Brazilian airline TAM has pretty much never released first class award space, occasionally I saw seats when they first joined Star Alliance but more or less not at all since then.
So it was a surprise to see reports that the floodgates had opened. First class seats are now (either by change in policy or mistake, and I cannot say how long this circumstance will last) being released in droves.
They fly from New York JFK, Miami, Orlando and Mexico City to São Paulo. They also fly from New York JFK and Miami to Rio de Janeiro, but that’s with a 767 that doesn’t offer first class.
Their 777s offer a new first class product with just one row of 4 seats. Some flights are on A330s with an older first class product.
Here’s current availability for 2 passengers in first class, New York JFK – São Paulo, in September (a month I picked for no particular reason):
To redeem for flights between North America and São Paulo and beyond,
- You can use 67,500 Aeroplan miles each way (and no fuel surcharges). Aeroplan is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner, and points transfer instantly.
- You can use 70,000 United miles each way (and no fuel surcharges). United is a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner, and points transfer instantly. The price of South America first class awards went up only 2500 miles each way with the MileagePlus devaluation.
- You can use 125,000 US Airways miles roundtrip (and no fuel surcharges). You can make bookings with US Airways miles for Star Alliance travel on TAM through March 30th, with travel to occur any time through the end of schedule. US Airways lets you put awards on hold for 3 days, and you can buy any needed miles to top off an account once the award is already held.
- You can use 62,500 American miles each way (and no fuel surcharges). TAM is, after all, moving over to oneworld and is an American Airlines partner. American allows 5 day award holds.