One of the only international low fare deals to come out of Monterey this year is the current price of American Airlines $571 Monterey MRY to GRU Sao Paulo, Brazil. The itinerary routing MRY-PHX-MIA earns 13,284 flight miles. This is a low fare to start an American Airlines AAdvantage Executive Platinum elite challenge for earning highest AAdvantage status through February 2017, if I complete 30,000 EQM by October 9, 2015.
Monterey MRY is a regional airport 75 miles south of San Jose SJC and 110 miles south of San Francisco SFO. The opportunity to fly out of Monterey is usually a savings of at least $100 by not needing transportation to and from one of the Bay Area airports. There is no easy public transportation option to SJC or SFO from Monterey. A private shuttle is $50 one-way. A car rental is $50 one way when rates are low.
Flights from LAX and SFO to Sao Paulo are even slightly lower fares.
Brazil Visa is deal killer
The drawback to Sao Paulo, Brazil is a $160 visa fee to enter the country. Plus, the hassle to file the visa form with passport photos and possibly bank statements.
Advantages of Sao Paulo: low city costs for food, drink, transportation and hotels. Three hotel chains of note in Sao Paulo are Accor, Choice and Wyndham.
- Choice Hotels has more than a dozen hotels in Sao Paulo, mostly at 16,000 points per night.
- Wyndham has several Tryp by Wyndham hotels in Sao Paulo.
- Accor Hotels is loaded with Sao Paulo hotels.
Staying in Sao Paulo for under $100 per night is easy to achieve.
Monterey MRY – Phoenix PHX – Los Angeles LAX – Sao Paulo GRU, Brazil
$570.34 September 15 – September 29, 2015
MRY-GRU 13,702 flight miles and 13,702 AAdvantage EQM
One of my friends, who traveled extensively through South America, told me Sao Paulo was the city he thought he was mostly likely to be mugged.
Rio de Janeiro is a bit more popular as a tourist destination and the host city of the 2016 Olympics. Hotel deals are far less prevalent in Rio.
Round trip Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro is as low as $98 round trip on TAM.
Choice Hotels in Sao Paulo are affordable
One of my criteria for an American Airlines ticket destination is to have affordable hotels in the place I land. I can buy 16,000 Choice Privileges points for $120 giving me a ceiling of $120 per hotel night. Of course there are plenty of cheap lodging options in Sao Paulo under $50 per night. That type of lodging tends to be outside my hotel market segment. Some of these Choice Hotels are under $75 per night. Interestingly, the hotel at 10,000 Choice Privileges points has rates over $150 per night on many dates.
One of the options if flying to Brazil is traveling to Rio de Janeiro for $100 and flying from GIG Rio de Janeiro Airport back to SFO for under $500.
American Airlines Rio de Janeiro GIG Brazil – San Francisco SFO
$476 Sep 8 – Sep 15
1,560 BRL = $475 USD round trip GIG to SFO for 13,533 EQM.
The dates don’t align with the itineraries shown here for nested tickets, but two nested tickets can be done flying MRY-Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro-SFO for a little over $1,000 for AA tickets and $100 for Brazil flights between GRU and GIG airports.
Brazil is a good deal. That visa procedure to get access to Brazil turns me off.
No visa necessary is a reason why I like Los Angeles – Copenhagen and Stockholm – San Francisco as a better nested ticket option.
Of course, the two ticket options I have shown for Brazil still only reach a little over 27,000 EQM and still needing 3,000 EQM to complete the 30,000 EQM needed for AAdvantage Executive Platinum challenge.
The domestic deal that can be done cheaply for big miles is Los Angeles to Anchorage at $268 round trip flying LA-PHX-ANC. That is 5,800 miles that can be knocked out with as little as one night in Anchorage.
Next up is the low fare deals from Los Angeles to Copenhagen at under $700. For Star Alliance flyers, United and friends offer LAX-CPH in September for under $550 round trip.