Admittedly there has been a fair share of bad news in the miles and points world in the last week in terms of hotel point devaluations, but there have been some really good opportunities to fly to some interesting places for way cheaper than normal. Most recently Anchorage, and now Johannesburg, have caught my eye. Purely because of my own location, I watch fares from Houston, Austin, and Dallas more than from other cities, but the deals that have been popping up have not all been tethered to those origins.
The deal of the day for me is Houston to Johannesburg for around $800 all-in round trip (give or take depending on the airlines and dates you choose). The routing that personally interested me is bookable on Air Canada out of Houston. You would go through Toronto, London, and then on to Johannesburg. It is roughly a little over a full day of travel in each direction, but for a bit over $800 you can get to South Africa and potentially earn over 20,000 elite qualifying miles at a cost of a little over 4 cents per mile (depending on your specific flight selections).
That is a great rate to earn miles out of Houston, and to a destination that is of interested to many. I will say be very careful if you book a trip like this with earning elite qualifying miles in mind as not all partners of United (or anyone else) earn miles at 100% ratio. Some earn at say 50%, and some don’t earn elite qualifying or even redeemable miles at all. So, look at what the fare classes are on the ticket you are considering and then go to your airline website of choice to see what rate they earn at. For example, some South African Airways and Lufthansa fare classes earn at a reduced or non-existent rate for United, so do your homework if that matters to you.
Alternatively, if you are just looking for the cheapest option and/or want to earn Skyteam miles, you can get the fare under $800 for some dates on KLM. I also saw some options just over $800 on Air France. I’m holding back booking (barely) as I just have too full of a calendar already. I love being a mom to my little kiddo, but I recommend traveling like crazy before you have kids because it all gets a lot more complicated once others are counting on you to be home and take care of them. In other words, I’m grounded!
Thanks to this Flyertalk thread for finding this great deal.