LATAM Pass will change cabin upgrade rules

In a conference we just attended with Martin Holdschmidt, LATAM Pass Director, it was informed that the program will change cabin upgrade rules for customers with program status from April 2023. According to Martin, the current format of “Upgrade Coupons” will be replaced by a new one, called “Courtesy excerpts”. The big change will be for customers with Black or Black Signature status, who will have the benefit unlimitedly only on flights within South America, unlike what it is currently, where it is possible to enjoy it on any of the company’s flights around the world. For other customers, the benefit was expanded, offering more opportunities and chances to enjoy the upgrade.

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New model – Courtesy Excerpts

Unlike today, where the number of coupons needed to request the upgrade varies according to the flight distance, in the new model these sections will be fixed, that is, for each upgrade requested you will use 1 segment, whether domestic, in South America or other destinations in the world.

A flight between São Paulo and Paris, for example, will require 1 leg, as will a flight between São Paulo and Santiago or a domestic flight in Brazil.

It is worth mentioning that the use of sections within South America does not affect sections outside the continent (see the table below). For example, a Platinum customer will have 8 legs to use in South America and 2 more legs outside the continent.

To better understand, we made the table below showing how the new model will work:

As can be seen in the table above, in addition to the impact for Black and Black Signature customers, who will no longer have unlimited upgrade possibilities outside of South America, Gold and Gold Plus customers will no longer have access to upgrades outside of South America. South America.

It is worth remembering that the upgrade priority will continue depending on the Elite category and the moment of the request made by the customer. In addition, the rules for companions follow the same as the current ones, that is, they share the same number of segments as the holder.

The new model will also follow new rules (not yet implemented) that restrict tickets eligible for cabin upgrades.


Improved or worsened? follow our vision

Below is our view of the change:

Gold:

  • Improved: there was an increase in benefit, but use outside South America was restricted.

Gold Plus:

  • Improved: there was an increase in benefit, but use outside South America was restricted.

Platinum:

  • Improved: there was an increase in the benefit in South America, in addition to maintaining an additional benefit for use outside the continent (which maintains an equivalence to what would be used in the current model for the US and Europe). In addition, throttling will decrease competition for the upgrade.

Black:

  • Improved: for customers who fly alone and make up to 4 trips a year outside South America, as the limitation will reduce competition for the upgrade.
  • It got worse: for customers who fly alone more than 4 times a year out of South America.
  • Improved or worsened (depending on profile): for customers traveling with a partner*

Black Signature:

  • Improved: for customers who fly alone and make up to 5 trips a year outside South America, as the limitation will reduce competition for the upgrade.
  • It got worse: for customers who fly alone more than 5 times a year out of South America.
  • Improved or worsened (depending on profile): for customers traveling with a partner*

*currently 6 upgrade coupons are offered for accompanying Black Signature or Black customers. A trip to the USA or Europe, for example, consumes the 6 coupons considering a round trip. In the new model, there will be 10 for Black Signature customers and 8 for Black customers, but as each segment will consume only 1 “coupon”, we are talking about an upgrade in 5 and 4 round trips respectively, shared between the holder and escort. Depending on the profile of the person traveling with a partner, the benefit may even have been increased.


Availability inquiry for upgrade

A very interesting novelty is that a consultation of the seats available for upgrade will be available, offering a clearer view of the chance of getting the benefit.

In practice, the LATAM system will inform you how many seats are available on your flight so that you can request the upgrade.


Change also for LATAM Pass Itaucard customers

According to Martin, the change will also be replicated for those who receive the benefit through LATAM Pass Itaucard cards. The new quantities available for each card variant will be available soon. We will update the article as it becomes available.


About the LATAM Pass decision

During our conversation with LATAM Pass, some points were explained about the rationale behind this change, see below what the director said:

  • Unification of rules between countries: before, the amount of coupons changed depending on your origin/destination. For example, the rules were different for Brazil and other South American countries. Now everything will be simplified for customers.
  • Make the benefit tangible for more customers: according to the director of LATAM Pass, the change takes place due to a “concentration of upgrades” in some customers, around 0.5% of the base that use the benefit in high quantity. With this, the limitation will restrict the access of these “heavy users”, allowing the other elite customers to have more chances of being able to enjoy the benefit, that is, it rationalizes and makes the distribution within their own categories more tangible.

We are constantly improving our processes to offer the best experience to our customer, including expanding the benefits for applying for domestic travel. With the implementation of the new rules, the customer will have a very simple, fast, transparent and easy to use experience.”, says Martin Holdschmidt, director of LATAM Pass in Brazil.


Status Run

Remembering that in March 2020 LATAM announced new rules that facilitated the qualification of status for the Elite categories in the LATAM Pass, which were valid until the end of 2021. This change also brought back the qualification by the number of stretches performed. This scenario attracted many customers who flew with the sole intention of reaching higher categories, especially to reach Black and Black Signature status, which offer as their main benefit (until the change is implemented), unlimited upgrades on any of the company’s flights.


Comment

The new rule directly impacts a portion of Black and Black Signature customers, who use the benefit in large numbers. For other LATAM Pass customers, the chances of enjoying the benefit are now increased.

In July 2021, LATAM Pass announced major changes to the program, with negative highlights for the end of the 10% discount and change/cancellation fee waiver on ticket issuance with points for Platinum, Black and Black Signature customers, in addition to a restriction on tickets eligible for the Complimentary Upgrade and other changes.

But it is worth remembering that, despite being announced, so far these changes have not actually been implemented and, according to LATAM, there is still no exact date for them to take effect.

Something positive and worth mentioning is that LATAM makes this communication more than 1 year in advance, precisely considering customers who plan to maintain/achieve status in the program this year and will be impacted by the new rules of the upgrade benefit.

Added to the changes announced last year, this limitation may make some customers angry, but in the end it will depend on each customer’s travel profile.

Will this change change your plans to continue to accumulate points and become loyal to the LATAM Pass?

About Yadunandan Singh

Born in 1992, Yadunandan approaches the world of video games thanks to two sacred monsters like Diablo and above all Sonic, strictly in the Sega Saturn version. Ranging between consoles and PCs, he is particularly fond of platform titles and RPGs, not disdaining all other genres and moving in the constant search for the perfect balance between narration and interactivity.

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