LATAM Airlines recently announced that it will leave the Oneworld alliance on 1 May 2020, five months earlier than planned. But Qantas has confirmed that Qantas Frequent Flyer members will still enjoy the benefits of their status when flying on LATAM Airlines beyond this date. In addition, Qantas will continue to award status credits for LATAM Airlines flights taken until the end of September 2020.
Qantas Frequent Flyer status recognition on LATAM Airlines
After LATAM Airlines exits the Oneworld alliance on 1 May 2020, it will no longer be obliged to offer reciprocal status tier benefits to Oneworld Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald frequent flyers of other airlines in the Oneworld alliance. However, LATAM will retain bilateral relationships with many of the remaining Oneworld airlines. American Airlines is not one of these airlines, but Qantas is.
After 1 May 2020, Qantas Frequent Flyer members with Silver, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One status will continue to receive benefits when flying with LATAM Airlines. This includes travel on LATAM Airlines flights that are marketed by either LATAM Airlines (with an “LA” flight number) or Qantas (with a “QF” flight number).
Qantas told us that “as a Qantas Frequent Flyer airline partner, members will still continue to benefit from top tier recognition, reciprocal lounge access, priority boarding and check-in, and Qantas Points earn and flight redemptions on LATAM flights.”
This is good news because Qantas only codeshares with LATAM Airlines on flights to a handful of destinations in South America.
Earning Qantas status credits on LATAM Airlines from 1 May 2020
When announcing that LATAM Airlines would leave the alliance in May, Oneworld advised that frequent flyers of alliance members would continue to earn “tier status points” (or status credits, as Qantas Frequent Flyer calls them) until 30 April 2020. However, Oneworld also stated that “a number of oneworld member airlines plan to maintain frequent flyer agreements with LATAM after 30 April”.
Approached by Australian Frequent Flyer, a Qantas spokesperson confirmed that even though LATAM are now exiting the Oneworld alliance on 30 April, “Qantas Frequent Flyer will award status credits on eligible LATAM marketed flights for travel up to 30 September 2020.”
This means you’ll still earn Qantas status credits when travelling on LATAM flights with an “LA” flight number for five months after LATAM leaves the Oneworld alliance. This is unusual because status credits are normally only awarded when flying on a Qantas marketed flight or with a Oneworld airline. (There are some exceptions, such as with Jetstar and Fiji Airways.)
From 1 October 2020, you will only continue to earn Qantas status credits on LATAM-operated flights that are marketed by Qantas. In other words, from October, you’ll need to be booked on a Qantas codeshare service with a “QF” flight number to earn status credits. It will still be possible to earn Qantas points when flying on LATAM-marketed flights, but status credits will not be earned after 1 October 2020.
Unfortunately, this still means that from October, you’ll earn zero status credits if flying with LATAM Airlines on routes like Santiago-Buenos Aires. Qantas does not codeshare with LATAM Airlines on this route, so there is no possibility to book a “QF” flight number – even if connecting to/from a Qantas flight.
Redeeming Qantas points for LATAM Airlines flights
In more good news, you’ll still be able to redeem Qantas Frequent Flyer points for LATAM Airlines flights into the future. This is especially useful given the lack of other Qantas partner airlines in South America.
However, you won’t be able to include LATAM Airlines flights as part of any Oneworld product, such as the Oneworld Explorer round-the-world ticket or the Oneworld Classic Flight Reward, for bookings made from 1 May 2020.
The Qantas spokesperson confirmed that Oneworld Classic Flight Reward bookings made until 30 April 2020 can still include LATAM flights.
Join the discussion on the Australian Frequent Flyer forum: Delta buys 20% of LATAM, which will exit oneworld