LATAM is the latest airline to join the party for revenue-based earning rules in its loyalty program. The carrier announced the changes this week and they will take effect on 1 January 2017. And if you thought that it was not possible for the programs to make elite qualifying any more complicated under a revenue-based program, well, you’d be wrong. LATAM has even more options now and keeping track of qualification progress will likely prove challenging, especially for travelers flying on a variety on airlines and types of flights.
For award mile earning the numbers are generally the same as what the US-based carriers have adopted with a base of 5 miles per dollar (converted to 8 kilometers because that’s how the LATAM program measures). From there different status tiers wearn more, with the top tier Signature Black earning 18/$. For the Black and Platinum tiers used to earning the same bonus points as Black Signature members this is likely to be a disappointment as they’ll earn less under the new scheme.
Elite Qualifying Points
At the lowest level the earning requirements are 30,000 kilometers across all partners (minimum 4 segments on LATAM metal) or 25 segments on LATAM-operated flights. From there things get complicated.
Platinum status will now require $6,000 is spend plus 60,000 KMs (half on LATAM-operated flights) or 30,000 KMs and 6 “special segments.” Or there is an option for 45 segments on LATAM and no minimum spend. The special segments qualifier is an interesting hybrid option as it covers paid long-haul trips in Premium Economy or Business Class on LATAM. Essentially the company is allowing for a bonus above the higher earning rates those fares generally earn at under the new scheme.
The Black tier requires $12,000 plus 120K KMs (60K on LATAM) or 80K KMs with 8 “special segments.” There is also an option to qualify on 85 LATAM segments without the minimum spend.
For Black Signature there is a $24k spend requirement plus 210k KMs but no minimum on LATAM metal (presumably the 4 segment minimum still applies, though it is not spelled out) or 180K + 16 “special segments.”
And, as an added bonus, for flights purchased in 2016 but flown in 2017 the spend will be calculated based on the new rules but elite QMs earned will be based on the old rules, not the revenue-based numbers. And in the very fine print at the end of all the details about the new program is the caveat that “All modifications to the qualifying rules are valid for members with official residence in the USA.”
So, yeah, more complicated than it probably needs to be. And lots of options and permutations in play. Good luck figuring out how to make it work for you.
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