If you're planning any trips to South America, check with some of the national carriers on their air passes.
These air passes generally have to be bought in the United States in conjunction with an international ticket to the gateway city in the particular country. Usually, you can fly on any airline serving the country.
Another restriction is that you can't visit any city more than once, except for connections, even when you have unlimited stopovers. Check the carriers about other restrictions.
Varig offers a pair of Brazil Air Passes. You can either visit four cities, not counting the gateways of Rio de Janeiro or Sao Paulo, for $250 during a 14-day period or an unlimited number of cities within 21 days for $330.
Avianca has two passes in Colombia. The Know Colombia pass offers 10 stopovers for $224 within a 30-day period, and the Colombian unlimited version allows 10 stopovers within eight days for $112.
Faucett Peruvian Airlines, has a 30-day Visit Peru pass with unlimited stopovers. While you can get the pass in conjunction with flights to Lima aboard any carrier, the cost of the pass is $180 if you fly to Peru on Faucett and $250 if you fly to Lima on other carriers, according to a Faucett spokesman.
AeroPeru offers a 30-day South American Pass that starts in Los Angeles and offers unlimited stopovers on its route system for $1,059 on a round-trip basis.
You can fly, for example, LAX-Mexico City-Lima and then visit such cities as Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Bogota, Caracas, La Paz and Guayaquil.
Air Paraguay also has a 30-day Visit South America fare with unlimited stopovers for $1,159 round trip.
The routing would be LAX-Mexico City (or Miami)-Asuncion. You could then fly on to other major South American cities before returning to LAX. This pass also includes accommodations for two nights, a dinner and casino chips in Asuncion.
Lan-Chile has three versions of its Visit Chile fare. The 21-day Continental One pass offers unlimited stopovers for $269. Pacific One also allows unlimited stopovers, plus flights to and from Easter Island within 21 days for $469. Pacific Two offers a $369 Santiago-Easter Island-Santiago fare.
Two Visit Argentina passes are offered by Aerolineas Argentinas. The 30-day version permits unlimited stopovers for $290. A 14-day pass lets you visit three cities, not counting the gateway of Buenos Aires, for $199.
Contract travel agents or the carriers. Other airlines serving South America may also have passes. The toll-free numbers for airlines cited here are: Aerolineas Argentinas, (800) 327-0276; AeroPeru, (800) 252-0458; Air Paraguay, (800) 832-8388; Avianca, (800) 327-9899; Faucett, (800) 334-3356; Lan-Chile, (800) 225-5526, and Varig, (800) 252-0403.