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Frequent travel from IAD to CPT

Frequent travel from IAD to CPT

Old Jan 3, 20, 7:07 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2020
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Frequent travel from IAD to CPT

I am based near IAD (Washington DC), originally from CPT South Africa. I travel between IAD to CPT 1 or 2 times a year. I am fairly new to the points world. My husband and I are planning a family soon, and I am trying to figure out the best strategy to gather points for business class award travel. Meaning, which loyalty program(s) should I be collecting miles with. I already have 2 chase cards (including reserve). These are the factors I have in mind:
-minimize total travel time (a bit flexible on this, but no 30+ hour itineraries)
-maximum one stop between a DC area airport (or up to 3 hour drive, or Newark) and CPT
-fee considerations for lap infants and children
-anything else I should be thinking about

Thanks!!
IAD_CPT_Traveler is offline  
Old Jan 3, 20, 9:32 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: ORD
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Originally Posted by IAD_CPT_Traveler View Post
I am based near IAD (Washington DC), originally from CPT South Africa. I travel between IAD to CPT 1 or 2 times a year. I am fairly new to the points world. My husband and I are planning a family soon, and I am trying to figure out the best strategy to gather points for business class award travel. Meaning, which loyalty program(s) should I be collecting miles with. I already have 2 chase cards (including reserve). These are the factors I have in mind:
-minimize total travel time (a bit flexible on this, but no 30+ hour itineraries)
-maximum one stop between a DC area airport (or up to 3 hour drive, or Newark) and CPT
-fee considerations for lap infants and children
-anything else I should be thinking about

Thanks!!
The issue you will run into with award travel between the US ans sub-Saharan Africa is many of the major players have restricted you to booking award trips to what they display via their award search page. Meaning you cannot stitch together an award trip on a segment by segment basis. This is true on UA and AA. I have no personal experience with Delta, Alaska or Virgin. So you will have to take whatever routing you see on an airline's award search site for your IAD-CPT trip.

From my personal experience booking awards between the US and South Africa using either UA or AA miles,, I would use UA miles (Chase UR points) as these are the easiest to find, book and the lowest cost.

Using UA miles, I have found that there is usually close in award space on SA209/SA210 (IAD-ACC-JNB and back). And there is typically a lot of award space between JNB and CPT. Also you can find ET business awards between IAD and CPT via ADD. There are also close in award availability between the US and South Africa on LH and LX. "Close in" means booking flights under 61 days from date of travel, there is an additional charge for that ($125).

On AA, you can typically find BA business awards for IAD-LHR-CPT (or IAD-LHR-JNB-CPT with the last segment being a BA/Comair flight). The only issue with that is you have some pretty hefty fees (> $500 each passenger, each way) for booking BA flights. It is possible to book QR business award flights to CPT from the US (IAD, PHL and JFK would be the closest for you). But over the last year or so, QR award availability has been problematic. QR would be my first option if available as it has low fees and their QSuites business product is just about the best business class at the moment.

Again, I have no experience booking awards on Delta, Alaska or Virgin. I would go on the forums for each US airline that flies (or whose alliance flies) between the US and South Africa for better information on the specifics for South African award flights on that airline/alliance.
cheltzel is offline  
Old Jan 4, 20, 2:23 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by IAD_CPT_Traveler View Post
I am based near IAD (Washington DC), originally from CPT South Africa. I travel between IAD to CPT 1 or 2 times a year. I am fairly new to the points world. My husband and I are planning a family soon, and I am trying to figure out the best strategy to gather points for business class award travel. Meaning, which loyalty program(s) should I be collecting miles with. I already have 2 chase cards (including reserve). These are the factors I have in mind:
-minimize total travel time (a bit flexible on this, but no 30+ hour itineraries)
-maximum one stop between a DC area airport (or up to 3 hour drive, or Newark) and CPT
-fee considerations for lap infants and children
-anything else I should be thinking about

Thanks!!
Having 1 transit airport between DC area and CPT restricts your options a lot
As above, awards are often not available on the most direct route, so unlikely to/may not happen.
And more airlines/flights from NYC airports and JNB
All of the major alliances (Oneworld, Star, Skyteam) could get you to RSA, but with different costs/routes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_T...tional_Airport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O._R._...tional_Airport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washin...tional_Airport
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reagan_National_Airport

Great Circle Mapper

Are you/husband a member of any freq flyer programs now?
Travel pattern?
What airline/route do you use now for IAD-CPT?

Credit card transfer links

Last edited by Mwenenzi; Jan 4, 20 at 2:30 am
Mwenenzi is offline  
Old Jan 4, 20, 7:11 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
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Originally Posted by Mwenenzi View Post
Having 1 transit airport between DC area and CPT restricts your options a lot
You can say that for just about every city-pair, yet there are so many options available:
CDG, AMS, ADD, DXB, FRA, LHR, JFK, JNB, DOH, ZRH, IST

To the OP, keep in mind that whatever strategy is valid today this may not be the case anymore next year, let alone in a couple of years, FFPs change constantly and generally for the worse, flight routes are changed constantly (e.g. UA introducing a direct JFK-CPT flight for just a little extra drive time) etc. if your intention is to (mostly) transfer points from a credit card then you are probably better off checking your alternatives every time before you fly, you might even find some good cash deals.

Unless you are already a frequent flyer, in which case as @Mwenenzi pointed out we need to know more about your travel patterns.
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Old Jan 4, 20, 8:08 am
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Originally Posted by Ditto View Post
You can say that for just about every city-pair, yet there are so many options available:
CDG, AMS, ADD, DXB, FRA, LHR, JFK, JNB, DOH, ZRH, IST

To the OP, keep in mind that whatever strategy is valid today this may not be the case anymore next year, let alone in a couple of years, FFPs change constantly and generally for the worse, flight routes are changed constantly (e.g. UA introducing a direct JFK-CPT flight for just a little extra drive time) etc. if your intention is to (mostly) transfer points from a credit card then you are probably better off checking your alternatives every time before you fly, you might even find some good cash deals.

Unless you are already a frequent flyer, in which case as @Mwenenzi pointed out we need to know more about your travel patterns.
Very true!! Especially the part about FFPs constantly changing and usually for the worse,
cheltzel is offline  

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