GOL and Delta Air Lines announced earlier this year that members of their respective frequent flyer programs – SkyMiles and SMILES – could earn...

Delta Air Lines SkyMiles members can now redeem their miles for flights on Brazilian low-cost carrier GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, one of Brazil’s biggest airlines.

Similarly, members of GOL’s SMILES frequent-flyer program can now redeem their mileage points for flights on Delta Air Lines.

GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes and Delta Air Lines announced earlier this year that members of their respective frequent flyer programs – SkyMiles and SMILES – could earn miles on all flights operated by either carrier and now customers of either partner can redeem benefits through both programs. Delta and GOL also plan to implement codesharing services beyond their hubs in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia and Sao Paulo early next year.

The expanded alliance provides Delta customers access to frequent flyer awards on more than 900 GOL flights to 64 Latin and Caribbean destinations, increasing customers’ ability to reach fast-growing Latin markets, according to Delta. Popular Brazilian frequent-flyer destinations served directly by GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes, but not by Delta, include Porto Alegre, Belo Horizonte, Salvador, Recife and Fortaleza.

“Delta welcomes the opportunity to expand its cooperation with GOL by offering greater access to its extensive network from Brazil’s largest hubs in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia,” says Charlie Pappas, Delta’s managing director – alliances. “GOL is an excellent airline with a young and modern fleet offering a wide range of services in the growing Brazilian market.”

Following its merger with Northwest Airlines and until United Airlines and Continental Airlines complete their merger operationally to become a single carrier, Delta Air Lines is the biggest carrier in the world. Delta, its Northwest subsidiary and Delta Connection carriers offer service to 376 destinations in 67 countries and fly more than 170 million passengers each year

To mark the new reciprocal frequent-flyer agreement, GOL and Delta customers can earn triple miles for travel on the partner airline’s flights between December 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011. For example, a Delta SkyMiles member flying a GOL flight in Economy class between Sao Paulo and Fortaleza, Brazil will earn 8,712 SkyMiles round-trip compared to the normal 2,904. Full details are available at www.delta.com/brazilbonus.

“Delta is one of the world’s leading airlines and we are pleased to provide our customers access to its global network,” says Marcelo Bento, director of yield and alliances for GOL Linhas Aéreas Inteligentes. “Delta is a highly strategic partner for GOL’s growth around the world, and provides us a strong platform to build from in the New York market, throughout the United States and to Europe and Asia.”

Delta says it has invested heavily in Latin America in recent years, growing from a small Latin network a decade ago to serving more than 60 destinations across Latin America and the Caribbean today.

The U.S. carrier currently offers 30 nonstop flights each week from the United States to Brazil. This includes service between Atlanta and Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia; between New York-JFK and Sao Paulo; and between Detroit and Sao Paulo.

Delta’s recent growth in the Latin America region includes:

● Nonstop flights between Mexico City and Minneapolis-St. Paul and Memphis beginning in December 2010 and January 2011, respectively;

● Nonstop service between Cancun and Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Tampa, Florida; and San Antonio, each beginning February 19, 2011; and

● An announcement that Aerolineas Argentinas, the flag carrier of Argentina, will become the second Latin American member of Delta’s SkyTeam global airline alliance, offering Delta customers increased access to and from South America and complementing existing SkyTeam member Aeromexico.

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