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Answers (16)

Best way to return from Africa to DFW

Best way to return from Africa to DFW

  1. Rohan

    Long time reader, first time poster here…

    I have booked a trip to South Africa/Namibia for New Years/Early January, and I am trying to figure out a way to best optimize the miles I have available to return from either WDH or JNB/CPT to DFW (or some point in North America) given the miles that I have:

    1. 70K AA miles
    2. 70K Chase Sapphire points (soon to receive an additional 100K with Reserve bonus signup after hitting $4000 in spending)
    3. 65K Delta miles

    I am doing my best to fly premium, if I can, but understandably, that may be a lofty goal.

    My travel dates are either:

    1. leaving the night of January 5 from WDH, JNB or CPT
    2. leaving no later than 12 pm on January 6 from WDH.

    Any help, advice would be appreciated!

  2. Gaurav

    That’s a busy travel time so I would definitely have a back up plan. If you can generate 5k more AA miles you can book Qatar via Doha. Your UR points could also be transferred over to United to book star alliance space at 80k miles. DL charges 70k if you can find space at the saver level. Good luck!

  3. MidSouthSkier

    Welcome [USER=2327]@Rohan[/USER] – for 75K AA miles you can fly Qatar via Doha to DFW (or ATL, BOS, ORD, IAH, MIA, YUL, JFK, PHL, IAD). QR flies to all 3 of your cities. You may also find space on BA but of course there will be fuel surcharges. I found 1 seat out of JNB for 1/5 (nothing from the other cities) but it’s the early flight, departing JNB at 1410 to DOH connecting to another QR flight to Birmingham, England and on to JFK on AA, arriving at 1215. From there you can find a number of options from both JFK and LGA though it appears you’ll have to connect.

    If you transfer your URs to United, they will charge 80K for partner business class award space. If you are willing to fly UA on the trans-Atlantic leg I believe they’ll charge 70K. If you want to fly first class it’s 130K for partner flights and 85K for UA flights. Using the UA website I don’t see any space at all for flights to FRA or MUC from any of the 3 cities though that may open up as the dates approach.

    With Delta I’m only seeing flights for 110K points in economy, 250K for business.

    This is a tough time of the year to try to find award space so the more flexible you can be, the better.

  4. David W

    Since it’s a busy time, I’d consider paid business class, especially if award space is scarce and you have pretty finite travel dates. I’m seeing ~$2600/$2700/$2800 for JNB-DXB/AUH/DOH-DFW on EK, EY, QR, respectively.

    Ben says QR’s the best all around business class but EY’s flights on the routing have direct aisle access. Either choice would be a great pick. EK I’d pick last because their business class on the 777 is 7 across with angle flats.

  5. Rohan

    You guys [B]ROCK. [/B]thank you for your help and prompt responses. I am going to reply to each of you individually on your responses to this query.

  6. Rohan

    [QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 21095, member: 79″]That’s a busy travel time so I would definitely have a back up plan. If you can generate 5k more AA miles you can book Qatar via Doha. Your UR points could also be transferred over to United to book star alliance space at 80k miles. DL charges 70k if you can find space at the saver level. Good luck![/QUOTE]

    Hi Gaurav!

    I did some checking on United and the 80K miles do not look bad, however, it seems that a lot of the routings are either via Sao Paulo on SAA or Cairo on MS to get back to the US. I am honestly stumped on how to use Delta. Do you have any suggestions on best uses for Delta?

    Thanks!

  7. Rohan

    [QUOTE=”MidSouth Skier, post: 21096, member: 184″]Welcome [USER=2327]@Rohan[/USER] – for 75K AA miles you can fly Qatar via Doha to DFW (or ATL, BOS, ORD, IAH, MIA, YUL, JFK, PHL, IAD). QR flies to all 3 of your cities. You may also find space on BA but of course there will be fuel surcharges. I found 1 seat out of JNB for 1/5 (nothing from the other cities) but it’s the early flight, departing JNB at 1410 to DOH connecting to another QR flight to Birmingham, England and on to JFK on AA, arriving at 1215. From there you can find a number of options from both JFK and LGA though it appears you’ll have to connect.

    If you transfer your URs to United, they will charge 80K for partner business class award space. If you are willing to fly UA on the trans-Atlantic leg I believe they’ll charge 70K. If you want to fly first class it’s 130K for partner flights and 85K for UA flights. Using the UA website I don’t see any space at all for flights to FRA or MUC from any of the 3 cities though that may open up as the dates approach.

    With Delta I’m only seeing flights for 110K points in economy, 250K for business.

    This is a tough time of the year to try to find award space so the more flexible you can be, the better.[/QUOTE]

    Hi MidSouth Skiier –

    Did you use the British Airways AVIOS site for looking up award space? I’ve been trying to do that on QR. Is the 75K fare for Y or J?

  8. Rohan

    [QUOTE=”David W, post: 21101, member: 29″]Since it’s a busy time, I’d consider paid business class, especially if award space is scarce and you have pretty finite travel dates. I’m seeing ~$2600/$2700/$2800 for JNB-DXB/AUH/DOH-DFW on EK, EY, QR, respectively.

    Ben says QR’s the best all around business class but EY’s flights on the routing have direct aisle access. Either choice would be a great pick. EK I’d pick last because their business class on the 777 is 7 across with angle flats.[/QUOTE]

    I’ve considered that. ITA Matrix shows some CHEAP J class fares from JNB to Toronto on EK, which features the A388, but reproducing on Kayak or any other website has been difficult.

    I’ve flown QR in J, never done EY but have heard OK things. Any other advice?

  9. MarkS

    An option is Singapore Airlines. Although nothing is available until 1/12. It’s JNB-SIN on the A359 then SIN-LAX on the newer 777. Total is 80,750 SQ points plus $450 in surcharges as well as you need to get yourself to DFW from LAX. However you could waitlist yourself on the 5th and if it clears then transfer the points in. I think Chase is instant in transfers as you have 24 hours to ticket once the waitlist clears. You can also call Singapore and beg them to clear you, not saying it will work but for some it has.

    With Delta they are stingy with availability. However it costs 95K one way, the most expensive. Options are Virgin Atlantic (787), Air France 777 and KLM.

    I did a reservation for SA next year. I had a bunch of different options I reserved including Singapore. Ended up with UA ORD-MUC-LHR-ADD-CPT on United First and ET 350/787 for 80K (all my choice) had other options). Then the return on QR CPT-DOH-LHR 787/A380 and AA 777-300 75K. The key to all of these was piecing the segments together as DfW-JNB isn’t going to get you much. Other than United First they are all J.

    BA doesn’t have any availability from JNB or CPT but it would be 75K plus probably around $700 in fees for J.

    The best deal is CX with Alaska, first class for 70K points J 60K (JNB-HKG is J only), but nothing is available for that time period. As others have mentioned, this is a tough time to get rewards unless you strike really early.

    Good luck

  10. Gaurav

    [USER=2121]@MarkS[/USER] my understanding has always been that you need to have points in your SQ account in order to waitlist an award. Is this a new development that you can waitlist without transferring in points?

  11. Gaurav

    [USER=2327]@Rohan[/USER], if you are seeing something on ITA that you want to book, try this [URL]http://frequentmiler.boardingarea.com/2016/07/22/bet-didnt-know-new-way-book-flights-directly-ita-matrix/[/URL]

    [QUOTE=”Rohan, post: 21115, member: 2327″]I’ve considered that. ITA Matrix shows some CHEAP J class fares from JNB to Toronto on EK, which features the A388, but reproducing on Kayak or any other website has been difficult.

    I’ve flown QR in J, never done EY but have heard OK things. Any other advice?[/QUOTE]

  12. Gaurav

    If you want to book with AA miles, you should use the BA tool to search since you will get a better idea of partner availability. Searching on QR might produce confusing results since airlines sometimes make additional award availability available to their own partners. Searching segment by segment on BA seems to produce the best results.

    [QUOTE=”Rohan, post: 21114, member: 2327″]Hi MidSouth Skiier –

    Did you use the British Airways AVIOS site for looking up award space? I’ve been trying to do that on QR. Is the 75K fare for Y or J?[/QUOTE]

  13. Gaurav

    Egyptair does release a fair amount of space so it’s not surprising that you are seeing those options. If you want to look for specific carriers I would check the wikipedia pages for the airports that you are interested in to see which carriers fly there and then check segment by segment on united for availability. ANA and Aeroplan are good backup search engines.

    DL you just search on the DL site. Even though their saver awards are cheaply priced I would be very surprised to see them available at that price, especially at that time of year. Doesn’t hurt to check though. Good luck.

    [QUOTE=”Rohan, post: 21113, member: 2327″]Hi Gaurav!

    I did some checking on United and the 80K miles do not look bad, however, it seems that a lot of the routings are either via Sao Paulo on SAA or Cairo on MS to get back to the US. I am honestly stumped on how to use Delta. Do you have any suggestions on best uses for Delta?

    Thanks![/QUOTE]

  14. MarkS

    [QUOTE=”Gaurav, post: 21124, member: 79″][USER=2121]@MarkS[/USER] my understanding has always been that you need to have points in your SQ account in order to waitlist an award. Is this a new development that you can waitlist without transferring in points?[/QUOTE]

    Hi [USER=79]@Gaurav[/USER] so that is a good question. I’m trying to think about my first waitlist and I’m positive I didn’t have enough points in the account. Where or not I had any I can’t remember, but I don’t think I did and if so it was a few thousand from some hotel credits. I remember them holding a reservation for me with 1/2 the points plus putting a 2nd one on hold simultaneously. I’ve had great success dealing with their agents. If you called and asked for a waitlist telling them you’ll transfer if it clears maybe they’d allow it.

    Edit: So according to the blogs you need enough points to waitlist. But I’ve waitlisted multiple itineraries without enough so I guess it’s a YMMV thing.

    Second Edit. So I looked and I had transferred points from into the account but not enough to cover the waitlist. I was about 10k short. But I was able to waitlist 2 itineraries. Both were done on the phone. My apologies.

  15. MidSouthSkier

    [QUOTE=”Rohan, post: 21114, member: 2327″]Hi MidSouth Skiier –

    Did you use the British Airways AVIOS site for looking up award space? I’ve been trying to do that on QR. Is the 75K fare for Y or J?[/QUOTE]

    The 75K fare should be for J. I’m assuming you’re flying back to the continental US.
    [URL]https://www.aa.com/i18n/aadvantage-program/miles/redeem/award-travel/oneworld-and-other-airline-partner-award-chart.jsp#us[/URL]

    And yes, I used the Avios site and did a number of segment-by-segment searches.

  16. Anonymous

    Given the time of year, and that you’re leaving from Johannesburg, I would [I]definitely[/I] consider a paid ticket. They can be really inexpensive from there, so if that fits with your budget I’d go that route.

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