Buenos Aires for the Weekend: Introduction

Introduction
Club America Lounge Miami
LAN Business Class Miami to Buenos Aires
Park Hyatt Buenos Aires
LAN Business Class Lounge Buenos Aires
LAN Business Class Buenos Aires to Miami
Grand Hyatt DFW Airport


Back in February American and LAN published some amazing business class fares (perhaps a mistake?) between the US and South America, including to Buenos Aires, Santiago, and Easter Island. They were about $900 all-in, and a great opportunity to rack up some American miles on my constant quest to requalify for Executive Platinum status.

I’ve been to Santiago and while Easter Island interested me, I couldn’t get the dates to work. Instead several friends agreed we should go to Buenos Aires, so we booked roundtrip tickets between Dallas and Buenos Aires for just $900 each. We were able to route it via New York and then Miami in both directions, with flights on LAN between Miami and Buenos Aires. I had never flown LAN before so was quite looking forward to experiencing their onboard product, especially since they have fully flat beds on their longhaul aircraft, while American has angled flat seats on their aircraft to Buenos Aires.

I then booked positioning flights on American between Seattle and Dallas, which I was able to route via Chicago — gotta love those generous routing rules. That ticket cost $250 roundtrip, which seemed like a good deal.

In the end my itinerary looked as follows:

4/10 AA1014 Seattle to Chicago departing 2:10PM arriving 8:10PM
4/10 AA2359 Chicago to Dallas departing 10:10PM arriving 12:30AM (+1 day)
4/11 AA712 Dallas to New York departing 9:40AM arriving 2:10PM
4/11 AA1925 New York to Miami departing 2:45PM arriving at 6:05PM
4/11 4M4521 Miami to Buenos Aires departing 8:45PM arriving 6:45AM (+1 day)
4/14 4M4520 Buenos Aires to Miami departing 10:45PM arriving 7:10AM (+1 day)
4/15 AA1132 Miami to New York departing 10:00AM arriving 12:59PM
4/15 AA759 New York to Dallas departing 2:55PM arriving 6:05PM
4/16 AA2320 Dallas to Chicago departing 5:45AM arriving 8:00AM
4/16 AA1633 Chicago to Seattle departing 8:35AM arriving 10:55AM

That’s nearly 19,000 flown miles and 12 segments in six days, so was a bit of a whirlwind trip. As far as hotels in Buenos Aires go, we all booked the Park Hyatt, which is a category five property, making it 18,000 Gold Passport points per night, which is quite a bargain compared to the paid rates of $550USD per night.

As usual I’ll limit the trip report to what I consider to be the interesting parts. I’ll leave out the domestic segments on American, since they were pretty run of the mill, but will instead focus on LAN, the Park Hyatt Buenos Aires, Grand Hyatt DFW, and our time in Buenos Aires.

As always, any questions/comments are welcome, and thanks for reading!

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Comments

  1. 35 minutes in LGA on the way down is a little gutsy?
    $900 all in is very cheap but then you have to add $ 250 and two hotel nights.
    How much do you value the hotel nights?

  2. Ben, Friends of mine are in BA @ the moment, claiming Argentinians are very unfriendly to Americans. Any truth to that or are they just being sensitive ? What was your experience ?

  3. @ Rami — Yes, realized after the fact that was a bit on the risky side, but it all worked out well.

    In the end we were paying $1,150 for a business class ticket. To be clear it wasn’t a mileage run, but a mini-vacation of sorts. So there’s no “cent per mile” to this trip, but it was just a really good value.

  4. @ nathan — Aside from the Park Hyatt I didn’t find the service culture in Buenos Aires to be especially good, though I don’t necessarily think it was targeted specifically at Americans. Wouldn’t say there were unfriendly, but just generally not very attentive/warm.

  5. An imminent South American trip report? Looks like an unproductive work week coming for me! šŸ˜‰

  6. Are you ever afraid of mis connecting on two seperate tickets. What is usually done if you would have gotten in to Dallas late?

  7. @ Peetyrd — In this case I decided to overnight in Dallas in both directions, since I figured six continuous segments wouldn’t end well.

    That being said if you do misconnect they’ll rebook you on the next available flight, even if it’s on separate tickets. That’s actually a rule that applies to all OneWorld carriers.

  8. I lived in Argentina for 15 years and have traveled frequently between the two countries for about 25 years. Argentines are far from unfriendly to Americans. In fact, I’d say Argentines are much friendly to Americans than New Yorkers are friendly to anyone! (OK, so I’m a Texan, but you get the point)

  9. @ Nathan

    Claiming all Argentinians are unfriendly based on the ones you encounter in Buenos Aires is a little silly. It’s like saying “I visited New York City, and boy, are all Americans rude and unfriendly!”

  10. Spent a couple weeks in ARG this spring – great food, great wine, great people. The only downside is the steep ‘reciprocity fee’, but the ‘blue dolar’ economy makes up for it. Got duked around a little by LAN (using Avios pts) and had to spend an extra day in LIM on the return, but the trip was a big success.

  11. I hope you exchamged your dollars not at official places like the airport/banks but rather every other place as the black market rate is twice as high as the official rate, no joke.

  12. Interesting report. As a New Yorker, some of the comments about NYers being “unfriendly” are a bit much. Seems to me, us NYers work far longer days and weeks than other folks from elsewhere in the US due to “cultural differences.” If we too left the office at 5:00pm like in Dallas or Houston, we NYers may be a tad friendlier, too.

  13. @ Rich – the types of jobs that require long hours in New York also call for long hours elsewhere. I work in Houston and don’t leave anywhere close to 5 pm. Generally, though, pace of life is slower in southern states and it’s not quite as frantic as up north.

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