Part IV – Getting To Africa Using Your SPG Starpoints

As I mentioned in the Introduction Post, SPG Starpoints are probably my favorite of all the transferable currencies. That is because they are among the versatile points out there, which makes them great points to stockpile. Of all the transferable currency options, SPG Starpoints are probably the most difficult to accrue, but they can offer the absolute best value around for getting you to Africa!

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Introduction – Getting To Africa Using Your MRs, URs, TYPs or Starpoints
Part I – Getting To Africa Using Your MRs
Part II – Getting To Africa Using Your URs
Part III – Getting To Africa Using Your TYPs
Part IV – Getting To Africa Using Your SPG Starpoints

SPG Starpoints are probably the most versatile and coveted among the transferable currencies. That is because they offer some of the best value around. This is especially true for transfers to airline partners as SPG offers a 5,000 mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer. SPG offers (through American Express) only 2 cards that earn SPG Starpoints – the SPG Personal card and the SPG Business card. Neither card offers category bonuses outside of spend at SPG properties, though these cards get the majority of my non-category bonus spend as you can never have enough Starpoints in my opinion.

In addition to earning Starpoints via American Express credit cards, you can of course also earn Starpoints from your stays at Starwood properties around the world.

Now that you know how to earn Starpoints, the more complicated process is how to use those hard earned Starpoints to get you to Africa! Starpoints offer the most flexibility as they transfer to 35 (!) airline partners. Your SPG Starpoints will transfer to the following airlines:

AirlineAllianceTransfer RatioTransfer Time
Aegean AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
AeroMexicoSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Air Canada (Aeroplan)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air BerlinOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Air ChinaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Air New ZealandStar Alliance65:12-14 Days
Alaska AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
AlitaliaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
All Nippon Airways (ANA)Star Alliance1:12-14 Days
American AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Cathay PacificOneWorld1:12-14 Days
AsianaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
British AirwaysOneWorld1:12-14 Days
China EasternSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
China SouthernSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
DeltaSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
EmiratesN/A1:12-14 Days
EtihadN/A1:12-14 Days
Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)SkyTeam1:12-14 Days
GolN/A2:12-14 Days
HainanN/A1:12-14 Days
Hawaiian AirlinesN/A1:12-14 Days
Japan Airlines (JAL)OneWorld1:12-14 Days
Jet AirwaysN/A1:12-14 Days
Korean AirSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
LATAM (kms)OneWorld1:1.52-14 Days
LufthansaStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Qatar AirlinesOneWorld1:12-14 Days
Saudi Arabian AirlinesSkyTeam1:12-14 Days
Singapore AirlinesStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
Thai AirwaysStar Alliance1:12-14 Days
United AirlinesStar Alliance2:12-14 Days
Virgin AustraliaN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AtlanticN/A1:12-14 Days
Virgin AmericaN/A1:12-14 Days

From the data points I was able to find, it appears that transferred Starpoints used to take much longer to post to your account(s) than they do now. It appears that on average, Starpoints currently take between 2 and 5 days to post to your frequent flyer account(s). However, as always, please note that all of the transfer times are an approximation based on various data points.

Another caveat is that although I will be including general advice for getting to Africa on your Starpoints, your home airport will play an important role in finding availability or determining cost. For example, since Cathay Pacific operates under a distance based award chart, the cost for someone traveling from the West Coast is generally going to be higher than the cost for someone traveling from the East Coast. I will also assume for purposes of this post that you would be flying into Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB).

Lastly, keep in mind that you will earn an additional 5,000 Starpoints for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to an airline transfer partner. The 5,000 bonus Starpoints will be applied to the transfer only and will not be deposited into your account. That means that transferring 20,000 Starpoints to say Alaska Airlines will result in receiving 25,000 Alaska Airlines miles. This is important as it can bring down your out of pocket award cost substantially – especially when dealing with premium cabin redemptions.

Aegean Airlines

Aegean Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Miles+Bonus miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. In other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

Aegean Airlines offers a separate award chart for flights operated by Aegean and flights operated by their partners. As Aegean does not fly between the U.S. and Africa, you would be charged according to the partner award chart. Aegean operates under a zone based system where Africa is divided into two separate zones:

  • North Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, Sudan, Western Sahara, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic & Israel
  • Central & South Africa – Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bassau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Angola, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, British Indian Ocean Territory, Mayotte, Reunion, St. Helena, Canary Islands, Ceuta, Maderia, Melilla, Socotra, Puntland & Smaliland

For flights between the U.S. and North Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles for economy, 90k miles for business class and 120k miles for first class.

For flights between the U.S. and Central & South Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles for economy, 110k miles for business class and 150k miles for first class.

One-way awards are available at half of the above quoted rate.

While there are some better options out there for economy redemptions, if you are looking for a premium cabin award ticket, I would give some serious consideration to the Miles+Bonus program as 150k miles roundtrip for first class is among the absolute best of all of the transferable currencies. These rates do not top Japan Airlines, but they are a great alternative if you are unable to find award space on a OneWorld carrier.

Aeromexico

Aeromexico is another SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can again redeem Club Premier miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa. Aeromexico is a unique program in several regards. First and foremost, your Starpoints will transfer to Club Premier at a 1:1 ratio for miles. This is important because Club Premier uses kilometers instead of miles. Your Club Premier miles will be transferred to kilometers at a 1:1.6 ratio, which means for every 1,000 Starpoints you transfer, you would actually receive 1,600 Club Premier kilometers. I will do the conversion math for you so you can easily reference how many Starpoints (including transfer bonus) it will cost you if you transferred to Aeromexico.

Aeromexico breaks Africa into 2 separate zones – North Africa and Africa, though they fail to state which countries fall into which zone.

For roundtrip flights between the CONUS and North Africa, Aeromexico charges 112k kilometers (60k Starpoints + 15k bonus) for economy and 224k kilometers (115k Starpoints + 25k bonus) for business class.

For roundtrip flights between the CONUS and Africa, Aeromexico charges 176k kilometers (90k Starpoints + 20k bonus) for economy and 352k kilometers (180k Starpoints + 45k bonus) for business class.

One-way award tickets are allowed and cost half the amount of the roundtrip price.

As you can see, flights in economy to North Africa are the best value around, though there are better deals to be had out there for award tickets to the rest of Africa – especially in business class. The only way I would consider this redemption would be if you have a large stash of Club Premier kilometers you need to burn off. Otherwise, look elsewhere for transfer options.

Air Canada (Aeroplan)

Air Canada is a Star Alliance member, so you can use your Aeroplan miles for redemptions on Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa.

Aeroplan maintains a single award chart for both Air Canada and partner redemptions which breaks Africa into two award zones:

  • North Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco & Tunisia
  • East, West & South Africa – Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Congo, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bassau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe

For roundtrip flights between the CONUS and North Africa, you can expect a redemption cost of 80k miles for economy, 135k miles for premium economy, 165k miles for business class and 230k miles for first class.

For roundtrip flights between the CONUS and East, West & South Africa, you can expect a redemption cost of 100k miles for economy, 130k miles for premium economy, 150k miles for business class and 210k miles for first class.

Aeroplan does allow one-way award tickets at half of the roundtrip award ticket cost. While I do love Aeroplan miles in general, the redemption rates to Africa are pretty competitive with the rest of the Starpoint transfer partners and are among the best options for business class award tickets. Depending on where you are looking to fly and which class of service, Aeroplan can offer some of the best value around, or some average value, so make sure you are doing your comparisons before transferring your hard earned Starpoints to Aeroplan.

Air Berlin

Air Berlin is a member of the OneWorld alliance, which means you can redeem your Topbonus miles for flights on British Airways and Qatar to Africa. The Topbonus program utilizes separate award charts for Air Berlin operated flights and partner operated flights. Since Air Berlin flies very limited routes between the United States and Africa (they only service certain airports in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia), I will focus on redemptions according to the partner award chart – which is zone based. Africa is broken down into two separate award zones:

 

  • North Africa – Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Morocco & Tunisia
  • Africa – Angola, Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Madagascar, Namibia, Nigeria, Zambia, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda & Zimbabwe

 

For flights between the U.S. and North Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 100k miles in economy and 200k miles in business class.

For flights between the U.S. and Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 120k miles in economy and 240k miles in business class.

First class redemptions are not available via the Topbonus program. One-way award tickets are available at half of the aforementioned costs. It is worth noting that you will be hit with fuel surcharges when you redeem your Topbonus miles, so depending on the operating airline, these added charges could be significant. British Airways tends to have extremely high surcharges, while Qatar usually has moderate surcharges so it is something to keep in mind. To redeem Topbonus miles for partner flights, you need to call Air Berlin at 0049 (0)30-3434.

Given the non-competitive redemption rates, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for you Africa redemption as there are much much better offerings available.

Air China

Air China is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your PhoenixMiles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

The PhoenixMiles program utilizes separate award charts for flights operated by Air China and flights operated by partners. As Air China does not operate flights between the United States and Africa, you will redeem according to the partner award chart, which is zone based. The partner specific award chart places all of Africa in the same zone, so your award cost will be the same regardless of where in Africa you are traveling.

Unfortunately, the Air China website keeps telling me that the award chart is “under construction” so I am really not sure what is going on there. In any case, you are generally much better off redeeming with other Starpoint transfer partners for flights anywhere in the world than you are to redeem with Air China, so I would just write this option off from the start.

Air New Zealand

Air New Zealand is a Star Alliance member, so you can use your Airpoints Dollars for redemptions on Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. In other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

It is worth noting right off the bat that your Starpoints will transfer at a ratio of 65:1. It is also worth re-mentioning that the 5,000 point bonus is given in Starpoints, not Airpoints Dollars, so for every 20,000 Starpoints you transfer to Air New Zealand, you will receive just shy of 385 Airpoints Dollars.

Air New Zealand utilizes a separate and unique pricing scheme for flights operated by Air New Zealand, while they utilize a zone based award chart for flights operated by partners. Since Air New Zealand does not fly between the United States and Africa, we will focus solely on the partner award chart, which includes all of Africa in the same award zone.

For flights operated by partners between the U.S. and Africa, you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 2,100 Airpoints for economy, 5,160 Airpoints for business class and 6,720 Airpoints for first class.

One-way award tickets for partner redemptions are available at half of the above quoted rates.

To put it bluntly, Air New Zealand is one of the single worst transfer partners available for your Starpoints for this redemption so you should look elsewhere for your redemption to Africa.

Alaska Airlines

Alaska Airlines is one of my favorite airlines and their Mileage Plan program  is one of my favorite frequent flyer programs since it offers so much value. Although Alaska Airlines is not a part of any of the major alliances, they do have strategic partnerships with airlines like Delta, Air France and British Airways. In other words, you have a fair amount of options.

Alaska Airlines does not fly to Africa themselves, so you would redeem according to the partner award charts. The Mileage Plan program is somewhat unique in that they have a separate zone based award chart for each operating airline. Africa is its own separate zone under these award charts, though the rates do differ.

For flights between the U.S. and Africa, you can expect the following round trip award costs on the following airlines:

  • Delta (to South Africa) – 200k miles for economy and 320k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Delta (to Africa) – 170k miles for economy 280k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Air France/KLM – 80k miles for economy and 140k miles for business class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • British Airways – 100k miles for economy, 120k miles for premium economy, 140k miles for business and 160k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Cathay Pacific – 100k miles for economy, 110k miles for premium economy, 125k miles for business class and 140k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.
  • Emirates – 95k miles for economy, 240k miles for business class and 400k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at half of these quoted rates.

Although these rates for the most part are quite competitive (sans Delta and Emirates), keep in mind that Alaska allows you to take a free stopover on your journey at the operating airline’s hub. Depending on your travel plans, this could make for some exceptional value. If you value the stopover and want some exceptional value, Alaska is a great option. Even if you do not care about the stopover, Alaska offers some of the best options for redemptions to Africa among the Starpoint transfer partners.

Alitalia

Alitalia is a SkyTeam alliance member that is based out of Rome (FCO). That means that their route network is not especially well suited for redemptions to Africa (especially since they only fly to North Africa destinations). Thankfully, you can redeem your MilleMiglia miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa. Alitalia will levy fuel surcharges on partner award tickets, though they are not going to be as bad as the likes of British Airways. The trick to booking Alitalia awards is to have some miles in your account so they consider it active. From there you can call and place your award ticket on hold for about two (2) weeks. You can then transfer the needed miles and then call back to get the ticket booked.

Alitalia has a separate award chart for SkyTeam partner redemptions and breaks Africa down into four separate zones:

  • North Africa 1 – Algeria, Libya & Tunisia
  • North Africa 2 – Morocco
  • Near East – Egypt
  • Central & South Africa – Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe

For award flights between the CONUS and North Africa 1/North Africa 2/Near East, you can expect a roundtrip award ticket cost of 100k miles for economy and 200k miles for business class.

For award flights between the CONUS and Central & South Africa, you can expect a roundtrip award ticket cost of 120k miles for economy and 240k miles for business class.

While all of Alitalia’s rates to Africa are slightly above the average, the fuel surcharges are likely going to make FlyingBlue the better choice if you want to stick with a SkyTeam carrier.

Alitalia does allow one-way award tickets on partner airlines at half of the above quoted rates. Lastly, while you must book the most direct itinerary, you are allowed one voluntary stopover. That means that if you are looking to utilize the stopover enroute, it is better to transfer your Starpoints to Alitalia rather than Delta or FlyingBlue – even factoring in the fuel surcharges.

The US phone number for Alitalia is 800.223.5730.

ANA

ANA is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Mileage Club miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa.

ANA is one of several airlines that utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards. As ANA does not fly to Africa, you would redeem according to the ANA partner award chart. Under the partner award chart, all of Africa is contained within one zone.

For roundtrip partner flights between the CONUS and Africa, you can expect a cost of 65k miles for economy, 104k miles for business class and 195k miles for first class.

ANA does not allow for one-way award tickets (there is a way around this which I have previously outlined here, though I do not think it is necessarily worthwhile unless you have Mileage Club points to burn). ANA can present the best options among the Starpoint transfer partners for coach or business class redemptions to Africa. If you are looking for a first class redemption to Northern Africa, I would definitely take a look at Singapore Airlines instead as they offer a less expensive first class option. Either way though, I would give ANA some serious consideration for your next trip to Africa!

American Airlines

American Airline’s AAdvantage program uses a zone based award chart. American is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your AAdvantage miles to book British Airways and Qatar flights down to Africa. American Airlines offers a separate award chart for flights operated by American and those operated by partners, though the saver level redemption rates are the same. American Airlines places all of Africa in the same award zone, so your award cost will be the same regardless of where in Africa you are traveling.

For flights between the U.S. and Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles in economy, 150k miles in business class and 240k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the quoted rates.

As far as economy options go, American is among the best of the Starpoint transfer partners. The downside is that British Airways flights will incur their usual hefty surcharges and Qatar award space can sometimes be difficult to come by. In addition, if you’re looking for stopovers, you’re better off transferring your Starpoints to Cathay Pacific instead. If you’re just looking for straight flights and can find the saver level space, American presents a decent enough option in economy class.

Cathay Pacific

Cathay Pacific’s Asia Miles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Cathay Pacific is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Asia Miles to book British Airways and Qatar flights to Africa.

Cathay Pacific utilizes a somewhat unique award chart in that if you are flying solely on one partner airline, you redeem according to the Asia Miles Award Chart, but if you are flying on more than one OneWorld partner that does not include Cathay Pacific or Dragon Air, you redeem according to the OneWorld Multi-Carrier Award Chart.

For a roundtrip award ticket operated by a single partner from the CONUS to London (LHR) or Doha (DOH) and then on to Johannesburg (JNB) you can expect a cost of 110k miles in economy, 132k miles in premium economy, 175k miles in business class and 270k miles in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed at one half of the above quoted rates plus 5k miles (i.e., economy class is 25k miles for a one-way award ticket).

For flights operated by more than one OneWorld partner, here are the roundtrip award ticket costs you can expect for the various most direct routings:

  • British Airways/American – JFK-LHR-JNB – 95k miles in economy, 140k miles in business class and 205k miles in first class.
  • British Airways/American – LAX-LHR-JNB – 110k miles in economy, 160k miles in business class and 235k miles in first class.

It is important to keep in mind that since the Cathay Pacific award chart is distance based, your home airport, destination and routing are going to play a huge part in your redemption cost. What is wild though is the Asia Miles program allows you to make up to 5 stopovers, 2 transfers and 2 open-jaws at either the origin, en-route or at the turnaround point (destination)! That means you could put together an itinerary where you hop all over Europe and Africa or the Middle East and Africa all on one award ticket. Depending on how you routed yourself, that could offer some truly exceptional value.

If you can get the stopovers and open-jaws to work for your itinerary, Asia Miles should be a top contender for you to transfer your Starpoints to for your next trip to Africa. If you will not be utilizing the stopovers, then I would say there are better options out there for your Starpoints.

Asiana

Asiana is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Asiana Club miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

Asiana utilizes separate award charts for Asiana operated flights and partner operated flights. Since Asiana does not fly between the United States and Africa, you will redeem under the partner award chart. The partner award chart has Africa all in a single award zone so your redemption cost will be the same regardless of where in Africa you are traveling to.

For flights operated by partner airlines between the U.S. and Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles for economy, 120k miles for business class and 160k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are available at half of the above quoted costs. It is also worth keeping in mind that Asiana taxes a mileage premium on premium cabin redemptions on certain routes (both operated by Asiana and partners) on top of the quoted award costs.

The Asiana award system has a few complexities to it (relative to other Starpoint transfer partners anyways), but they offer fantastic award costs across the board for redemptions between the U.S. and Africa. If you’re looking to fly first class down to Africa, there is no better program to transfer your Starpoints to.

British Airways/Iberia

British Airways and Iberia somewhat share an award program where both have a distance based award chart, so your home airport and destination airport are really going to make the biggest difference here in how much an award ticket to Africa will cost you. As both British Airways and Iberia are members of the OneWorld alliance, you can use your Avios to book Qatar and British Airways flights to Africa.

The upshot of using Avios is that you can build in an itinerary that flies from the U.S. with stopovers in hub cities throughout the world if you wanted. The downside of this is that due to the distance based award chart, your particular routing may cost you substantially more Avios (and ridiculously high surcharges if flying British Airways).

There are several direct flights between the CONUS and London (for British Airways flights) and Doha (for Qatar flights), so if you happen to live at one of these hub cities, your redemption cost is going to be substantially lower than someone that needs to connect. Here are the one-way award ticket costs you can expect for the various most direct routings:

  • British Airways – JFK-LHR-JNB – 29.25k Avios + ~$272 in economy, 58.5k Avios + ~$412 in premium economy, 135k Avios + ~$782 in business class and 153k Avios + ~$782 in first class.
  • British Airways – LAX-LHR-JNB – 32.5k Avios + ~$272 in economy, 65k Avios + ~$570 in premium economy, 125k Avios + ~$820 in business class and 170k Avios + ~$820 in first class.
  • Qatar – JFK-DOH-JNB -55k Avios + ~$308 in economy and 165k Avios + ~$456 in business class.
  • Qatar – LAX-DOH-JNB – 70k Avios + ~$308 in economy and 210k Avios + ~$456 in business class.

Again, keep in mind that these are price ranges for flights between OneWorld hub airports and Johannesburg (JNB) with the most direct routing, so your award ticket cost may vary from these numbers depending on your home airport, number of connections needed and destination in Africa.

Award space tends to be pretty good on British Airways flights and hit or miss on Qatar flights.

In light of the cost, unless you have a glut of Avios you want to burn, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for a redemption to Africa – especially if you are looking to travel in a premium cabin.

China Eastern

China Eastern is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Eastern Miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa.

The Eastern Miles program maintains separate award charts for China Eastern operated flights and partner operated flights. Since China Eastern does not fly between the United States and Africa, you will redeem according to the partner award chart. The partner award chart is zone based, with Africa being divided into two separate award zones:

  • North Africa – Western Sahara, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya & Egypt
  • Central Africa/South Africa – “Apart from North African countries”

For flights operated by partner airlines between the U.S. and North Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 130k miles in economy, 240k miles in business class and 310k miles in first class.

For flights operated by partner airlines between the U.S. and Central Africa/South Africa, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 140k miles in economy, 260k miles in business class and 320k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets on partners are allowed at half of the quoted rates.

As you can see, the redemption rates are not competitive at all, so I would recommend you look elsewhere for your Starpoint transfer for a trip to Africa.

China Southern

China Southern is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Skypearl kilometers for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa.

China Southern utilizes a separate award chart for flights operated by China Southern from those operated by partners. Since China Southern does not fly between the United States and Africa, you would redeem according to the partner award chart which is zone based. The partner specific award chart breaks Africa down into two separate zones – North Africa and Central & South Africa – but there was no listing of what countries comprise these zones.

For roundtrip flights operated by partners between the U.S. and North Africa, you can expect a cost of 120k kilometers for economy, 230k kilometers for business class and 310k kilometers for first class.

For roundtrip flights operated by partners between the U.S. and Central & South Africa, you can expect a cost of 130k kilometers for economy, 240k kilometers for business class and 310k kilometers for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. There are some blackout dates for redemptions, so I would strongly recommend you check those here before transferring your points.

Overall, these rates are far below average for redemptions between the U.S. and Africa, so you are better of looking to transfer elsewhere for flights to Africa.

Delta

Unfortunately, approximately two years ago, Delta decided to take down its award chart. Without a published award chart, that means that it is difficult to give a number of miles that it will take to get to Africa.

As a general ballpark, from a Delta hub airport like Atlanta (ATL) to Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect to see roundtrip award tickets cost approximately 110k in economy and 650k (!!) in DeltaOne (business class). Oddly, I could not get Delta Comfort+ award seating to price out on this route, even though I know for a fact that it is offered. One-way flights are available for half the quoted cost.

While Delta’s economy class rate is somewhat competitive, their business class redemption rates offer horrible value unless you already have a large stash of SkyMiles you are looking to burn. If you are looking solely at transferring miles to Delta for a premium cabin redemption to Africa, I would absolutely look elsewhere.

Emirates

Emirates uses a zone based award chart, so your redemption cost will largely depend on your departure airport and your arrival airport. If you are looking to redeem for flights operated by Emirates, I would recommend you use their Miles Calculator to determine the cost. For reference, for flights between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect a roundtrip cost of ~95k miles for economy, ~190k miles for business class and ~285k miles for first class. One-way award tickets are allowed, though they are significantly more expensive. On the above route, you can expect a cost of ~82.5k miles for economy, ~131,250 miles for business class and ~178,750 miles for first class.

Emirates also partners with South African Airways, so you can redeem your miles for flights on South African Airways. However, South African Airways only flies from two CONUS cities – New York (JFK) and Washington-Dulles (IAD). I was unable to find an award chart or rates for flights operated by South African Airways though as it appears you need to submit a request to Emirates before they will price out an award ticket for you on this particular partner.

Roundtrip flights on Emirates in economy between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB) are actually pretty competitive, though I do think there is better value to be had from other Starpoint transfer partners – especially if you are looking for a premium cabin redemption.

Etihad

Etihad is a Middle Eastern carrier that is often lauded for their fantastic hard and soft product. They hub location in the Middle East actually makes them a pretty solid option routing and timing wise to get from the CONUS to Africa. Etihad’s award chart is somewhat dynamic in that it changes based upon your origin and destination, though it is not specifically tied to the distance flown.

For flights between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 164,656 miles in economy, 328,022 miles in business class and 436,269 miles in first class. One-way award tickets are allowed and will cost you 82,328 miles in economy, 164,011 miles in business class and 218,134 miles in first class.

Although Etihad is not a part of any major airline alliance, they do have several strategic partnerships with airlines such as South African Airways. For redemptions on South African Airways flights, the award chart is distance based and stopovers are permitted. From the CONUS, those flight options are going to be from New York (JFK) and Washington-Dulles (IAD) direct to Johannesburg (JNB).

For flights between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 124,444 miles in economy and 213,333 miles in business class.

For flights between Washington-Dulles (IAD) and Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 140k miles in economy and 240k miles in business class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates.

Overall, Etihad offers a decent redemption option for a partner booking in economy, though all of the other rates are not really competitive with some of the other Starpoint transfer partners..

To redeem for any partner awards you have to contact the Etihad service center at 888-8ETIHAD at least 14 days prior to the intended date of travel.

Air France/KLM (FlyingBlue)

Air France and KLM share a frequent flyer program called FlyingBlue. Since FlyingBlue is a SkyTeam alliance member, you can redeem FlyingBlue miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa. FlyingBlue can be finicky to work with, but they offer some decent value for flights to Africa. FlyingBlue divides Africa into two separate award zones, though the cost is the same for both zones.

For roundtrip award tickets between the CONUS and Africa, you can expect a cost of 80k miles for economy, 100k miles for premium economy (where available), and 200k miles for business class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. While the economy class rate is one of the absolute best among the Starpoint transfer partners, the business class rate is not very competitive. Accordingly, I would be looking to Alitalia (if you want a stopover) for business class tickets. I personally find FlyingBlue slightly easier to use for award tickets than Alitalia, but considering the cost difference and the free stopover Alitalia offers, I would look at the cost of a separate award ticket between your stopover city and destination city to decide which you shoud go with. With that said, searching for space via FlyingBlue will give you a good idea of what inventory should be bookable by Alitalia.

Gol

Gol’s Smiles program is fascinating to me as there are some great sweet spots with their miles and they have in the past offered up to a 200% bonus on purchased miles. While there are some sweet spots in the program, I haven’t been able to figure out where the Gol award chart is for flights between the United States and Africa. Given that the transfer ratio for Starpoints to Smiles miles is 2:1, that effectively doubles the cost of every award ticket as it is. As such, I would venture to say that this would be a bad redemption regardless.

Hainan

Hainan is not a part of any major alliance, although they do have some strategic partnerships with airlines like Etihad. The Etihad partner award chart is distance based, so your home airport is going to play a big part. For reference, a roundtrip routing from New York (JFK) to Johannesburg (JNB) via Abu Dhabi (AUH) would cost you 180k miles for economy, 350k miles for business class and a whopping 600k miles for first class. That makes Hainan the single worst Starpoint transfer partner and I would avoid this option at all costs!

Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines does not fly to Africa, however their partner Virgin Atlantic does. However, Virgin Atlantic only flies to Lagos, Nigeria (LOS) and Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) via the United Kingdom. For this redemption, you would actually need to book two award tickets – one from the US to the UK and one from the UK to either Lagos or Johannesburg.

For Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the East Coast of the US and the UK, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles in economy, 100k miles in premium economy and 125k miles in business class (Upper Class).

For Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the West Coast of the US and the UK, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles in economy, 130k miles in premium economy and 160k miles in business class (Upper Class).

For Virgin Atlantic operated flights between the UK and Lagos or Johannesburg, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles in economy, 100k miles in premium economy and 125k miles in business class (Upper Class).

That means that roundtrip economy tickets will cost you 120-140k miles, premium economy tickets will cost you 200-230k miles and business class (Upper Class) tickets will cost you 250-285k miles.

In addition, you would be required to pay the taxes, fees and surcharges on the award ticket, which for business class is going to run into the thousands of dollars. Overall, the redemption costs are pretty bad since you would need to redeem two award tickets. And that does not even factor in the obscene surcharges that Virgin Atlantic charges. In other words, you would be better off transferring elsewhere.

Japan Airlines (JAL)

Japan Airlines (JAL) is arguably my favorite airline in the world. In addition to having a spectacular hard and soft product, their frequent flyer program is among the most generous available. JAL is a member of the OneWorld alliance, which means you can use your Mileage Bank miles to book British Airways and Qatar flights to Africa.

JAL utilizes a separate award chart for JAL operated flights and OneWorld partner operated flights. Since JAL does not fly between the United States and Africa, you would redeem according to the OneWorld partner award chart, which is distance based.

For flights operated by OneWorld partners, your home airport is really going to make the difference here due to the distance based award chart. There is actually some pretty good value to be had in this award chart.

For roundtrip partner flights between the U.S. and Johannesburg (JNB) via Doha (DOH), you can expect a cost of 85k miles in economy, 105k miles in premium economy, 125k miles in business class and 200k miles in first class.

For roundtrip partner flights between the West Coast (LAX) and Johannesburg (JNB) via London (LHR), you can expect a cost of 85k miles in economy, 105k miles in premium economy, 125k miles in business class and 200k miles in first class.

For roundtrip artner flights between the East Coast (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB) via London (LHR), you can expect a cost of 60k miles in economy, 80k miles in premium economy, 100k miles in business class and 155k miles in first class.

One-way awards are allowed, though it would be based on the distance of your segments, so you would be better off using the Mileage Bank calculator here and then finding the corresponding award cost here. With that said, if you are looking for a redemption to Africa, you should really take a hard look at JAL!

Jet Airways

Jet Airways is not a member of any of the major alliances, though they do have strategic partnerships with airlines like Lufthansa, Delta, Kenya Airways and South African Airways. Since Jet Airways does not fly between the United States and Africa, you would redeem according to their partner award chart, which is zone based.

Jet Airways’ partner award chart breaks Africa into only 2 zones (in Jet Airways’ own words):

  • Africa (South) – South Africa, Kenya, Seychelles, Tanzania, etc.
  • Africa (North) – Mali, Ghana, Nigeria, etc.

Jet Airways also breaks the U.S. up into 4 separate zones. Those zones (in Jet Airways’ own words) are:

  • America 1 (Northeast) – Newark, Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, etc.
  • America 2 (Southeast) – Atlanta, Daytona, Carolina, Florida, etc.
  • America 3 (Southwest) – Texas, Mexico, Los Angeles, etc.
  • America 4 (Northwest) – Seattle, Denver, Portland, San Francisco, etc.

Oddly, Jet Airways only allows you to redeem miles for flights between 2 U.S. award zones. Those are:

For partner award flights between America 1 and Africa (North), you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 110k miles in economy, 220k miles in business class and 330k miles in first class.

For partner award flights between America 1 and Africa (South), you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 100k miles in economy, 200k miles in business class and 300k miles in first class.

Fort partner award flights between America 3 and Africa (North), you can expect a roundtrip award cost of 120k miles in economy, 240k miles in business class and 360k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. You will also be charges the taxes, fees and surcharges from the partner airline, which regardless of which partner airline you opt to redeem your miles for award travel with, should not be that much. Overall, these rates are not competitive at all among the Starpoint transfer partners anyways, so I would definitely write Jet Airways off the list right off the bat and look elsewhere for a solid redemption to Africa.

Korean Air

Korean Air is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your SkyPass miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa.

Korean Air uses a two-tier system where award tickets solely on Korean Air flights are one rate, and award tickets on partners are another rate. Korean Air operates a single route to Africa between Seoul (ICN) and Cairo (CAI), so I will focus on the partner redemptions instead. As such, for flights between the Continental United States and Africa, you would need to redeem according to Korean Air’s partner specific award chart. The partner specific award chart lumps all of Africa into the same award zone.

For a roundtrip award ticket operated by partner airlines between the CONUS and Africa, you can expect a cost of 80k miles in economy, 120k miles in business class and 160k miles in first class. Keep in mind that Korean Air does not allow for one-way awards on partner redemptions.

You are also allowed two stopovers on a roundtrip award ticket.

While Korean Air Skypass miles generally offer pretty good value, they offer exceptional value for African destinations – especially in business and first class!

Keep in mind that it can be difficult to work with Korean Air. If you are planning to use your miles to book an award ticket for another person, that other person has to be a family member (mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, wife, husband or child). You will also need to call in to Korean Air to book your partner award and the process is somewhat arduous. I would strongly recommend that you call in to make sure space is available and then place a hold on your award ticket(s) before transferring your Starpoints to your Skypass account.

LATAM

LATAM is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can redeem your LATAM Pass kilometers for award flights on British Airways or Qatar to Africa. It is worth keeping in mind from the start that the Pass program utilizes kilometers instead of miles. As a result, your Starpoints will transfer at a rate of 1:1.5. That means that for every 20k Starpoints you transfer to LATAM, you will receive 37.5k kms (30k kms + 7.5k kms bonus for transferring 20k Starpoints).

LATAM utilizes separate award charts for those flights operated by LATAM and those operated by their partners like British Airways and Qatar (the only partner options to Africa). As LATAM does not fly to Africa, you would redeem according to the partner award chart, which is distance (in kms) based.

For partner flights between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB) via London (LHR), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 70k kms for economy, 150k kms for premium economy, 200k kms for business class and 250k kms for first class.

For partner flights between New York (JFK) and Johannesburg (JNB) via Doha (DOH), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 140k kms for economy, 210k kms for premium economy, 280k kms for business class and 350k kms for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates. It is unclear on whether any surcharges are passed on, though the taxes, fees and surcharges on British Airways operated flights tend to be relatively costly. Surprisingly, LATAM is actually no competitive at all for award ticket prices considering the transfer ratio of miles to kilometers. As such, I would write LATAM off of your list for redemptions between the U.S. and Africa.

Lufthansa

Lufthansa is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Miles & More miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

The Miles & More program utilizes a zone based award chart that is the same regardless of whether you are flying Lufthansa flights or partner flights. Lufthansa divides Africa into two separate zones – North & Central Africa and Southern Africa – though I was unable to find a breakdown of which countries fall into which zone. As such, you would be best off using Lufthansa’s award calculator to determine your award ticket cost.

For flights between the U.S. and North & Central Africa, you can expect a roundtrip redemption cost of 80k miles for economy, 135k miles for business class and 210k miles for first class.

For flights between the U.S. and Southern Africa, you can expect a roundtrip redemption cost of 100k miles for economy, 185k miles for business class and 290k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed on partner flights at half of the above quoted mileage. In addition to the redemption rates being horrible compared to other Starpoint transfer partners, you will also get hit with surcharges. In premium cabins, this can be as much as $1,000 per ticket. Overall, I would look elsewhere for your redemption unless you have a huge amount of Miles & More miles already stashed. But given these redemption rates, even in that case I do not think it makes good sense to transfer your Starpoints to Lufthansa and pay the surcharges.

Qatar

Qatar’s Qmiles program uses a distance based award chart, so this is another airline that will depend on your home airport for redemption costs. Qatar is a member of the OneWorld alliance, so you can use your Qmiles to book Qatar and British Airways flights to Africa. Qatar uses a separate calculator for flights operated by Qatar, so if you wanted to route yourself via Doha (DOH), your are better off using Qatar’s award ticket calculator.

For flights operated by partner airlines via London (LHR), your award ticket cost would be ~100k miles for economy, ~150k miles for premium economy, ~200k miles for business class and ~300k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at the half price of the above quoted rates. It is worth mentioning that flights operated by partner British Airways incur their ridiculous surcharges, as well as the U.K. Air Passenger Duty tax because you would be flying through London (LHR).

Again, unless you have a glut of Qmiles you want to burn, you are better off transferring your Starpoints elsewhere for a redemption to Africa.

Saudi Arabian Airlines

Saudi Arabian Airlines is a SkyTeam alliance member, which means you can redeem your Alfursan miles for travel on Delta, Air France, KLM and Kenya Airways flights to Africa..

While Saudi Arabian Airlines does fly to the U.S., their award chart is based off of flights to/from Jeddah (JED). That means you would need to redeem two award tickets and since the rates are pretty bad and they fly to limited destinations in the U.S., I won’t even touch on the Saudi Arabian specific award chart. Saudi Arabian Airlines utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards, though both award charts are zone based. Saudi Arabian Airlines’ partner award chart breaks Africa up into three separate award zones:

  • Africa – North – Algeria, Libya, Morocco & Tunisia
  • Africa – East – Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya & Sudan
  • Africa – South – South Africa, Namibia & Nigeria

For partner flights between the U.S. and Africa – North, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 60k miles in economy, 120k miles in business class and 180k miles in first class.

For partner flights between the U.S. and Africa – East or Africa – South, you can expect a roundtrip cost of 80k miles in economy, 160k miles in business class and 240k miles in first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at 60% of the above quoted rates.

Overall, these award ticket redemption costs are not horrible, though depending on your destination you may be better off transferring your Starpoints to some of the other SkyTeam partners that are Starpoint transfer partners. As such, your destination and desired class of service is really going to play the biggest factors here as to whether Saudi Arabian Airlines offers good value for your trip.

Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your KrisFlyer miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa.

Singapore Airlines is one of several airlines that utilizes a separate award chart for partner awards. While you could in theory fly from the CONUS to Africa on all Singapore Airlines metal, the reality is that most will probably not want to fly through Singapore to get to Africa. As such, I will only be focusing on the Star Alliance partner award chart. Under the partner award chart, Africa is broken into two separate zones:

  • North Africa – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia
  • Central, South Africa – Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Congo, Cote d’Ivorie, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe

For roundtrip partner redemptions between the CONUS and North Africa, you can expect a cost of 75k miles for economy, 115k miles for business class and 150k miles for first class.

For roundtrip partner redemptions between the CONUS and Central, South Africa, you can expect a cost of 90k miles for economy, 145k miles for business class and 220k miles for first class.

One-way award tickets are allowed at half of the above quoted rates.

Overall, Singapore Airlines is surprisingly decently competitive for redemptions to Africa. There are definitely better redemptions to be had elsewhere with your Starpoints, but the Star Alliance footprint is greater in Africa, so the KrisFlyer program does present a strong option to consider if award space is hard to find elsewhere.

Thai Airways

Thai Airways is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your Royal Orchid Plus miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. Again, in other words, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

Thai Airways is another airline that uses a separate award chart for redemptions on their own flights and partner redemptions. As there are no Thai Airways flights from the U.S. to Africa, you will redeem according to the partner award chart, which breaks Africa into 2 separate award zones:

  • North Africa – Algeria, Libya, Morocco and Tunisia
  • Central, South Africa – Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mali, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zaire, Zambia, Zimbabwe

A roundtrip redemption between the CONUS and North Africa will cost you 70k miles for economy, 125k miles for business class and 160k miles for first class.

A roundtrip redemption between the CONUS and Central, South Africa will cost you 120k miles for economy, 200k miles for business class and 240k miles for first class.

It is worth keeping in mind that Thai Airways levies fuel surcharges on award tickets and from all the reports I have seen, they are crazy high. Considering that Singapore Airlines should have access to most of the same Star Alliance award space that Thai Airways has access to, you are better offer transferring your Starpoints to Singapore Airlines for this redemption unless you have a stash of Royal Orchid Plus miles that you are looking to burn, and/or you do not mind paying exorbitant surcharges.

United

United is a member of the Star Alliance, so you can use your MileagePlus miles for Ethiopian, South African Airways and Turkish Airlines flights to Africa. As with Singapore Airlines, you are going to have a decent amount of options.

United’s award chart breaks Africa into two zones:

  • Northern Africa – Algeria, Canary Islands, Libya, Morocco & Tunisia
  • Central & Southern Africa – Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote D’lvoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Reunion Island, Rwanda, South Africa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe

United uses a two-tier award system for their awards where partner flights in premium cabins cost more than those flights operated by United. However, since United does not operate any flights to Africa, you would redeem according to the partner award chart. It is important to keep in mind that Starpoints transfer to United at a 2:1 ratio, so all of the below quoted rates are going to need to be doubled to get the number of Starpoints it would cost you.

A partner roundtrip saver award ticket between the CONUS and all destinations in Africa will cost you 80k miles in economy, 160k miles in business class and 260k miles in first class.

When booking a roundtrip award ticket, United allows you one stopover. United also allows one-way award tickets (though you would lose out on the free stopover) at half the rates cited above.

As you can see, United’s value proposition varies greatly depending on your class of service. However, since those rates would need to be doubled due to the transfer ratio of 2:1, I would avoid United all costs for a redemption to Africa as they offer some of the worst value among all the Starpoint transfer partners.

Virgin Australia

Virgin Australia operates out of an extremely small market in the U.S., though they do partner with Delta, so you do have an option for award ticket to Johannesburg (JNB), Accra (ACC), Lagos (LOS) and Dakar (DKR). The major downside to this program is that the taxes and carrier imposed fees/surcharges are pretty high – especially on premium cabin redemptions.

Virgin Australia uses a separate award chart for flights operated by partners other than Virgin Australia, Virgin America and Delta, though both award charts are distance based so you home airport is really going to be the determining factor in your award cost here.

For Delta flights between the Southeast of the U.S. (ATL) and Johannesburg (JNB), you can expect a roundtrip cost of 89.6k miles for economy, 143.35k miles for premium economy and 191k miles for business class (DeltaOne).

Virgin Australia allows for one-way award tickets at half the quoted rates.

Not even factoring in the high taxes, fees and surcharges assessed, these redemption rates are mediocre among the Starpoint transfer partners. When you factor in the high taxes, fees and surcharges, I would look absolutely anywhere else to transfer your Starpoints for a redemption to Africa.

Virgin Atlantic

Virgin Atlantic has been going through some changes to their structure and award program lately, so I would double check the rates before deciding on this option. For a redemption between the CONUS and Africa, you would need to book two award tickets – one between the CONUS and the United Kingdom and one between the United Kingdom and Africa. Virgin Atlantic also breaks up the CONUS into three separate segments, each with a different award ticket rate:

  1. US – Northeast: Boston (BOS), Newark (EWR), New York (JFK) and Washington-Dulles (IAD)
  2. US – Midwest & South: Atlanta (ATL), Chicago (ORD), Detroit (DTW), Miami (MIA) and Orlando (MCO)
  3. US – West: Las Vegas (LAS), Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO) and Seattle (SEA)

For flights between the US (Northeast) and Africa, you can expect a redemption cost of 45k miles in economy, 80k miles in premium economy and 210k miles in business class.

For flights between the US (Midwest & South) and Africa, you can expect a redemption cost of 50k miles in economy, 90k miles in premium economy and 210k miles in business class.

For flights between the US (West) and Africa, you can expect a redemption cost of 55k miles in economy, 100k miles in premium economy and 250k miles in business class.

One-way award tickets are permitted at half of the above quoted rates.

While these rates may look attractive at first glance, keep in mind that Virgin Atlantic charges absolutely obscene surcharges on their flights and that you would also get hit with the UK Passenger Duty Tax as you would need to route through London. For most roundtrip economy redemptions, you should expect ~$1,000 in taxes, fees and surcharges per person and that number will only increase with higher cabin classes. As such, I would avoid Virgin Atlantic flights at all costs if possible.

Virgin America

From what I can tell, Virgin America does not offer any partner redemptions between the U.S. and Africa. While you could potentially piece together multiple partner award tickets, it simply is not worth the hassle and frustration given the high taxes and carrier imposed fees that Virgin America passes on. You are better off looking elsewhere for Starpoint transfer partners that can get you to Africa.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the SPG Starpoint transfer partners offer the absolute best options for finding award availability to Africa. Hopefully this guide has helped to shine a little light on how to utilize and maximize your Starpoints for a trip to Africa!

What is your favorite way to redeem Starpoints to get to Africa?

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