I’m Going To Easter Island Thanks To A Cheap Business Class Fare!

Filed Under: LATAM, Travel

Lately I’ve been a bit complacent when it comes to taking advantage of great discounted business class fares. That’s probably one of the reasons I’m nowhere close to requalifying for status with American as of now. I read the FlyerTalk premium fare deals forum every day, but then spend too much time analyzing whether or not the deals make sense, and by the time I’ve made my decision, the fare is dead.

While Ford and I are both low when it comes to requalifying for status with American, we’re within the range where it probably maybe makes sense to reluctantly go for it. I don’t think I would have done a totally pointless mileage run to requalify, but today I saw an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.

FlyerTalk member zoqfotpik shared an incredible business class deal today between Mexico City and Easter Island, which has wide open availability. The fare is ~$1,150 roundtrip in business class, with all segments being in LATAM’s fully flat 787 business class product.

The fare covers a distance of 12,840 miles roundtrip, meaning we’d earn:

  • 19,260 elite qualifying miles
  • 28,248 redeemable miles (100% base miles, plus a 120% bonus for being an Executive Platinum)
  • 2,568 elite qualifying dollars (calculated as 20% of the 12,840 miles flown — since the base fare is under $1,000, that’s like earning EQDs more than 2.5x as fast as usual)

But much more importantly, we’ve both been wanting to visit Easter Island, so this is a great opportunity to do so. Not only that, but neither of us have actually visited Mexico City, so this is an opportunity to spend a few days there before continuing to Easter Island.

I booked this for later in the year (not the exact dates shown above), and am very excited. If anyone is interested in visiting Easter Island, I’d certainly recommend considering the above fare.

While I’m excited about visiting Easter Island as such, as an aviation geek I’m also fascinated by the airport, given that only one plane can fly to the airport at a given time due to the lack of diversion points.

Has anyone been to Easter Island? If so, what did you think? Anyone else considering this amazing fare?

  1. I absolutely loved Easter Island when I went in June 2016. I flew economy but it was one of the most comfortable flying experiences I have ever had, in part to the 787, and the Business class product looks wonderful.

  2. I highly recommend the Las Alcobas Luxury Collection property or St Regis in Mexico City, depending on which location you prefer. I think you’d prefer the Las Polancos area near Las Alcobas, but it’s still only a 15 min taxi ride from the StR.

    Enjoy you your trip!

  3. I have been considering an Easter Island trip on Miles/Points but haven’t started looking in earnest. As you begin to plan maybe you can write a segment on best ways to get there using miles?


  4. ive been there – its an amazing island (obviously no chain hotels, I think only a handful of full time hotels)

    I’d love to go back with wife & kids (or just wife)

  5. Glad I can inspire your trip, Lucky. Looking forward to your trip review!

    ps if you are crediting to BA, you can do some creative routings for extra TP.

  6. Easter Island is amazing!! I highly recommend booking a private tour with Easter Island Travel and asking for Marcus as your guide.

    You could rent a car and do it yourself, except there aren’t many signs at the sights and you would miss out on a lot of the history and context. Also, some of the best sites were accessed by driving through a field that didn’t look like a road, so you’d never know about these without a guide, and a tour bus couldn’t reach them.

    It was difficult to find a place to stay. I found booking.com to be the best resource since many accommodations weren’t listed on other sites.

    You’re going to have an amazing time!

  7. Awesome fare! Went to Easter Island in 2002 and returned to Chile afterwards. Research carefully where you stay — there are some incredible options that give you insights into the native culture that make your once-in-a-lifetime all the more profound. Which is to say: avoid the hotels / resorts.

    And rent a car to get away from the other gringos.

  8. I went to Easter Island on a ~$1,000 r/t business class fare on LAN in 2012ish. My advice is: Don’t make the Lake Como mistake. Stay in a locally-owned little B&B on the outskirts of town. Rent an ATV, get up at before sunrise, and scoot up to watch sunrise alone from the rim of the volcano. Drive around the island. Alone. Absolutely magical.

  9. @Gary There’s only one airline that flies there, so I guess you need to have points with them or an airline in their alliance.

  10. I was there on January 2015 and it was great, specially after dark where you can see a lot of stars.

    My suggestion, you need 3 full days to explore the island (with no rush), try to return on Tuesday where there is a second flight around 3pm. I was lucky because in my case there was midnight flight on Fridays back in 2015. Don’t forget you can stop in Santiago for free (you may pay some airport taxes).

  11. So if you’re going to Easter Island @Lucky, when are you going to visit Christmas Island then? 😉

  12. You’ll love Rapa Nui. Fun fact, the airport/runway was actually built and upkept by NASA, under agreement that it could be used as the South Pacific emergency landing site for the Space Shuttle. After a man published a book about a fictional war between Chile and US (and the astronauts getting stranded on the island without passports), NASA now requires it’s astronauts to bring their passports to space.

    Rent an ATV, it’s all you’ll need. But bring a windbreaker, it will rain here and there for a few minutes then clear up (like any other south pacific island). Rano Raraku is awesome.

    If you like reading, there’s a guide to Easter Island published by an expat who lived there. It is well researched and factual, explaining the brutal history of the island and the best places to see.

  13. I stayed at Te’ora in the upstairs room which has a kitchen. It has a sunset view over the ocean. USD $120 per night (CASH ONLY USD or Chilean pesos) including airport pickup & dropoff. (don’t leave the airport without buying your park entrance $60 USD) You may need cash for eating too so be prepared. This is a primitive island.

    From Te’ora it’s an easy walk to town, ATM and car rental place. We bought food at the farmer’s market and cooked in kitchen. There are also 2 bakeries you can walk to. Make a picnic lunch to take with you.

    I highly suggest renting a car ($40-$70 a day depending on your car choice. I did the $40 one). It is super easy (and fun) to drive around. There is a guide book which is really helpful- A Companion to Easter Island by James Grant Peterkin.

    You can also rent bikes, ride horses or see one of the 2 shows. Wild horses are all over the island. I had a very fancy lunch at Explora but it was over rated. $80 pp lunch including wine.

    Take a good camera you will want to capture those sunrise photos at Ahu Tongariki. Amazing.

    My trip video shows a lot of what I’ve just mentioned. https://youtu.be/C1-jv7yeXfE

  14. Hampton Inn Centro Historico only 10,000 points/night with free breakfast. 8,000/night if you do 5th night free! Adequate hotel, great location.

  15. Why not continue on to PPT (IIRC they continue on to Tahiti after Easter island?) That would be a very cool itinerary!

  16. I would get a local guide. They
    Give you lots of insight, more than you’ll ever get from driving yourself. Josie Malloy was amazing. Her grandfather was the main archeologist back in the day. Hotels are basic except the Explora but that’s out of town a bit

  17. Lucky – here we go again. I am honestly not trying to be difficult or an ass – but I truly feel you speak out of both sides of your mouth when it comes to AA. Actually, it’s not just AA but what I’m referring to is the topic of trying to maintain status with an airline when time and time again, you preach that you do not do that any longer and not only that, it’s not wise to do that given the overall cheaper premium class tickets out there. In this particular case, I understand that you mention that you’ve always wanted to go to Easter Island – all fine and good. However, I would bet the house that the only reason you’re going to Easter Island in the near future is simply because of the low cost of the biz class on LATAM – which in turn helps you to re-qualify for status with AA. See where I’m going with this? In other words, the status re-qualification is what’s driving this trip – not your desire to go to Easter Island. If this biz class special was not available on LATAM, can you honestly say that you would be going to Easter Island?

    I really get conflicting views on this topic from you. Time and time again, both you and Gary Leff bash AA and preach about how being loyal to any airline just for status purposes is not wise. But again, the main (not the only) reason for your Easter Island trip is for mileage accumulation thus leading to retained status with AA.

    Again, I’m just very conflicted on this topic and I’ve tried to apply some of your logic to my personal situation and I just get confused. I think it’s perfectly fine to remain loyal to a particular airline and strive for status – but I don’t know that you’re willing to admit to that.

    Love reading your blog and not trying to be difficult.

  18. I went last February for 2.5 days, and wish i would have had the ability to stay for another whole day. Car rentals from Oceanic Rent a Car did us well, and we stayed at Camping Mihinoa because it was cheap and the location was excellent (and i don’t mind camping). Do not expect to have much cell data or service anywhere in town. Took a one day tour from Easter island travel (Megaliths small group tour), and it was just me, my friend, and one other tourist. hiking to the island highpoint to watch the sunset on one evening was pretty cool (big rolling grassy hills that are really extinct volcanic craters). Watching the sunrise at tongariki and watching the sunset at tahai are good spots, get to both places early, and snorkeling off ovahe beach was fun (ovahe beach is kinda off limits, but there were tons of people there). Be sure to get a passport stamp at the post office.

    Food is very good, lots of seafood and great ceviche. My favorite spot was Tataku Vave (good sunset dinner spot), Haka Honu (near the main town), and Anakena beach has a few good restaurants as well.

  19. @ CJ — You’re not being difficult or an ass at all. You’re absolutely right, I am somewhat talking out of both sides of my mouth. And that’s not because I’m trying to trick anyone, but because these programs are addictive, and because I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. I have an internal debate on a daily basis about whether or not I should bother requalifying for status, and I share thoughts from both sides of my brain on this topic on the blog.

    There’s one thing I think I’m consistent about — I don’t recommend American to others anymore, and I haven’t taken a single mileage run this year, or done anything solely to earn miles. That’s a lot of progress for me, as in the past I’ve done both.

    But this is the gray area with which I struggle. I’ve always wanted to go to Easter Island, and this was an all around good opportunity. Would I have booked this if it weren’t LATAM? Probably not. But I would have still had the desire to go there. So as of now status is causing me to reprioritize the order in which I take trips, though I don’t think it’s actually materially altering my travels otherwise.

    Anyway, I don’t really have a good answer. All I can say is “I hear ya,” and I’m quite confused myself.

  20. Lucky nice trip! Keep in mind the stray dog population in Easter Island is more than the people population.

  21. Wonderful destination with lots of nature hikes/adventures. Just be prepared for rain – it is the rainy season with a cool temperature 🙂 Bring your waterproof hiking boots. Round trip fares out of Chicago were purchased for 1900 USD per passenger (on UA and LATAM) when my wife and I had traveled.

  22. When I was booking the trip I thought I just needed 2 days since it is a primitive island. I stayed 5 days & 4 nights and that was barely enough. It’s surprising. You will find it’s a magical place and want to spend time with the 887 Moai statues. Maybe not ALL of them.

    The volcano lake will take your breath away. I actually stayed a while just to watch people’s first reaction when they saw it. Then there is the Bird Man huts and navel of the world where I had a picnic.

    The other consideration is that you are 8 hours by plane from anywhere else in the world. There is nowhere else on earth that is separated by so much distance. That in itself is something to contemplate. There is nowhere which compares to what you will feel. Take the time. Have some wine. Chill.

  23. I went in April, 2012 for seven days. There is easily enough to keep you going for 5-6 days. I stayed at a small gay managed, family operated inn on the main drag called Hotel Inaki Uhi. The manager (Alvaro) was an excellent host as well as tour guide.

    I’d recommend the tour to start out followed by renting scooters and then mountain bikes to further explore. The food was definitely fantastic as long as you like seafood.

  24. I had a wonderful time on Easter Island last year. Agree with other posts that 3 full days are best. I also think using a guide adds so much to your understanding. I also used Easter Island Tours, had Jose who was excellent
    Can’t wait to see where you stay since no points options.
    For good reading in advance, try “The Statues That Walked”. Available on audio, so you can listen while flying.

  25. Im thinking about getting this flight from Santiago to Easter Island, spend a few days there and go to Tahiti as this flight from santiago to easter island goes once a week to the french polinesia. You can book the roundtrip with 50.000 miles with British Airways (economy of course)

  26. One could also buy the LATAMPass KM’s required for the r/t to IPC. We recently did this – cost $1200 per person for SCL-IPC. Of course, you lose out on accruing the miles and status.

  27. I went solo before in 2009 and had a great trip. I recommend renting a car so you can drive yourself around rather than a tour. I was able to be the only person at some of the archeological sites which was a great experience. Hopefully you can still have that experience unless tourism has picked up. Also consider driving out of town at night as you can get a great view of the night sky.

    Don’t remember much luxury hotels there — mine was about $50 a night.

  28. Would also recommend the complete guide to Easter island by Shawn Mclaughlin. There are some used copies on amazon. It had some great information that isn’t in most of the general guidebooks (not so much on hotels but the historic sites)

  29. Highly recommend the Explora property on Easter Island. Indeed, all of the Explora properties in Chile are amazing. They’re very expensive but worth every penny.

  30. You may be surprised to discover the best restaurant on the island is Japanese. It’s called Kotaro and it’s amazing.

  31. Ben,
    Thanks for the heads up. We are booked. It will be my second time there. Now to find the right hotel.

  32. @Lucky, if you’re looking for a good guide on Easter Island I would highly recommend Paul Pownall. He’s an American who moved to Easter Island and is without doubt the most knowledgeable guide.

    Lots of good reviews about him on Flyertalk and I believe TPG used him when he visited Easter Island a few years ago.

  33. I really enjoy Mexico City and loved my time at Las Alcobas. Food there is fantastic (no in room dining….)

  34. @ Morris – is this the restaurant right across the street from the airport? We arrived early to IPC for our flight home & walked passed an asian restaurant and I recall the sign saying babies were not welcome. I really wanted to try it because its literally just the owner and 1 other person running the place

  35. I visited Easter Island in April 2012 before the BA devaluation and it inspired me to start PhilaTravelGirl blog.

    I stayed at Tekarera Inn and used Paul Pownall (owner) as our private guide and it included car usage. Book a window seat on flight as that’s a regret that I couldnt see the approach and landing at the airport. buy park pass at airport for cash US$ – the post office will stamp passport (I missed out on this too!)

    to get to some sights it involved unpaved roads and off-roading as well as crawling in a cave so be prepared to hike, get up early for sunrise and perhaps get a bit dirty and dusty on the roads

    I loved Kotaro Japanese dinner def need reservation – owner/chef is practically one man show

    here’s one post from the trip about the Moai that I love – the inn review and others are on blog


  36. My devoted wife and I were there for five days in 2012. We rented a car but also had Marc Shields of Green Island Tours as a guide –1/2 day for three separate times. He is a New Zealander married to a Rapa Nui. If we went again, I’d use him again.

  37. Lucky, when I found out the SCL-IPC flight went on to PPT, I booked it because, why not? It was only $300 extra in business r/t for the PPT continuation. I went in Chilean winter as the trip was originally focused to ski Portillo. Winter in Rapa Nui was the off season and the island was not crowded. So much so that we were practically the only people in the hotel and they rationed hot water to an hour per day. Based on your blog, I think you’ll enjoy just landing on Rapa Nui–it’s a tiny airport with a crazy long runway.

  38. Yes been to Easter Island this past February! Used my Asia Miles (from Amex) on business class from JFK-SCL-IPC and back. Awesome experience even though I find everything expensive on the island.

  39. @Richard

    It’s winter now and Lucky is going in our fall (later in the year) which is Spring in the Southern Hemisphere. So Santiago will be lovely.

  40. Your service, which back then was just you, booked us the BA 80,000 miles Round Trip Business Class on LAN back in the day in which we went to Machu Pichu AND Easter Island AND Santiago. Those were the days!

    The Explora is super expensive and their internet sucked back in 2012, but their food was good, nice rooms, great staff, full board, and all inclusive on the tours as well which was the best part, so you may want to consider that.

  41. I visited in Feb this year. Booked wifey and I at Explora – unfortunately they had a fire that rendered the explora property inhabitable for the time we were there – so they put us up at Hotel Altiplanico which was just wonderful. Beautiful private villas, fabulous views at sunset, amazing food. Great wifi in reception and their English was the best I’ve experienced in South America – so very welcoming and comfortable.

    Explora still provided all the daily tours and they got us into many locations where the wife & I and our guide were the only people there. Private hike to the highest point of the island, hike around the edge of the volcano – right around the edge.

    Didn’t get to fly in J – but selected the last “pair” of seats on the LATAM B788 – usually crew rest – but on the “domestic” flight between IPC-SCL are open to everyone – a very comfortable seat similar to premium economy or domestic business/first class. Highly recommend.

  42. I have tried to find the fare to no avail
    on the Latam website. The rates I am getting are + $2500 r/t
    Any suggestions what I am doing wrong

  43. What a great fare! I’ve flown LATAM between Sydney and Beunos Aires on their 789 and it’s a great service

  44. Sorry to be late to the party, but I am in Easter Island and the Wifi’s not great. Anyways, you’ll love it. What hotel are you staying at? I am currently staying at the Explora, and it is an incredible experience. I hope you enjoy it as much I am!

  45. Just booked! From BWI all the way through to IPC in business class for total of 87,870 MR points 😀 Booked a nice hotel for 4 nights for 40,000 Citi points (4th night free with Prestige) so my only cash outlay will be excursions and food 🙂

  46. Pulled on this one when I saw on FT. 788 were terrible shape. MEX-SCL my controller didn’t work. Return, center seats of row 4 seats had dead controls connection so the occupants were stuck upright. Avoid 4 in general. 789s great though. Was asked to move on 3 of 4 legs to accommodate pairs.

    Premium checkin for LAN @ SCL is top floor all the way to left, but domestic term is all the way to the right. PP lounge, behind first set of stairs. Figured I’d check my bag for IPC given priority and small airport, but they left it in SCL and awful effort to get it to me the next day. Also IPC was super hot inside with all the 789 waiting for bags. Amazing purser, Raul, on the IPC return.

    SCL LAN lounge is weird in that the showers are towards back of second floor, but you have to go all the way back to entry desk for access. Like they leave water bottles by the exit.

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