Well I blew it.
AviancaTaca Group and their subsidiary airlines Taca, LACSA (the Costa Rica branch of Taca), Taca Perú, and Avianca all joined Star Alliance today 21 June. Along with their competitor in Central and northern South America, Copa Airlines, whose accession was never in question. With AviancaTaca even jumping the gun by a day on its websites yesterday.
Which makes me just about as prescient about airlines as most airline CEOs, who continue to lose money and go in and out of bankruptcy.
I still stand by the logic in my earlier posts about why LAN would want to find a way out of oneworld into Star. But not happening now.
Keep an eye on the Stars, however. I do not expect this to remain static. Logically Star still is a better global partner for LAN than is the weak oneworld, and Star needs a continent-wide South American partner. Which neither Copa nor AviancaTaca provides.
But for now… mea culpa. I stand in good company with the Bloomberg London reporter who said 2 days ago (at 00:39 into the video) that LAN is leaving their alliance, and with the Copa agent in DC who had come to the same conclusion as me about AviancaTaca not joining (or at least not staying) in Star Alliance.
Until then, however, AviancaTaca LifeMiles is now going to be my primary Star Alliance frequent flyer program, totally replacing the devalued United Mileage Plus with its ridiculous fees. LifeMiles has great earnings on its own fares, and now has an excellent Star Alliance online booking engine, along with a flexible cash-vs-miles sliding scale. I just was able to find an LAX-to-Montevideo award in August for only 19,000 1-way miles. And because I only have 10,801 LifeMiles right now (all earned from just one cheap Uruguay-USA flight a week ago with booking/fare bonuses), I can use 10,500 + $131 USD as a dirt-cheap way to get that ticket. Not sure if I will, because I’ve got an AAwful Airlines AAward for that timeframe already, but it is a super value.