Denis passes along this Brazilian video talking frequent flyer miles to both me and to Ben.
The main character is traveling with his wife and kids using miles. They each have to travel separately, using circuitous routes to get to Miami. (“Yeah, I got lucky that bus service is now part of the Star Alliance…”)
His wife is going by donkey to Maceio.. He’s going Galeao – Guarulhos – Campinas – Belem – Bogota – Mexico City and taking a ferry to Miami. The newborn gets a truck ride straight to Miami! He’s been planning this trip since ’97…
The return trip, that’s not booked yet, they’ll get home eventually but in the meantime he’s arranged work in Miami. (Perhaps frequent flyer mile capacity controls are at the root of illegal immigration? What public policies would that imply?)
In general I find that TAM doesn’t offer much premium cabin award space, and intra-South American award space is rarely available when schedules open but gets much better as travel dates approach. Gol availability is tough. LAN’s availability is much better, and if you’re willing to fly Aerolineas Argentinas…
Ultimately this seems more perception than reality, and though the Avianca Lifemiles website is decent for making bookings overall telephone customer service across South American frequent flyer programs is really bad — making “hang up, call back” both even more important and even more frustrating.
This video has gotten nearly 3.5 million views, it’s funny (to me) but it isn’t that funny, so it clearly hits a nerve..