Advice please- US to JNB/CPT award

 
Old May 3, 14, 6:44 am
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Advice please- US to JNB/CPT award

I have been tracking award availability using AA miles for SA for a while now.

It seems AA online shows awards routing on BA. Has anyone succeeded in garnering at least 2 awards for either BusinessSaver or FirstSaver? I have only come across the occasional FirstSaver. I have also split the award into two segments -US to LHR (seems to be no problem) and then LHR to JNB and return from CPT. I sometimes will see BusinessSaver but not on many dates for JNB but have not ever seen CPT to LHR.

I understand BA makes their flights available 355 days ahead but American is only 331 days. Can an AA agent access these awards in that 24 day gap or do Aadvantage members simply have to wait and hope? Is it better to pay and use an agent for this? Are there other airline routings?

There are plenty of economy awards on the LHR- South Africa segs but given they are an 11 hour flight I'd rather not be in economy........I'd settle for premium economy if I could but I don't think that class is available to us on an award.

Alternatively I have checked pricing for the LHR-SA segs and even as a RT LHR-JNB but the pricing is pretty near the same as flying from US gateway....at least for economy pricing.

Does anyone have any advice/ experience with awards using AAmiles to South Africa?.... It would be greatly appreciated😊.

Our trip starts Mid September 2015 and ends October 9 2015 so I have plenty of time to strategize before seats open up.

Many thanks!
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Old May 3, 14, 7:00 am
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The good news is that BA generally has the best availability and lowest mileage to SA using AA miles. The bad news is that you will get socked with expensive fees and have to fly an inferior product.

Personally, I would look at both QR via DOH or EY via AUH. No fees like BA but mileage would be a little higher. The inflight experience would be infinitely better on both.
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Old May 3, 14, 7:16 am
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Originally Posted by nalismom View Post

I understand BA makes their flights available 355 days ahead but American is only 331 days. Can an AA agent access these awards in that 24 day gap or do Aadvantage members simply have to wait and hope?
331 days is the limit when booking with AA miles.
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Old May 3, 14, 7:28 am
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As American Airlines and US Airways are still operating as distinct airlines, this question is being moved to the appropriate pre-merger airline forum.

Please note the sticky at the top of the consolidated thread which is titled Welcome to the New American Airlines Forum! PLEASE READ BEFORE POSTING. With all of the changes about, it is important to know where to post, and reading that thread before posting (as the title suggests ) will help get you in the right place.

~Moderator
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Old May 3, 14, 8:19 am
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RE Quote: "Personally, I would look at both QR via DOH or EY via AUH. No fees like BA but mileage would be a little higher. The inflight experience would be infinitely better on both."

Are there flights from US connecting or do we have to go thru LHR and I would need to go through Agent for booking...correct? If I was on top of the 331 day release might I have a snowball's chance? I've been pretty lucky over last 13 years getting what I required 331 days out. Is there a way to track these airlines award availability beforehand?

Thanks to all
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Old May 3, 14, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by nalismom View Post
Are there flights from US connecting or do we have to go thru LHR and I would need to go through Agent for booking...correct? Is there a way to track these airlines award availability beforehand?
Thanks to all
EY flies three class planes from JFK and IAD (LAX and DFW are coming) and two class from ORD. QR flies two class from JFK, PHL (LAX is coming). Yes, you have to call an AAgent to book. IME, EY has good availability from all gateways but especially in First and in particular from IAD. We were the only two pax in First a few months ago. So far, QR has not been as good at releasing award seats. Both of their websites are pretty close to useless.

Last edited by SFO777; May 3, 14 at 9:15 am
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Old May 3, 14, 9:08 am
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As mentioned above, the availability on the BA flight to/from S.A. is actually really good, especially away from peak seasons/dates. But I always book much closer to travel dates, never even looked at the far-out dates.

As also pointed out above, very punishing fuel surcharges on those as well. But I think you'll find availability to be not much of a challenge if you can be patient.

I flew EY home from JNB (JNB-AUH-JFK) in March and it was very nice and very convenient. That said, it's two awards (anything but BA will be 2 awards) and quite a bit more miles-- but better than paying the surcharges, to most.

You have to call to book, but, EY award availability can be viewed right on EY's website-- no guarantee, of course, that AA will see the same availability, but I've not seen many reports of disparity between the two. I find the EY website extremely east to use for this purpose once you get used to it a bit-- excellent actually.
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Old May 3, 14, 9:17 am
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I easily booked four Business Class RT flights on QR from the US to JNB via DOH about 3-4 months ago for this summer travel. The availability on all legs was great and I had a lot of flexibility on the dates. Total taxes/fees per passenger were less than $80 each. A few more miles, but I think this options is significantly better than BA.
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Old May 3, 14, 9:28 am
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Although I'm certainly 100% in the "it's worth it group" just so the OP understands what people are talking about when they say a few/some more miles:

In business class it's 75K one-way using BA (+ insane surcharges) vs. 112.5 miles one-way using EY or QR.

So, on a RT, 2 people, 300K AAdv miles vs. 450K AAdv miles. But, again, the BA surcharges for 2 people, R/T would add up to a rather hilarious sum as well.
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Old May 3, 14, 9:46 am
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If OP will consider using two awards, there's also the option of going via HKG. That's a total of 105k per person each way in business.
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Old May 3, 14, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by Ready2Go View Post
If OP will consider using two awards, there's also the option of going via HKG. That's a total of 105k per person each way in business.
My favorite option of the bunch (although really only in first do I recommend it, personally)
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Old May 3, 14, 10:11 am
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Originally Posted by Ready2Go View Post
If OP will consider using two awards, there's also the option of going via HKG. That's a total of 105k per person each way in business.
If you had AS miles, they'll get you there in CX First for only 70k each way.
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Old May 3, 14, 10:35 am
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The surcharge for LHR-JNB (booked one way) on BA using AA miles is US $200.80 in Y and US $301.70 in J or F.

The surcharge for JNB-LHR (booked one way) on BA using AA miles is US $160.00 in Y and US $301.00 in J or F.

The surcharge for LHR-JNB-LHR on BA using AA miles is US $401.60 in Y and US $603.40 in J or F.

Whether those amounts are "insane" or "expensive" depends on one's perspective.

Last edited by Leopold; May 3, 14 at 12:50 pm
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Old May 3, 14, 11:37 am
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Wow..... A lot of creative routing here....I've read that routing through HKG is possible but wouldn't the trip take way longer and what airline are we talking about?

As far as miles available for us to use....as of right now today we have 330k miles between us but of course we still have time to grow those accounts. But if we do not reach the 450k needed for 2 RT on QR or EY I guess we could do Business one way on QR or EY and economy the other on BA perhaps. I have looked at reward chart to check economy on QR or EY. Also can someone speak to the business experience on either/both of those airlines?

JonNYC....thanks for clarifying the difference in award miles required...when you say you book closer to the travel dates about how far out do you call? Our outbound to JNB would be around September 17 2015 and our inbound from CPT would be October 8 2015......is this considered high season?

GB - thanks for sharing your experience and WOW...only about 6 months out from trip!

SFO777 - thanks for info re: gateways....any idea when DFW might be coming....that's my main gateway but I'm never opposed to buying separate domestic tic to get me to a gateway with better options......besides with such an expensive trip I usually like to overnite in gateway prior to LH flight. Anyone have a good way to accumulate AS miles between now and then...any credit card deals????

Leopold.....thank you for surcharge breakdown ......I do think that may climb since I would be coming from the US.
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Old May 3, 14, 11:58 am
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The taxes and surcharges for this are a little higher due to the 3-segment routings, LGA-YYZ-LHR-CPT and CPT-LHR-ORY-JFK, than they would be for JFK-LHR-CPT-LHR-JFK, but the scale is relevant: the surcharges on BA-operated long-haul awards are significant.

Your Trip Price:
150,000 miles
+$1,716.30 USD

That's per person in Business, BTW.
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