which you can receive via email or, if you download the app, push notification), you’ll get notified whenever deals pop up. This includes mistake fares and points and miles deals that you won’t find anywhere else.

There are three versions of Going – LimitedPremium, and Elite. If you’re looking for business and first class deals around the world, you’ll want to sign up for the Elite version. Last year, I saved over $3k on an Emirates Business Class flight thanks to Going. So, it cost me slightly more to fly business than a regular economy to Southeast Asia!

Using Going, you can expect to save thousands on luxury travel. For savvy travelers, it’s absolutely essential to have!

2. Take advantage of miles with the best business class airlines to South America

One of the most effective ways to save on business class flights is by using credit card reward points or airline miles. Though before signing up for as many rewards cards and programs as possible, you’ll want to know the best airlines that fly to South America in 2024.

Right now, there are many great airlines that fly from the Continental US to cities across South America. This includes Aeromexico, American Airlines, Avelo, Aviance, Azul, Copa, LATAM, United, and more.

At a quick glance, here are some ideas on how you can use miles for the major airlines that fly to South America from the US.

Miles programs by airline

  • Aeromexico: As a member of SkyTeam, you can use Delta SkyMiles on flights to South America. I’ve seen flights as low as 100,000 miles one-way to cities like Buenos Aires and Santiago.
  • American Airlines: As a member of the AAdvantage program, American lets you earn and use miles flying with American, Oneworld, and partner airlines. Expect to budget 30,000-55,000 miles on a one-way business class flight to various South American destinations, including Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo.
  • Avianca: As a member of Star Alliance, you can use Aeroplan or United miles on your flights to South America. For business class flights, you can expect to need between 35,000-65,000 United miles. Note that Avianca is based in Colombia, though it offers many connections through hubs like San Salvador and Panama City.
  • LATAM: As a member of Oneworld, you can use AAdvantage miles to fly with LATAM. I recently flew from Boston to Santiago with LATAM and saw deals around 40,000 miles each way. Note that LATAM also offers bidding on cash upgrades for flights, which also come out pretty cheap compared to other airlines.
  • United: Using United MileagePlus, expect to fly to Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru for 30,000-35,000 miles each way.

With so many solid options, you’re probably wondering: which airlines offer the best business class service? And where can you actually find good deals? Here’s my #1 choice that I recommend:

My top airline pick for flying business class to South America: LATAM

Based in Santiago, LATAM Airlines is South America’s largest airline and a key player on the global stage. It’s a member of the Oneworld Alliance, connecting passengers to over 140 destinations across South America, North America, Europe, and Oceania.

I’ve flown to South America with LATAM from Miami and NYC. And each time, I’ve been thoroughly impressed by their exceptional service and the comfort of their cabins. The fully flat beds, tasty dining options, and the added privacy make for a luxurious experience.

The ability to fly direct to cities like São Paulo and Santiago (ranging from 8 to 10 hours) is incredibly convenient, offering a seamless gateway to the wonders of South America. This direct access is a game-changer, especially when compared to the hassle of transiting through hubs in Central America.

LATAM boasts an extensive network of routes from the US. You’ll find multiple daily flights from major hubs like Miami, New York (JFK), Los Angeles (LAX), and Orlando. Plus, their connectivity within South America is unmatched, making it easy to explore further once you’ve landed.

LATAM Pass

The LATAM Pass program is particularly appealing for frequent flyers. It’s partnered with major rewards programs like Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards, allowing for easy points transfer. You can also earn and redeem miles with Oneworld Alliance members. Transferring rewards points to LATAM Pass can unlock business class flights for as low as 45,000 miles one-way, offering tremendous value for those looking to travel in style and comfort.

Again- I highly recommend signing up for Going Elite to see each airline’s miles and points deals. While members will receive alert emails for deals, you can also search for them directly on the Going website or download the app and get push notifications.

LATAM plane flying over Machu Picchu
Fly business class to South America with LATAM

3. Fly during low season (July)

According to Momondo, July is the cheapest month to travel to South America in business class. Expect to save 25-30% on business class tickets during this timeframe. The next cheapest months for air travel to South America are May and October.

Why are business class fares so cheap in July? The main reason is a lack of demand. During the summer months in the northern hemisphere, many travelers opt for trips to destinations in the US and Europe. They save big trips to South America for when the weather gets cold and it’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere (December through March).

Graph showing prices of business class flights to South America
Graph showing business class flights by month | courtesy of Momondo.com

4. Fly direct to one of South America’s most accessible airports

For many years, getting to South America wasn’t cheap or easy. In fact, the only way to get to iconic places like Machu Picchu or Iguazu Falls was by taking multiple layovers – often early morning or late night flights with short stopover times. You’d have to fly to Miami or NYC, then hop over to Panama before continuing on to your final destination in South America.

Thankfully now, flying direct to South America has never been easier. This is thanks to a wide range of airlines offering non-stop flights from the US to some of the continent’s most accessible airports. Whether you’re looking to explore the vibrant streets of Buenos Aires, the breathtaking landscapes of Santiago, or the cultural richness of São Paulo, there’s a direct flight option for you. I recommend filtering flights with Skyscanner or Google Flights to see your options.

Here’s a breakdown of the most accessible South American cities, the airlines that fly to them, and from which US cities you can depart.

Buenos Aires, Argentina (EZE – Ministro Pistarini International Airport)

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines
  • From US Cities: Direct flights are available from Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). American Airlines frequently services this route, offering daily flights from Miami and New York, while Delta and United provide regular services from their respective hubs.
  • Recent deal: JFK to Buenos Aires for $2,085 roundtrip

Santiago, Chile (SCL – Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport)

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, LATAM Airlines
  • From US Cities: You can fly direct from Miami (MIA), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Atlanta (ATL), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK). LATAM Airlines, being the flagship carrier of Chile, offers the most extensive service. They include daily flights from Miami and New York. American and Delta also offer competitive options, with Delta operating from Atlanta and Los Angeles.
  • Recent deal: Orlando to Santiago for $1,663 roundtrip
Flying over the Andes
Flying business class over the Andes

São Paulo, Brazil (GRU – São Paulo/Guarulhos–Governador André Franco Montoro International Airport)

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, LATAM Airlines
  • From US Cities: Non-stop flights are available from Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), Houston (IAH), and Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW). American Airlines has a strong presence on this route, offering multiple daily flights from Miami and New York. Delta and United also provide daily services, with United flying from Houston and Delta from Atlanta.
  • Recent deal: Fort Lauderdale to São Paulo for $2,144 roundtrip 

Bogotá, Colombia (BOG – El Dorado International Airport)

  • Airlines: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, JetBlue Airways
  • From US Cities: Direct flights are available from Miami (MIA), Orlando (MCO), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), New York (JFK), Atlanta (ATL), and Houston (IAH). American Airlines offers several daily flights from Miami, while JetBlue serves the route from Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. Delta and United also offer regular services from their hubs.
  • Recent deal: Miami to Bogotá for $595 roundtrip

Lima, Peru (LIM – Jorge Chávez International Airport)

  • Airlines: American Airlines, LATAM Airlines, United Airlines
  • From US Cities: You can fly direct from Miami (MIA), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Los Angeles (LAX), and New York (JFK). LATAM Airlines provides the most comprehensive service, with daily flights from Miami and New York. American and United also offer direct flights, with United operating from Houston, a major gateway for travelers from the central and western United States.
  • Recent deal: Chicago to Lima for $1,455 roundtrip

These direct flight options not only save time but also offer a more comfortable and convenient way to explore South America. With a range of airlines to choose from and several US departure cities, planning your South American adventure has never been easier.

5. Monitor fare sales and mistake fares

Sign up for fare alert services like Going or use tools like Google Flights or Hopper to monitor price trends for business class tickets. Airlines occasionally run sales for specific routes or periods.

Occasionally, airlines publish incorrect fares due to human error or system glitches. Again, Going is a great resource for this. Other websites like Secret Flying or The Flight Deal can alert you to these mistake fares, though they aren’t as personalized or high quality in my opinion.

  • Pro Tip: To avoid having to spend hours upon hours looking for cheap business class flights to South America, I highly recommend signing up for Going. While the free version is great for continental US economy deals, the Elite version is what you’ll need to find best-value business flights, including credit card points and airline mile deals.
Ideas on how to get cheap business class flights to South America
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