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Points to South Africa (johannesburg)

Points to South Africa (johannesburg)

Old Jan 13, 19, 10:26 am
  #1  
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 55
Points to South Africa (johannesburg)

Hi all,

My wife and I are planning on heading to South Africa (johannesburg) for a trip in May. I am trying to find either business or first class through points from really any airport in the US.

We leave May 18 and get back May 31.

I have a lot of AMEX and Chase points and my research so far has given me two options through United Booking. I found a flight out of JFK and one out of Los Angeles. I am based in Tampa, FL so the JFK one seems the best so far.

It is 80k points one way for business class so that would be 320k points for my wife and I for two tickets.

I was wondering if anyone has done this trip or could offer me some advice on the best way to do this. I see that availability is there but should I use a different airline that is more cost efficient (or has better perks)? I also value total flight time so the shorter the better but would appreciate any comments on where to book through using either AMEX or Chase as transferring to the point program.

Thx!
Matt Newman is offline  
Old Jan 13, 19, 1:30 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Posts: 157
I did the SAA jfk to jnb flight in business class in November.

The plane and layout wasnt the best. It's an older version and the seat is a bit dated. In full lay flight mode, the main critique was the seat felt like three separate chairs being pushed together. It was adequate but not the best. 2-2-2 layout with unlimited leg space. Very spacious cabin but lacks privacy. Food was adequate, service was standard.

The reason we chose that route was because of the non stop option. We saved 8-12 hours by not having to stop in Europe. The SAA flight from IAD sometimes uses a newer plane, so it is worth looking into if you need a positioning flight anyway. Delta also has flight from ATL direct to JNB.

Another con was the time of departure on the outbound. 10:40am made it difficult to fall asleep. Also, the contracted Swiss lounge at JFK is a joke. However, the inbound departure time of 9:30pm was ideal. It was extremely easy to fall asleep especially after a week on safari. JNB lounge was crowded but big enough to support the crowds. Above average food offerings and bar service.

Keep in mind, if you book through United, you are allowed one free flight within Africa as part of the excursion perk. We did JFK-JNB-CPT on outbound, CPT-JNB a week later, then JNB-JFK home. Total amount was 160,000 miles per person, all in business.
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Old Jan 17, 19, 8:53 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: New York, NY
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NH redemption would be 104k rt per person. Must be Roundtrip/open-jaw booking.
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Yoshi212 is offline  
Old Jan 17, 19, 9:23 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: CLT
Programs: AA, UA, BA, Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, IHG Platinum
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Originally Posted by Yoshi212 View Post
NH redemption would be 104k rt per person. Must be Roundtrip/open-jaw booking.
Yes, but there will be fuel surcharges of ~$500 pp round trip.

Aeroplan can book the same flights as United but charges 75k each way.
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Old Feb 4, 19, 8:30 pm
  #5  
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Originally Posted by dukerau View Post
Yes, but there will be fuel surcharges of ~$500 pp round trip.

Aeroplan can book the same flights as United but charges 75k each way.


Hey guys, still struggling to find anything less than 25 hours business. I have tried ANA Mileage, United, SAA ....

United does have some but they are all over 25 hours, in which case, I don't know if I'd rather be in economy for 15 hours or business for an additional 10 - 15 hours of flight time. So struggling a little bit with this. Our dates that are locked in for hotels and everything are now official -- May 18th we need to depart the US to JNB and May 29th we depart JNB back to US.

Best flights have found so far are United -- 15 hour flight direct from JFK or Atlanta in economy only or 25.3 hours from JFK in Business Class.

I've tried Atlanta, JFK, DC, Houston, Chicago and LAX. Delta was like 400,000 points for business, to pay through AMEX or Chase for business -- were both crazy expensive points (300,000 points or higher round trip for one person)

Maybe I am looking in some of the wrong spots but if anyone has any tips or maybe sees something I don't, I would be very grateful

Best,
Matt
Matt Newman is offline  
Old Feb 6, 19, 2:59 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: CLT
Programs: AA, UA, BA, Hilton Gold, SPG Gold, IHG Platinum
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Originally Posted by Matt Newman View Post
Hey guys, still struggling to find anything less than 25 hours business. I have tried ANA Mileage, United, SAA ....

United does have some but they are all over 25 hours, in which case, I don't know if I'd rather be in economy for 15 hours or business for an additional 10 - 15 hours of flight time. So struggling a little bit with this. Our dates that are locked in for hotels and everything are now official -- May 18th we need to depart the US to JNB and May 29th we depart JNB back to US.

Best flights have found so far are United -- 15 hour flight direct from JFK or Atlanta in economy only or 25.3 hours from JFK in Business Class.
Since you say your hotels are locked in, I assume you mean you have to be in JNB on 5/19. With the requirements of departing 5/18, arriving 5/19, and < 25 hours, your itinerary options are pretty limited, even before considering award availability:
  • Non-stop flights (JFK-JNB, ATL-JNB) or direct 1-stop flight (IAD-ACC-JNB)
  • 5/18 overnight flight to AMS connecting to daytime AMS-JNB flight (arr JNB 9:20p on 5/19) - I doubt you'll see any good award pricing on this since it's Delta/AF/KLM
  • Daytime JFK-LHR flight on Virgin Atlantic or BA connecting to overnight LHR-JNB - Doubtful you'll see VS Upper Class award availability, and BA you'll face massive fuel surcharges
  • Emirates early overnight (mid-morning departure from US) flight to DXB connecting to daytime flight to JNB arriving 4:25pm - If you're willing to pay a lot of Amex points and fuel surcharges (~130k + $850 for business per person one way; ~180k + $850 for first per person one way). This is available for 2 in business right now (JFK-DXB-JNB 5/18 11:20am departure, 5/19 4:25pm arrival, 23h travel time). Prices I quoted are via Emirates Skywards miles. If you have Alaska miles it's 120k with no fuel surcharges.

Business and first class award seats have best availability very early (~11 months from flight date) and very late (within 2 weeks of flight date). That means your best bet is planning far in advance and/or booking what you can and being willing to pay change fees if something better comes along as your flight date approaches. Or just rolling the dice and booking nothing while hoping you can find an award at the last minute.
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