Yesterday I said you can’t search Lima to Cuzco on ba.com. It turns out I was wrong! To search Lima to Cuzco, though, you do need to use a trick.
Reader Coleman emailed me to say:
Just wanted to let you know that although you cannot search LIM-CUZ, you are able to search CUZ-LIM. Obviously this will still need to be called in since nobody originates in CUZ, but at least you can view availability ahead of time by playing with the dates.
Coleman is right that you can search Cuzco to Lima on ba.com and be shown results. With just this ability, it actually is possible to find your LAN award space online before calling 800-AIRWAYS to book with Avios.
The trick we need is the exact same one that we occasionally have to use on qantas.com. If you want to go Lima to Cuzco rountdtrip:
- Search Cuzco to Lima oneway to find the return.
- Search for Cuzco to Lima roundtrip. Make the Cuzco to Lima flight any dummy date. Make Lima to Cuzco (the “return”) your preferred Lima to Cuzco date.
I’ll walk you through it with screen shots. Imagine you want a roundtrip from Lima to Cuzco May 1 to 8.
First search for the return as a oneway.
Now that the return is picked out, we move back to the outbound. Of course Lima to Cuzco can’t be searched, but Lima to Cuzco is the return of Cuzco to Lima roundtrip, which can be searched. So we search Cuzco to Lima roundtrip with a dummy date for the outbound and May 1 for the Lima to Cuzco return.
Those are the two searches necessary to find space online for a May 1 to May 8 Lima to Cuzco roundtrip. Now you have to book it by phone. Note the date and flight number, then call the airlines whose miles you are using to book.
If you’re using Avios to pay 9,000 only Avios roundtrip for what can be an expensive cash ticket, call 800-AIRWAYS. They may not mention a phone fee, but they are going to charge you one unless you speak up and ask to have it waived because the ticket cannot be booked online. See my conversation with a rep here for an example.
If you’re using American Airlines miles because these are just legs on an award from the US, book it as part of your main award by calling 800-882-8880. There will be a $25 phone fee, but American Airlines won’t waive it.
It’s redemptions like this–short, direct, no-fuel-surcharge itineraries–that make Avios so valuable. Avios are horrible for transpacific flights, and they aren’t good for transatlantic.
But there are some places they shine, and are by far the most valuable currency. Avios are incredible:
- Within the US (flying American)
- to the Caribbean (flying American)
- within South America (flying LAN)
- to Central America (flying American)
- within Australia (flying Qantas)
- within South Africa (flying Comair)
The cheapest flights from Lima to Cuzco May 1 to May 8 are $359.
Spending 9k Avios and $18 is almost 4 cents in value per Avios.
Avios’s distance-based chart makes them a great complement to earning other types of region-to-region miles. See the Five Types of Frequent Flyer Miles.
I like to say that the more American Airlines miles you have, the more your Avios are worth. What I mean is if you have to have one type of miles, you don’t want it to be Avios. But if you have several types, you want a healthy Avios balance as a complement.