Great LATAM Business Class Fares From The US To South Africa

Filed Under: Flight Deals, Great Deals

As I’ve said before, in general I don’t think there’s anything wrong with planning travel way in advance, given the deals that are available. However, if you’re going to do so, go into it with the expectation that the trip may not materialize, as we don’t know how the current situation will evolve.

I’ll keep sharing especially good deals that I see, though make sure you approach all of them with caution. Personally I’d rather redeem miles right now than pay cash, though this deal is too good to not at least mention…

Premium cabin flights from the US to South Africa are often quite expensive, and award availability can be tough to come by. When most people consider flying to South Africa, they think of either flying direct, flying through another hub in Africa (Addis Ababa, Nairobi, etc.), or connecting in Europe.

LATAM has had great fares to South Africa via South America for quite a while, though they’re even lower than before, and there’s another thing that has greatly improved, which I’ll talk more about below.

Amazing LATAM business class fares from Miami to Johannesburg

LATAM has roundtrip business class fares from Miami to Johannesburg for ~$1,800, which is incredibly low. Availability as of now is good through the end of 2020, though obviously not all dates will be available.

There are one stop routings available through Sao Paulo.

If you’re looking to earn as many miles as possible, you can double connect in Santiago and Sao Paulo.

This increases your mileage flown from ~17,500 roundtrip to ~20,750 roundtrip.

Lastly, note that if you just want to fly between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, fares are great as well, as you can fly for ~$950 roundtrip.

To find these fares you can search on ITA Matrix or Google Flights.

LATAM’s new upgraded business class

While low fares have long been available between Miami and Sao Paulo on LATAM, there are a couple of things that make this more tempting than in the past:

  • LATAM now flies the A350 between Sao Paulo and Johannesburg, while they used to fly the 767, so the passenger experience has been upgraded significantly at this point
  • LATAM flies 777s between Miami and Sao Paulo, and LATAM is almost done upgrading business class on these planes, as they’re going from angled seats to seats with direct aisle access

On the 777s your odds are good of getting the new business class seats.

Meanwhile on the A350s you can expect LATAM’s 2-2-2 business class, which is still quite nice.

Where can you credit miles for these flights?

LATAM is in the process of leaving oneworld as they’re partnering with Delta now. You could credit these flights to Delta SkyMiles, for one. These business class fares book into the “Z” fare class, and you could earn the following with SkyMiles:

  • 150% Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs)
  • 30% Medallion Qualifying Dollars (MQDs) based on the distance flown
  • Elite mileage bonuses still apply

If you took the “simple” routing via Sao Paulo, you’d be flying 17,405 miles, which would earn you 26,107 MQMs and 5,222 MQDs.

You could also credit to Alaska Mileage Plan, in which case you’d earn:

  • 100% Elite Qualifying Miles (EQMs)
  • 200% redeemable miles
  • Elite mileage bonuses still apply

On top of that, while LATAM is in the process of leaving oneworld, they will continue to partner with some oneworld airlines, so there will still be opportunities to earn miles with at least some oneworld programs. Unfortunately American AAdvantage is excluded, though.

Bottom line

At the moment LATAM has among the lowest business class fares I ever recall seeing from Miami to Johannesburg. While cheap fares have been available in the market for a long time, this is several hundred dollars cheaper than this fare used to be.

On top of that, LATAM is upgrading their business class product, meaning this journey will be much more comfortable than in the past.

That being said, for most people this isn’t a fare I’d be taking advantage of right now. With borders closed and so much uncertainty, I’d generally shy away from this. That being said, if stuff starts to normalize and borders start to open up and a trip to South Africa is on the horizon, definitely keep this fare in mind.

(Tip of the hat to hevernan)

  1. A couple of years ago, I saw pax from Brazil to S. Africa needed a yellow fever vaccination, does anybody know if it was still the case right before the covid19? I have several hours at GRU, I don’t think international connections there aren’t sterile?

    Any recommended seats on those aircrafts?

  2. Old news, about a week ago they were selling $436 r/t business from Mexico City to Cape Town with availability through all of 2020 going to March of 2021.

  3. It is a bummer that Delta used a lower MQD conversion for LATAM compared to its other preferred partners. Aeromexico, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Australia and Korean all earn 40% MQDs on all Business class fares. I know sometimes LATAM can have cheaper business class fares, but the same can definitely be said for Aeromexico. I have also had success with KLM and VS in the past.

    I won’t really be booking this right now anyways, but looking ahead to the future…

  4. @Maverik – I flew GRU-DOH-JNB in December 2014 and wasn’t asked about yellow fever at all. I’d spent the day in the city too, never mind staying airside.

    I’m not finding anything current on either, but check there with your own particulars.

  5. @NK3 – I stopped buying revenue tickets on JAL for a similar reason. AA now only awards14% of the miles flown on JAL business class towards EQDs. That’s way too low compared to the 20-25% awarded for flying business class in most other OW the partners.

  6. How refundable are these tickets? Given the current situation, South Africa may decide to refuse US citizens for a while. Then the airline shrugs and says not my problem.

  7. if you’re writing about good fares, maybe you could write an article about the ongoing Icelandair deal, with ZRH-JFK business class return for 485EUR (with OTA discounts). On the other way, its around 780 USD, which is also not that bad. Many more city pairs available.

  8. I saw IAD – JNB on Latam Business for $1410 last week with availability through early 2021. IAD-GRU was on a 777 with angled flat seats though.

  9. @Gene OMG do you have some kind of reading desease? Literally nobody is saying “look at this deals folks, go fly” Ben is just sharing what for many of us is a solid deal for the FUTURE in case you where eyeing a trip to South Africa from the US later this year or beginning of 2021

  10. Thank you, @Jose. Can the mods delete/filter out posts with “who is booking air travel right now?”-type remarks? This deal is valid through MARCH 2021. Everyone has their own COVID-19 comfort zone, but if you’re skittish about committing to travel 11 months from now, you don’t belong on a blog for frequent flyers.

  11. Due to COVID, US citizens can’t enter South Africa right now. I don’t think its clear how long the “ban” will last.

  12. Before booking anything with LATAM, one should bear in mind that LATAM refuses to provide refunds for flights it canceled due to the Corona virus. Instead, it only is offering a voucher that expires one year from the ticket purchase date.

  13. @BA from BWI. Not sure what you are looking at. I live in DC and in S.P. and commute back and forth. I can assure you LATAM is not flying out of IAD, let alone with a 777. United is the only carrier flying non-stop to GRU with a 767…not right now of course.

  14. @Stuart I just had a quick glance at the fare and checked the plane types that day. I think it was DCA/BWI – MIA – GRU – JNB; sorry about that. I’ve never flown LATAM and my flights to South Africa were almost always on BA. Also, the MIA-GRU leg was on a B777 with angled flat seats.

  15. @BA from BWI.

    LATAM is all flat. Only the config changes between the old 2-2-2 and the new 1-2-1 (which is far better). But they are both flat.

    Most of the Miami-GRU flights are using the new Business now. But it’s still possible to get a 777 with the old. Which is still not awful.

    Don’t expect anything special though with food/service, etc. It’s mediocre at best with whatever you end up getting for hard product.

    If you get on the new config, seats 8A or 8L are the magic ones. The area is larger than the other seat cabins for some odd reason. And at the front of the rear mini-cabin.

  16. @Maverik Yellow fever vaccine and proof of vaccination is required if you reside in Brazil, Argentina or in a yellow fever endemic country.

  17. I’ve done a South Africa-GRU-North America transit several times using STAR awards on SAA and AC and no Yellow Fever (or other) sort of certificate was required (traveling on a Canadian passport) though I do suspect once international travel gets slowly back on stream we’ll require some form of medical certificate issued on the basis of having an immunity test (issued within a short period prior to travel).

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