TAM, the largest airline in Brazil, merged with our favorite airline to South America, LAN last year. As part of the merger, TAM will join the Oneworld alliance. The conversion will be completed sometime in the middle of 2014. In the interim, American announced a new codeshare agreement with TAM that began on August 22nd.
As part of the agreement, American Airlines frequent flyers can earn redeemable miles with TAM flights. Redeemable miles are not elite qualifying. For elite qualifying, you must fly on American codeshare flights with TAM. A codeshare is where the flight number is American but operated by TAM.
American has put out the mileage earning chart for TAM flights today and it is pretty good for an international carrier:
The main difference between crediting to American vs TAM’s other partners in the United States – United and US Airways, is that even N class fares (TAM’s cheapest fare earn) earn 100%. Looking at United:
N class fares earns no miles. However, United does not have a Brazil only bucket — if flying in discount economy classes Q, V, L in Brazil, crediting to United would earn more miles than crediting than American. N class fares are being released with more regularity with TAM. So at least there’s an opportunity to earn miles.
If you have an upcoming TAM flight and it is in N class, credit it to American. One caveat with this relationship, at least on paper, TAM coded , LAN operated flights will not earn any mileage. It seems those will continue to earn only with TAM or LAN’s respective programs until TAM joins Oneworld.
At the moment, American’s mileage earning chart with TAM is good even if it is non-elite qualifying. The challenge is what will happen when TAM joins Oneworld? Will the generous mileage earning continue or will it become more restrictive like that of LAN?
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