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Help with Chicago-Harare on Emirates
I’m a relative newcomer and still have a fair amount to learn. I’m wondering if anyone can give me any suggestions. My wife and I would like to travel from Chicago-Harare, Zimbabwe in July 2017. The best (and most palatable as far as stops/layovers go) deal currently seems to be on Emirates. We’d like to try for free tickets for this trip — on first class if possible.
We both have excellent credit above 800. Current cards — Me: Capital One Venture, Citi Thank you preferred Visa, Chase Sapphire. Wife: Citi preferred thank you MC, BarclayCard Arrival MC. Minimal current points on all of these. Monthly spend on cards around $2000. Not completely opposed to MS, but only in a fairly easy way.
Any thoughts on the best path?
Alaska recently devalued their award chart and EK ORD-DXB-HRE round trip will cost 95k/240k/400k AS miles per person round trip. You would have to buy a TON of miles. I don’t think it’s worth the trouble.
You could open up a slew of Citi AAdvantage cards when the bonus is high and travel on oneworld airlines via AA. You can connect in Europe or Doha, if you fly QR. You would need 80k/150k/240k round trip. I’d advise against flying BA since fuel surcharges can be very high.
Chase’s cards (Sapphire, Freedom, Freedom Unltd and Ink) as well as their United cards could also get you a decent bonus and you can travel on Star Alliance airlines, including Ethiopian and South African Airways. United has pretty generous routing rules as well as no fuel surcharges. United’s award rates are 80k/160k/260k.
Lastly, you can also open up some Amex cards with transferable points to Air France for travel via Skyteam partners – Delta (ironically, ORD-ATL-JNB-HRE is probably the shortest route but im not sure how good Delta is at releasing saver space on ATL-JNB), Air France, & Kenya Airways.
You dont have to stick to the same program or airline round trip – might be easier to find award space searching one way trips across different alliances.