Here’s a Black Friday promotion out of left field to tell you about, courtesy of TAP Air Portugal. The Portuguese national airline’s frequent flyer program is known as TAP Miles&Go, and it also offers a paid service known as Club TAP Miles&Go that gives members extra perks within the program.
While a Club TAP Miles&Go subscription normally doesn’t offer enough value to justify the cost in my view, TAP is offering a Black Friday promotion on the top-tier Club Platinum subscription that makes it a lot more interesting.
132,000 TAP Miles + Gold Status for €718
Club TAP Miles&Go offers four subscription options: Club Basic, Club Extra, Club Top, and Club Platinum. Currently, the following offerings are included with each subscription tier:
As you can see, there are a few extra benefits included if you sign up for a Club Platinum membership before 11:59pm Portugal time on November 30, 2020. You’ll receive an elevated amount of 132,000 TAP miles over a 12-month period, and you’ll also receive TAP Miles&Go Gold status for a six-month period, instead of the usual Silver status that’s offered with the package.
The 132,000 TAP miles would be distributed as follows:
- 36,000 TAP miles upon subscription
- 8,000 TAP miles every month for the next 12 months, for a total of 96,000 TAP miles
Star Alliance Gold for Six Months
Meanwhile, the Club Platinum membership also grants you TAP Miles&Go Gold status for six months starting from December 2020, so it would last until June 2021.
TAP Miles&Go Gold corresponds to Star Alliance Gold across the wider alliance, meaning that you’ll enjoy priority treatment and lounge access even when travelling on Star Alliance partner airlines like Air Canada.
While six months isn’t a very long time in the context of having airline status, it can definitely be valuable if you have some domestic trips on Air Canada coming up over the first half of 2021, since you’ll still be able to enjoy the benefits of Star Alliance Gold.
Keep in mind, though, that if you already have Aeroplan Elite Status or plan to get a premium Aeroplan credit card, then many of the benefits would overlap and the incremental benefit of earning Star Alliance Gold would therefore be lower.
Finally, during your six months of Star Alliance Gold, you’d also have the opportunity to leverage it for a status match to another airline or alliance to extract even more utility out of the one-time status bump.
What Can 132,000 TAP Miles Get You?
Another significant chunk of value in this promotion lies in the 132,000 TAP miles that you’ll earn over the course of one year.
TAP miles don’t get a lot of attention among major airline loyalty programs, because they’re typically quite difficult to earn. The TAP Miles&Go program doesn’t partner with any transferrable points currencies, with the exception of converting Marriott Bonvoy points at an optimal ratio of 60,000 points = 25,000 miles.
However, as of late, TAP Miles&Go has been frequently putting on creative promotions to get more members involved in the program, and the current promotion of earning 132,000 TAP miles by signing up for Club Platinum is just another example.
The cost of the Club Platinum membership is €718, or about $1,116 (CAD), so the promotion essentially lets you acquire 132,000 TAP miles for 0.85 cents per point (cpp).
On paper, that’s a pretty low price at which to acquire points in an airline loyalty program, although we’d need to take a closer look at the program’s award charts and sweet spots in order to truly assess.
For travel on Star Alliance airlines departing from North America, TAP Miles&Go charges the following redemption prices in economy class:
And the following redemption prices in business class:
Running a quick comparison against Aeroplan’s new Flight Reward Chart, none of the economy class price points strike me as particularly great value, while the business class redemptions look a little more interesting.
For example, a redemption from Canada to southern South America would cost only 50,000 TAP miles one-way, compared to 60,000 Aeroplan points. There are fuel surcharges on Air Canada flights, but no surcharges on United, so a redemption on the latter turns out to be very reasonably priced.
Meanwhile, a redemption from Canada to Europe & North Africa would cost a fixed 80,000 TAP miles one-way, compared to the higher distance bands on Aeroplan’s Atlantic chart which can often reach 85,000 Aeroplan points if you’re travelling from the West Coast.
A more aspirational use of TAP miles comes in the form of TAP’s little-known partnership with Emirates, which allows you to redeem TAP miles on Emirates business class. While I originally thought that one could book Emirates First Class awards through TAP, it appears from the reader comments there’s some uncertainty in this regard, and Emirates First Class awards may in fact be blocked off.
As a non-Star Alliance partner, Emirates awards cannot be searched or booked online, so you’ll want to use a tool like ExpertFlyer to search for availability and then call TAP to book.
Historically, TAP’s program has passed along significant fuel surcharges on Emirates awards, but we know that Emirates reduced surcharges on all tickets across the board earlier this year, so there’s a good chance that the surcharges are much lower when booking with TAP now too.
Looking at the above chart for business class redemptions from North America, the 132,000 TAP miles that you earn from Club Platinum would be enough to get you to most parts of the world on an Emirates business class award via Dubai.
There are some much better sweet spots to be found in the pricing between other award zones. A good example is Asia–South Africa, which requires only 50,000 TAP miles for a one-way flight on Emirates business class.
A routing like Tokyo–Dubai–Johannesburg is 20 hours on Emirates business class, and when you consider that 50,000 TAP miles can effectively be acquired for $425 (CAD) under this promotion, that’s pretty incredible!
One idea would be to incorporate this sweet spot into an aspirational round-the-world trip – for example, using Alaska miles to get to Asia, using TAP miles to fly Emirates to South Africa, and then using Aeroplan points to get home (or the same trip but in reverse).
Despite these potential sweet spots, something to keep in mind is that the 132,000 TAP miles are only delivered over a 12-month period, so there’s a risk of devaluations to the TAP Miles&Go award charts in the meantime while you’re waiting for your points to be deposited.
Moreover, TAP miles expire three years after you’ve earned them, so it’s definitely important to have a use in mind for the medium-term if you’re going to purchase the Club Platinum membership.
We rarely see opportunities to buy your way directly to Star Alliance Gold or to acquire airline miles for less than 1 cent per point, so the fact that we can do both via TAP Air Portugal’s Black Friday promotion on a Club TAP Miles&Go membership is at least worth taking a moment to think about.
With a €718 ($1,116) outlay on the Club Platinum membership tier, you’ll get six months of Star Alliance Gold, which can be valuable even when travelling domestically within Canada. You’ll also get 132,000 TAP miles over a 12-month period, which don’t necessarily come with the best redemption rates across the board, but do have a handful of very appealing sweet spots.
If I didn’t currently hold Aeroplan 50K status and didn’t get my fill of flying Emirates very recently, then I’d be pretty tempted by this promotion indeed. Take a look at the TAP award charts and weigh up your options, and don’t forget, you have until 11:59pm Portugal time on November 30 to take advantage if you’re interested.