Flying to South Africa

Yesterday covered a little of the planned outbound flight from Cape Town, South Africa. The question still remains, how to get to Cape Town in the first place. This is a question I’m still trying to answer right now. Using award points to fly in premium classes is amazing, but is always a challenge to set up an itinerary that works.

Right now I’m still pretty early in the year and only will likely have the 1 round trip left to book this year. So while I have points to play with, they aren’t all in the right place at the moment for me to book the flights I want. Alaska Airlines has the points I need for the Emirates flights, but I’m waiting on 25,000 points to post to my account so that the flight can be booked. Citi owes me 30,000 AAdvantage miles that they have been dragging their feet on posting to my account. So while I have the points I need for a round trip, they aren’t all posted to my account yet.

After nailing down a decently flexible award time frame for Emirates, the challenge to find me way to South Africa began. There are so many options to fly to South Africa, but knowing all of those options, knowing what is the best in what situation, and finding available award space is a big challenge… but one I really enjoy. Since a credit card pick up just gave me access to 50,000 Delta miles, I thought I could grab a business class ticket to South Africa. This is possible, at least for part of the journey, the flight to France would have been in Economy at a business class price.

Qatar Airways doesn’t have award space to South Africa, same with Etihad, same with many airlines. South Africa seems to be a problem for award space, Emirates is only offering business class on their 777-300ER for the leg to Dubai, and even that is only available on select dates.

One option I have found is British Airways, but I’d have to spend my AAdvantage miles, which i had hoped to not use this year in anticipation of a big big trip in 2017 or 2018. It wouldn’t even have been a big deal to fly business class… except British Airways business class gets bad reviews, really bad reviews. So British Airways should be done in First Class. British Airways first is on par with other carriers business class if that gives you any idea of what to expect with them. The upside here is that the leg to Johannesburg is flown with a 747-400, which I’ve been wanting to fly for a while, these queens of the sy are being phased out, I’d love to grab a flight before they are gone.

The one thing I have not yet tried is to book individual segments. Use some Delta miles to London, then pick up British Airways to South Africa. We’ll have to see what I can arrange in the near future. Meanwhile, stay tuned for my booking as soon as I figure out this routing.