How I am going to Inti Fest in Peru in Business Class for only $65!

inti fest crowd


This is the first post in a series about my trip to Inti Fest 2013 in Peru.

For the last two years, my friend Diego has been trying to convince me to come to Asia Beach in Peru for the largest music festival in that country.  He is the type of guy that when he says “Trust me, it will be an amazing time”, he really means it.  As a festival that is described as “an ecological and cultural electronic music festival that celebrates music, appreciation of Peruvian culture and the environment,” it certainly sounded interesting.  Plus being able to get some of the best ceviche in the world while I was there didn’t hurt! I have been to Peru twice before and had explored Lima and Machu Picchu, but had never made it to the Asia Beach area one hour south of Lima where my friends from Miami claimed the great beach parties were. The DJ lineup for this festival was pretty nice as well.

Inti Fest Lineup 2013

But as those who know me would say, I only like doing things when I get a deal so when I looked around at the Wandering Aramean’s page to compare different frequent flyer options I saw that one of my favorites, British Airways was the best choice with a rate of 50,000 Avios points for business class.  Since it is almost a 5+ hour flight from Miami, I definitely wanted business class if possible.  United Airlines was a hefty 20,000 miles more so I wanted to get the flight with Avios if possible.  Remember that you can book using Avios on any Oneworld carrier which means that I could use them for American Airlines and LAN Peru flights, both of which service this route.

The problem was, as happens often, was that there was no availability when I went to book around a month before!  However, I know if you can be flexible, the airlines often release more frequent flyer seats when it gets close to the travel dates.  It is better to put a frequent flyer in a seat than have it go empty. So I actually thought I wasn’t going to be able to go, but I kept checking periodically to see if they released any seats.  Low and behold, as I checked a week before the festival, I saw a bunch of seats pop up.  But the only ones that worked to attend the festival were leaving a little bit earlier than I had planned, just three days from when I saw them! But if you have some flexibility then these last minute trips can be some of the most rewarding.  When I checked on British Airways site, this is what I found!

Miami to Lima using British Airways Miles for Int Fest Peru


So for 50,000 Avios Points plus $65, I was on my way! I still had a few Avios left over from my 100,000 Visa I got with them, but transferred some from the 264,000 I got into my Ultimate Rewards Sears shopping adventure. And just like that, I was booked!  Awesome music, great ceviche, seeing a part of Peru I have never seen before, and spending time with friends: what can be better than that?

Lima, Peru Airport Lounges

After missing my flight in Santiago (mental note, always check in 24 hours ahead of time), I ended up with a 12 hour layover in Lima from 12 AM to 12 PM. I wasn’t sure until I arrived in Lima if I would be able to make an earlier connection so I didn’t arrange a hotel or hostel ahead of time. I also would have needed to go through immigration and security again if I had left the airport so I decided to check out the lounges and camp out until I my flight left. When I had been in Lima previously, I had used the “VIP Club” lounge which while a bit crowded had a good food selection.  I had noticed another lounge called the “Sumaq VIP Lounge” but had assumed that it for for a different airline than LAN which I was flying.  This time I decided to ask and found out that like Santiago, you can use either lounge when flying business class with LAN.  As I walked into the lounge, I could already tell it was a bit nicer than the VIP Club lounge with plush furniture and a glass cabinet showing off some silver items which really gave it an upscale feel.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

There was also a very nice wood paneled bar with many different liquors on offer and an accommodating bartender ready to chat the night away if needed.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

Since I had been in the airport all day the day before and arrived after midnight, I was happy to see that they not only offered showers for your use but also had a rest area room with these comfortable looking chaises where you could get a bit of rest if needed.

Sumaq Lounge Lima

The food was typical if a bit lighter than the VIP club room.  In the morning they had hard boiled eggs, cereals, toast and jellies.  They had the requisite fancy coffee maker for your latte or expresso needs and even a fresh squeezed orange just machine that would cut and squeeze you a class when you fed it the supplied oranges.  The internet was shared with the other VIP lounge and in typical Peruvian fashion it was quite slow with 380K down and 100K up.  I certainly would get frustrated trying to send any large files here!

Having a shower and then napping for a few hours made my long layover much more enjoyable and made me refreshed and ready to tackle the 7 hour flight back to Miami.  Particularly for overnight layovers, I would recommend the Sumaq lounge instead of the VIP lounge in Lima.