Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Award tickets to South Africa
I’m thinking about a trip to South Africa in late April. I’d like to find a business class ticket (or PE, at least) from DTW to CPT. If JNB makes more sense, I know that I can connect for about $200 R/T. I have approx. 90K Sky Miles, 185K AAdvantage, 480K Marriott Rewards (after 8/18) and 160K UR.
It seems that Google shows Delta’s Comfort Plus as PE, which is not quite the same. AA shows saver awards, but only BA connections with large fees. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
For AA look for flights on Qatar even if it means connecting in the US. That’s the only way to avoid the fees of BA. AA doesn’t let you get PE seats with miles.
You could try Lufthansa though there will be fuel surcharges involved there too.
The Qatar route would be interesting. I can position to BOS or ORD easily. I have a BA account, but can’t find anything on their site. If I try BOS-DOH, it says that they don’t serve that route and when I try DOH-JNB, it says that they show only direct, not connecting, flights. I’m not certain what I am doing wrong.
Look at Wikipedia for DOH airport to see what other US airports QR serves. Then use the BA tool to search those routes non-stop, like IAD-DOH, ORD-DOH, etc. Piece that availability together with the DOH-JNB leg you found.
I’m actually tackling this problem right now. My father lives in Kalamazoo and I’m looking to have him meet me in JNB early April. If you’re willing to take a short connection, look at flying into Windhoek, Namibia as well. I’ve found some options on DL/partners to there for 95k in Delta One/Comparable partner class.
You can also look at going the looooonnnnng way around with your AA miles… Look at Cathay… take a hop to ORD/JFK/EWR/(SEA/LAX/SFO) then -HKG-JNB. That is actually what brought up my trip, as I wanted to get on the inaugural SEA-HKG Cathay flight. They are starting up Capetown as well, soon, so maybe could find space HKG-CPT.
Thanks for the tips. I found some PE space on Virgin, but the taxes/fees are pretty high. Were the Delta partners AF/KL? Would I be able to book ORD-HKG-JNB using AA miles?
It was on KLM. They have an old colonial hopper that goes AMS-Lagos (1.5 hour, no plane swap)- Windhoek. I believe the routing i found was AZO(might have been grand rapids)-MSP-AMS-LOS-WDH with only minor stops in MSP/AMS (2-3 hours or so)
I can’t remember where to, but I also found options going through Rome and switching to Alitalia. It may have been Cairo, as I figured paying $400 for JNB-CAI wasn’t that bad an idea as long as the good stuff was delta one…
As far as Cathay with AAdvantage, it certainly can be done. They’re both One World. However, I’m not familiar with going this route. I use Alaska Miles. Taking Cathay First/Business all the way to South Africa using AS miles is pretty much the holy grail of redemptions. This one, since the A350 doesn’t have F, cost me only 62.5K miles and $19. I did F to Australia last year… 80K+ like $92 i think… that ticket priced out was close to $20,000
To me, the goal is always to get close with the good seat/miles. If i’m within a 2-4 hour domestic/intercontinental hop for just a little bit of cash, so be it. Explore a new city I had no plans to be in for a day or so! This is actually how I fell in love with Perth!
Great advice from Dave!
Just to add to the American routing question – you can do this, but AA will charge you for two awards since you are transiting a third region (Hong Kong). Only transiting Europe or Middle East (on Qatar only) is a valid routing to be charged one award on AA…
Thanks to everyone for the suggestions. I’d prefer to use the AA miles and will continue to look at QR. If that fails, what about moving the Marriott points to AS?
AS is good if you can find space on Cathay. They also partner with Condor, BA and Emirates. I’m not sure how great Condor is and they dont fly to many destinations in the US. Awards for travel on BA has high surcharges. Awards on EK are stupidly expensive.