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Since the British Airways award chart will be starting at 7,500 Avios required for short-haul flights instead of the current 4,500 Avios beginning in February, many of us are brainstorming our next move for short-haul flights. As I said here, I think that programs like Southwest Airlines will actually be the best for many domestic short-haul redemptions once the British Airways award chart change kicks in, but for times that Southwest doesn’t work it pays to have a good back-up plan.
LANPASS Offers Short Haul Awards for Partners Like American Airlines
One frequent flyer program that still has a distance based award chart for OneWorld and other partners such as American Airlines is LANPASS. I have said many times that once you get a decent mastery of the US based frequent flyer programs, you need to become at least moderately aware of some of the foreign based programs because they can sometimes offer some better redemption values for certain flights.
LANPASS operates in kilometers, so keep that in mind when looking at their award chart. They offer short-haul awards on OneWorld partner airlines from 1 – 500 kms (1 – 310 miles) for 6,000 kms, flights from 501 – 750 kms (311 – 466 miles) will cost you 8,000 kms, and flights from 751 – 1,000 kms (311 – 621 miles) will cost you 9,000 kms. You can view the entire award chart here, but I’ll stop with that amount for now since British Airways flights that are up to 1,151 miles are just 7,500 Avios, which will often be the better alternative once you get into some medium length flights.
How to Earn LANPASS Kilometers
Even if you don’t have any LANPASS kilometers currently you can transfer them from Starwood Preferred guest at a rate of 1 SPG point = 1.5 LANPASS kilometer. With the 5,000 point bonus when transferring 20,000 SPG points you will end up with 37,500 LANPASS kilometers. There is also a LANPASS credit card offered via US Bank that offers a sign-up bonus of 20,000 kilometers currently.
Via the SPG method, this means that each SPG point transferred is really worth 1.875 LANPASS kilometers. In other words, a 6,000 km award booked for flights 310 miles or less would cost you “just” 3,200 SPG points if you transfer to LANPASS in blocks of 20k SPG points. In contrast, that same 310 mile or less flight booked via the new British Airways award chart would cost you at least 7,500 Avios.
For example, a flight such as New York – Washington DC will ring at 7,500 British Airways Avios as of the February change, or just 6,000 km (3,200 SPG points) via LANPASS. However, with LANPASS you will need to book a round trip award where you can book one-way via British Airways.
LANPASS Award Booking Rules
I called LANPASS to make a test booking today at 1-866-435-9526, and on that call learned that they seem to charge by segment as British Airways does, so this program will work best for short nonstop routes. They do allow a stopover or open-jaw (within the same region) on their round trip awards.
On my call the agent was pleasant enough, but was unable to find the American Airlines operated award flights that should have been there. I didn’t push the issue since I was just looking for some award pricing examples, but the call was very complicated for what should have been some simple example bookings. I also didn’t like that I couldn’t make the American Airlines operated award reservations online. So, if you want to utilize LANPASS just be ready for some extra hoops and headaches over booking online via British Airways.
Also keep in mind that transfers from SPG to LANPASS are not instant, and LANPASS kilometers expire roughly after three years. To be more specific, kilometers earned by flying are valid for a period of 36 months after they are earned. Kilometers earned by using the services of LANPASS-associated businesses are valid for three calendar years. Independent of the limitations stated above, If you fly with LAN and earn one or more kilometers for the flight, all your kilometers will be revalidated for another 36 months.
SPG to LANPASS Award Cost Examples
1 – 500 kms (1 – 310 miles) for 6,000 kms (3,200 SPG points) Example route NYC – Washington DC
501 – 750 kms (311 – 466 miles) will cost you 8,000 kms (4,267 SPG points) NYC – Montreal
751 – 1,000 kms (312 – 621 miles) will cost you 9,000 kms (4,800 SPG points) Dallas – Nashville
1,001 – 1,300 kms (622 – 802 miles) will cost you 10,000 kms (5,333 SPG points) NYC – Chicago
Is LANPASS Worth It
For nonstop short-haul flights that you want to fly on a partner like American Airlines, LANPASS can be worth it if you have a viable way to earn LANPASS miles or are willing to spend valuable SPG points in that fashion (which I’m generally not). I think there will be a niche market of people who will truly do better for short haul awards focusing on LANPASS rather than earning Ultimate Rewards to transfer to British Airways or similar. However, if you fall into that category then it is good to have this program as an alternative for very short haul awards.
Have you used LANPASS for short haul awards on partners? What tips do you have to share?