British Airways and Smiles, the loyalty program of GOL Linhas Aereas, are set to launch a frequent flyer partnership. Like the one GOL has with American Airlines, it will benefit clients of the Smiles program that decide to travel with British. But what else do we know? Is a codeshare agreement in the talks? Let’s investigate further.
Smiles is the exclusive manager of one of the most extensive coalition loyalty programs in Brazil. It offers reward tickets to more than 1000 destinations in Brazil and abroad while providing many more non-ticket reward products.
Additionally, Smiles sells miles to commercial and financial partners, including GOL and other partner airlines. Among these airlines are Aerolíneas Argentinas, AirFrance, Alitalia, Etihad, Aeroméxico, Emirates, Copa Airlines, KLM, TAP, Qatar, Air Canada, Korean Air, Passaredo, Royal Air Maroc, South African Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, TAAG, and AirEuropa.
Now, British Airways will enter this program, as reported by Brazilian newspaper O’Globo and Head for Points.
O’Globo said that Smiles clients would redeem (but not earn) points in flights with British Airlines. Simple Flying contacted Smiles but hasn’t received an answer so far.
O’Globo’s article didn’t state the possibility of a codeshare agreement. Rob Burguess from Head for Points said that a frequent flyer partnership only seems unlikely. He added that we could see a full codeshare in the future.
Simple Flying contacted GOL Linhas Aereas about the possibility of a codeshare agreement with British Airways. The Brazilian low-cost carrier denied any future codeshare agreement at the moment.
While that’s expected, we should also take into account GOL’s recent developments. After ending its partnership with Delta Air Lines, GOL has approached American Airlines. Both carriers launched a codeshare agreement in February. Additionally, Smiles launched a frequent flyer partnership with American, as reported by local media. According to O’Globo, besides the British Airways partnership, Smiles will also launch one with Iberia. American, British, and Iberia are oneworld members.
Meanwhile, GOL has launched a few codeshare agreements in the past few months.
The most recent was the expansion of the agreement with Colombian airline Avianca, as we reported. Previously, the Brazilian carrier also signed a new codeshare agreement with Ethiopian Airlines.
Would a codeshare agreement work for British Airways?
LATAM Airlines Group used to be a close partner with British Airways. The South American carrier belonged to the oneworld alliance for many years. But recently, since Delta acquired 20% of LATAM’s stakes, it exited the alliance.
This left British Airways somewhat unprotected in South America. The launch of this frequent flyer partnership and a possible codeshare agreement shortly would help the British carrier.
On the other hand, for GOL, it would be a way to enhance its presence in Europe. The Brazilian carrier doesn’t operate transcontinental flights as it only has a Boeing 737 fleet. So, over the years, it has signed several strategic alliances. In Europe, it has one with Air France-KLM.