African Adventure: Overview and Booking

Africa has always been a continent that we’d been interested in visiting, and finally the opportunity arose to allow us to visit our 6th and final continent (barring Antarctica). It was a really complicated booking, and took us through 3 continents, 7 countries, 16 individual flights, and tens upon tens of thousands of miles inside airplanes, taxis, tour cars, and buses. With that said, it was all worth it, and we wouldn’t hesitate to do it again.

African Adventure: Overview and Booking
Alaska’s New Look, New First Class Menu Options
Emirates A380 First Class Dulles to Dubai
Sheraton Grand Hotel Dubai and Holiday Inn Al Barsha
Afternoon Tea, Burj Khalifa
Etihad First Class Abu Dhabi to Cairo
Touring around Cairo with a local
EgyptAir “Business Class” Cairo to Luxor
Hilton Luxor and Luxor Adventures
EgyptAir Luxor to Cairo to Sharjah
Luxor Airport “lounge”
Hilton Sharjah Hotel
Emirates Business Class Dubai to Johannesburg
OR Tambo Johannesburg Airport Hotel Review
Johannesburg to Nelspruit, South African Airways Airlink
Sunset Safari, Kruger National Park
All Day Safari, Kruger National Park
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve
Livingstone to Johannesburg, Club World British Airways
Johannesburg to Cape Town to Johannesburg, Mango Airlines
Joburg to Doha, Qatar 787 Dreamliner Business Class
Doha to Dallas, Qatar 777 Business Class
Dallas to Seattle, American Airlines 737 First Class

Outbound Flight

Using our Alaska Airlines miles, we were able to snag Washington Dulles to Dubai to Johannesburg for 100,000 miles each, one way. That was for First Class on the way to Dubai and Business class on the way to Jo-Berg.

Booking the Emirates Flights

Booking the Emirates Flights

Connecting Flights / Intra Africa Flights

We realized we had 7 days in Dubai and we wanted to take a side trip elsewhere, so we booked Abu Dhabi to Cairo in First Class using 32,500 AAdvantage Miles each.

Etihad Cairo flight

Etihad Cairo flight

From Cairo-Luxor we paid Cash for business class; that flight was $108 each.

From Luxor to Cairo to Sharjah we used our United Airlines miles for flight on Star Alliance partner EgyptAir for 30,000 each in Business Class.

Egypt Air Flights

Egypt Air Flights

For the flights from Joberg to Nelspruit we paid cash at a rate of $60 one way. On the return from Nelspruit Joberg and onwards to Victoria falls we used our Chase Ultimate Rewards points, 11,000 each.

From Livingstone to Joberg we used British Avios in Club World class (business) for a total of 9,000 Avios each. From Joberg to Cape Town we flew Mango at a cost of $49 each. And finally from Cape Town to Joberg we flew Mango again (booked as a south African flight) for $70 each.

Return Flight

Using our American AAdvantage miles for only 75,000 each we were able to Fly Johannesburg to Doha to Dallas on Qatar Airways business class, and then Dallas to Seattle on American.

American AAdvantage Booking, Qatar

American AAdvantage Booking, Qatar

Total cash out of pocket for ALL flights only $599 plus a total of 225,000 miles each.

Considering that paying out of pocket would have resulted in EASILY upwards of $30,000 each, I’d consider this one hell of a deal.

Sure, we had to spend 225,000 miles to fly all of this in first class, but after such a long time of accumulating points and miles, it made sense, and trust me when you read the reports, you’ll see that the first class flights were definitely worth it (not so much the Mango Airlines flights though… HA!)


Author: Jon Nickel-D'Andrea

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