South American oneworld Airline LATAM is Leaving the Metric System, Kilometers Become Miles January 3rd

South America’s LATAM, the combination of LAN and TAM, is moving their LATAM Pass frequent flyer program from kilometers to miles effective January 3.

Somehow this is supposed to “make your experience with us even better” by converting everything from kilometers to miles at a ratio of 1.6 to 1.

They became a revenue-based program for earning redeemable miles from flights and for status earning this past January. And they basically copied US programs on the mileage-earning side, adjusting up the number of points to reflect kilometers versus miles. Now they’ll be awarding 5 miles per dollar instead of 8 kilometers per dollar.

I understand Delta, United, and American continuing to call their currency miles for legacy reasons even though they’re earned based on spend rather than distance traveled.

However it seems strange to me to decide proactively to call your already-revenue based currency miles.

(HT: BoazHershkovich)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. Not to mention that there’s Latam Pass (former LAN Pass) and Latam Fidelidade (former TAM Fidelidade)… I still cannot believe how awful this whole Lan + Tam integration has been.

  2. Miles make as much sense as kilometers for flying purposes because conversion isn’t an issue – you’re not going to need to know how many meters your flight route is. It’s simply a question of 500 miles or 800 kilometers.

  3. Beside Brazilian carriers I believe that the Chinese carriers still use kilometers instead of miles. Maybe they’ll start to convert over to miles soon.

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