Reward Charts – How to Get from Europe to Sub-Saharan Africa for the Fewest Number of Miles

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In my third installment of a series of reward charts, I’m going to look at one of my favourite holiday destinations, sub-Saharan Africa. In general, the most popular country in this region is South Africa, although it also often includes such Indian Ocean paradises as Mauritius, Seychelles and Zanzibar.

If you haven’t yet read the other two posts in this series, I recommend that you start there first:

As usual, I am aiming to cover programmes that are:

  • Popular with British residents / travel hackers
  • Available as an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner (UK cardholders)
  • Particularly attractive reward charts
  • Sells miles cheaply
  • Available as a Starwood Preferred Guest or Marriott Rewards transfer partner

Here is the chart I have prepared. As before, I highlight in yellow what I find to be particularly attractive.

reward charts

As always, you need to be aware of the fuel surcharges, one-way restrictions and connecting flight/stopover issues I highlight in my first post.

Avoiding fuel surcharges is a particularly difficult task when trying to visit Africa. Your best bet may be to use Avianca LifeMiles, since they never add surcharges to rewards. Avios collectors will have been thrilled to see the return of the Madrid to Johannesburg route on Iberia; from there, you can book Reward Flight Saver flights on South African affiliate Comair. However, AAdvantage isn’t very useful, since their restrictive rules prohibit a Europe to Africa reward transiting in Doha or Abu Dhabi with Qatar Airways or Etihad – so you’re stuck with British Airways.


But, again, I must highlight ANA Mileage Club. I cannot confirm this first hand, but I see no reason why you cannot book an Etihad reward to Africa, connecting in Abu Dhabi! After all, ANA has grouped the Middle East and all of Africa into the same reward zone; therefore you cannot possibly be breaking any third-region transit rules. Besides Etihad, you can access most Star Alliance reward availability through ANA Mileage Club. And in case you’ve forgotten, ANA partners with Virgin Atlantic as well – 68K miles instead of 115/135K to Johannesburg!

Even though there are fewer gems to highlight, I hope that readers are coming to recognise the potential value of ANA Mileage Club for Europeans who like to fly in Business Class…


  1. Trev says

    ANA aren’t a U.K. Amex membership rewards partner though are they? So that makes collecting miles in that scheme more difficult..

    • Craig Sowerby says

      No, ANA aren’t aligned with Amex in the UK. But you do have SPG and/or a Marriott Travel Package (85K miles) as conversion options.

      One of the things worth keeping in mind is that ANA can charge so few miles for ex-Europe rewards precisely because there aren’t lots of credit card points sloshing around. So, those who can be creative via SPG can really find some amazing values.

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