Does anyone have any experience upgrading to Business Class on Qantas or LAN from Sydney to Santiago, Chile?

Hello Point Hackers!
Need your advice and expertise on this one.
Contacted Points Pro for assistance hoping to utilize points from two separate credit cards for upcoming trip Sydney, Santiago, Lima route. Haven’t transferred the points yet as I’m unsure of what I’m doing, being new to this.
Essentially was advised by Points Pro with words to the effect “award space between Australia and South America is extremely limited…I’m not actually sure if it’s possible to book this without routing through Asia and North America, as LAN is so stingy with award space on their flight. I haven’t seen business class award space on that flight in at least a year”. Yikes!!!
Found it a bit odd that this person at Points Pro (for which the fee is minimum $200) wasn’t aware that Qantas actually flies direct to Santiago, including not being familiar with Australian card redemption rates or programs. After feeding this representative of Points Pro all the information, research including forwarding what I’ve learned from Keith and Point Hack the representative at Points Pro stopped responding entirely. Too hard basket I think. Didn’t even have courtesy to respond to tell me they (Points Pro) couldn’t help me.
So I’m putting it out to the community- Does anyone have any experience with this route, LAN or Qantas redemption and/or an upgrade to business class? I’m even willing to pay for premium economy if I can get that ‘prized’ upgrade to business. I would be ever so grateful for your advice and input. I have a fair size chunk of points at the moment I can’t seem to utilize
Many thanks in advance,

I gave a more extensive response to this in one of your other posts (the same question posted 3 times), but unfortunately it got deleted when they got rid of your other posts! Maybe it can be recovered by an admin? I don’t really want to type it again, but basically:

  • Qantas – almost impossible to find. They do make some available 350 days out, but you need to be ready to book immediately (i.e. within hours). They only do this maybe 1-2 days a fortnight. It is a gamble to transfer points to them and hope to get lucky.
  • LAN – they do release some seats, but it is completely erratic and unpredictable. For example, there are seven business seats a day in late Nov, but none in all Dec and Jan. You can search for it using BA.
AirNZ flies to Buenos Aires, but no idea about flight availability. AirNZ is usually pretty crap at releasing/redeeming. Other option is to fly back to Australia via Europe/Middle East/Asia, such as:
  • Sao Paulo – Barcelona – Singapore – Sydney: Singapore Airlines – an absolute steal at ~90,000 points and $70 tax (Brazil bans fuel surcharges making it cheap) but does take 36 hours!
  • Sao Paulo – Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Doha – Sydney: major middle eastern carriers – will cost a lot of points as will be priced as two separate flights.
So yeah, the lack of competition between South America and Australia means there is no need for either airline to release award seats, so you need a lot of luck, willingness to search and flexibility.

Hi theothergatsby,
Apologies for the delay in responding.
Yes, thank you- am very grateful for your help. Did read your original post, it was very thorough and informative. Recently someone else also posted a similar query about getting to Chile using points, so the query/answer has been useful for others within the community wishing to travel to South America. Well done!
Had to laugh…one needs the ‘right frame of mind’ and keenness to experience one of the zig-zag itinerary options you proposed for a couple or three days in a semi-upright position just to get to Santiago for minimum points. But rather it’s the journey not the destination in particular that makes life such an exciting adventure. Probably the Point Hacks community might agree with that last statement. Again, many thanks for the post.