Free Flights to Africa

StickFlicker AZ

AH senior member
Joined
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Phoenix, AZ
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Member of
Arizona Bowhunter's Association (Life member); Pope & Young and Boone & Crockett (Official Measurer); Bowhunting in Arizona (Records Secretary)
Hunted
South Africa; United States
At any given time there seem to be a lot of AfricaHunting.com members that are dreaming of or planning a trip to Africa. For those planning to go, or that go regularly, why don’t more people easily earn the frequent flyer miles needed through credit card spend programs and just fly for free? I’ve flown my last 5 trips to Africa for free, as do my friends, and all my other inside the U.S. travel as well. It’s just incredibly easy if you have credit that is good enough to qualify for a new credit card. Is it because you think it’s more complicated to buy a ticket with points than money, or you think you would be on some sort of standby or something? I can assure you, it’s easy to book, it’s the exact same ticket you’d buy with cash, and you often get to board the plane sooner than those that paid cash and have better access to overhead luggage storage. Delta points never expire, so it’s best to earn them asap now since congress is trying to pass legislation that may do away with these programs. If you don't eventually go to Africa, their still good for any other place that Delta flies.

I like Delta for its direct flight to South Africa, typically about the shortest flight out there. AMEX has an exclusive on earning Delta SkyMiles, so one of their personal or business Delta cards would be the best way to earn the miles needed. My 2021 flight cost 81,500 miles, 98,000 in 2022, and a little higher than that in 2023 (all trips flying peak travel season) as international flight demands increase. The number of miles it takes varies on time of year, day of week etc., and can change daily just like cash tickets depending on demand for any particular flight. You just have to be patient and wait for the price to eventually be a good deal. You can also mix points/cash if you don’t have enough miles to buy the flight outright with miles. Right now, they have their best ever offer for new applicants, 70,000 miles for a Gold card or 90,000 for a Platinum card, but it ends on Wednesday (3/27) so you’d need to apply soon. They will charge a (relatively) small amount for an annual fee, but it’s incredibly worth it to get a $2,200 ticket for free! I will get a few points if you apply using this link, but I really just like helping people afford their dream trips! I’m happy to answer questions about the process if you have them, but it’s all pretty simple. Only two more days to apply if you're interested, before this offer is cut in half to their regular offer. Towards the top of the landing page you can click "Personal Cards" or "Business Cards" to see other card offers, some that have significantly lower fees but earn fewer miles when you signup. I have no association with Delta or AMEX, I just enjoy helping people realize their trip to Africa!
 
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The bonus offers are good, but when there are credit cards with no annual fees that can pay 4% on gas, 3% on restaurants, 2% on everything else as cash I’d rather have the cash than a lower value in airline points that are limited to one airline. The free flights aren’t really free and the point values to book flights varies way too wildly for me. I sign up for all frequent flier programs but the credit card is of no added value to me especially if an annual fee.
 
It’s the only way to go. You can get 2.5 card bonus per year on personal cards plus the business cards if you own a business. So if you’re not charging $200,000 or more your better off taking the free flights. When discussing dates i tell my ph it’s totally dependent on free flights. Flights are more expensive than hunting plains game.
 
Great article. My business class emirates tickets to Harare for 2 were paid with miles and points.

Of note, AMEX, Chase Sapphire Reserve, and other premium credit cards are free to active duty military (annual fee is waived).
 
It’s the only way to go. You can get 2.5 card bonus per year on personal cards plus the business cards if you own a business. So if you’re not charging $200,000 or more your better off taking the free flights. When discussing dates i tell my ph it’s totally dependent on free flights. Flights are more expensive than hunting plains game.
I don’t understand that math. The gold card listed above has an annual fee of $150 and pays 2 points on delta purchases and 1 point on most everything else. 98000 points as listed above would be around $80,000 in spending assuming a 1.25 point average. 2% cash of $80,000 would be $1600 or 2.5% would be $2000 available every $25 or so with no annual fees instead of waiting years on a flight and for the cheapest dates on points. For most people using personal cards I can’t see the added value if you can budget money since most people only fly maybe once or twice a year at most and will have paid the annual fee several times before saving enough points to fly to Africa. For a small business card I see a lot of value since you don’t necessarily need to claim a miles redemption on your tax return but cash back to your business account needs to be accounted for.
 
Delta has a terrible point redemption scheme and one of the most expensive airlines to fly to Africa along with United.
Both are the only non-stop flights and they are taking advantage of it specially during the high season.
Best bets to Africa are generally from JFK flying Middle-East or some European carriers either on points or paying for it.
 
The first year is free and comes with a 70,000 mile bonus plus the person referring you gets 10,000. My wife and I refer each other. So then it’s 80,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 6 months. The bonus varies. So with only approximately $10,000 in spend on 2 or 3 cards you can accumulate 150,000 to 200,000 miles and that’s 2 free tickets to Africa that would cost $4,000 in cash. To earn $4,000 cash back you need to charge $200,000 if you’re getting 2% back.
 
I consider myself very fortunate. I live in the USA and work as a contractor for the US Army. Within the last 12 months my company has sent me to Greece, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The Netherlands, and Spain. I fly Delta every time. I am going to South Africa for my first safari ever this June. I had enough Delta points to make the $2200 plane tickets - free.
 
The first year is free and comes with a 70,000 mile bonus plus the person referring you gets 10,000. My wife and I refer each other. So then it’s 80,000 miles after spending $3,000 in 6 months. The bonus varies. So with only approximately $10,000 in spend on 2 or 3 cards you can accumulate 150,000 to 200,000 miles and that’s 2 free tickets to Africa that would cost $4,000 in cash. To earn $4,000 cash back you need to charge $200,000 if you’re getting 2% back.
That’s almost strictly the sign up bonus. I just spent some time plugging in dates on different days of the week August through December just Atlanta to Johannesburg (not connecting flights) prices in points were 184,000 to 250,000 points for economy. I don’t see the value in the credit card unless you fly very regularly for work and pay for it on your business. June is up to 400,000 points but only a few hundred dollars more than the flights that are half the point value.
 
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I am not sure what months you are seeing flights for less than 200K miles round trip but in all bookings that I have been looking at, they are 200K+ in coach. This is for August of this year. I love flying Delta because of the direct flight but I also do not like sitting in coach. I would prefer premium select of Delta one but those are absurdly priced, both in dollars and reward redemptions. Approx 450K and 800K miles respectively. Delta used to be better for reward flights but now its stupid. I put close to 1mil expenses on my reserve business card so I get a ton of skymiles each year and have already made Diamond for next year, but it is getting to the point where it would be better to go different airlines or routes because Delta is getting greedy as hell.

Hell even a flight I am trying to book in October to hunt in Zim is 156k roundtrip in coach, 350k in premium select and 735k in delta one. Delta one is $9700 same dates. Same exact time frame I can get a Qatar business class ticket for about $4500 and is a much better experience than Delta can provide.
 
I pretty much fly on points to Africa (or somewhere) every year…

Between business travel, credit card points, etc… I typically accumulate enough points to maintain platinum pro status and pick up a couple of international tickets per year (coach class)…

Qatar being code shared with American, and me being local to DFW, where Qatar flies out of daily, is certainly helpful..
 
I consider myself very fortunate. I live in the USA and work as a contractor for the US Army. Within the last 12 months my company has sent me to Greece, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, The Netherlands, and Spain. I fly Delta every time. I am going to South Africa for my first safari ever this June. I had enough Delta points to make the $2200 plane tickets

At any given time there seem to be a lot of AfricaHunting.com members that are dreaming of or planning a trip to Africa. For those planning to go, or that go regularly, why don’t more people easily earn the frequent flyer miles needed through credit card spend programs and just fly for free? I’ve flown my last 5 trips to Africa for free, as do my friends, and all my other inside the U.S. travel as well. It’s just incredibly easy if you have credit that is good enough to qualify for a new credit card. Is it because you think it’s more complicated to buy a ticket with points than money, or you think you would be on some sort of standby or something? I can assure you, it’s easy to book, it’s the exact same ticket you’d buy with cash, and you often get to board the plane sooner than those that paid cash and have better access to overhead luggage storage. Delta points never expire, so it’s best to earn them asap now since congress is trying to pass legislation that may do away with these programs. If you don't eventually go to Africa, their still good for any other place that Delta flies.

I like Delta for its direct flight to South Africa, typically about the shortest flight out there. AMEX has an exclusive on earning Delta SkyMiles, so one of their personal or business Delta cards would be the best way to earn the miles needed. My 2021 flight cost 81,500 miles, 98,000 in 2022, and a little higher than that in 2023 (all trips flying peak travel season) as international flight demands increase. The number of miles it takes varies on time of year, day of week etc., and can change daily just like cash tickets depending on demand for any particular flight. You just have to be patient and wait for the price to eventually be a good deal. You can also mix points/cash if you don’t have enough miles to buy the flight outright with miles. Right now, they have their best ever offer for new applicants, 70,000 miles for a Gold card or 90,000 for a Platinum card, but it ends on Wednesday (3/27) so you’d need to apply soon. They will charge a (relatively) small amount for an annual fee, but it’s incredibly worth it to get a $2,200 ticket for free! I will get a few points if you apply using this link, but I really just like helping people afford their dream trips! I’m happy to answer questions about the process if you have them, but it’s all pretty simple. Only two more days to apply if you're interested, before this offer is cut in half to their regular offer. Towards the top of the landing page you can click "Personal Cards" or "Business Cards" to see other card offers, some that have significantly lower fees but earn fewer miles when you signup. I have no association with Delta or AMEX, I just enjoy helping people realize their trip to Africa!
wow. just checked main cabin on Delta Atl to Jnb 335,000 miles latter part of July
 
What would you all recommend as the best travel credit card for hunting Africa?
 
I have two credit cards (1) Amex (2) BA Visa. I place all my spending on the BA visa no matter how small or large and pay it off each month. It has a $75 annual fee. I earn miles (AVIOS) flying on any one world carrier (BA, AA, Qatar, Etc.) to my BA account. You can also transfer AVIOS between BA, Air Lingus, Qatar, Ibera, FinnAir programs. BA also allows for Household accounts, which pools all the miles between family/household members making one big pool of miles for "free" flights. With the BA Visa, depending on spend level, you also received a voucher for 2 for1 frequent flyer tickets plus taxes.
 
What would you all recommend as the best travel credit card for hunting Africa?
Depends on the rewards you are looking for but any visa signature card with zero foreign transaction fees gives some good added benefits. American Express isn’t widely accepted even in US. Visa is accepted everywhere. Not the best rewards, but for no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees, Amazon’s credit card or Bank of America’s travel card are both good options. If you think the miles are worth it, United offers a visa travel card as well for no annual fee.
 

wow. just checked main cabin on Delta Atl to Jnb 335,000 miles latter part of July
Rare Breed - My flight was only 218,000 round trip. Trip is in June, I booked in October. I think that matters.
 
I participate in the Alaska Airlines milage program and I have flown to Africa twice using Miles for myself and a companion both times. First time was on Emerites and the second time was on Qatar through the One World Alliance program.
 
As a few have said above, the signup bonuses are what get you a fantastic deal on a flight with very little purchasing on the card involved, in this case spending $4,000 miles in 6 months earns 94,000 miles! That's the vast majority of points needed for a flight. Staying with the same card for years and getting even 2X or more on everyday spend is not the way to earn flights quickly. While I agree that Delta's redemption rates have increased somewhat this year because of the pent-up demand coming out of the Covid years, there are still some reasonable deals for Main Cabin (one step above the bottom tier) flights to JBurg. I just pulled up the prices for late Aug. through Early Sept because they were the dates I had last searched, but there are very reasonable flights scattered over plenty of good dates. The Delta AMEX card gives you a 15% discount on the number of miles it takes to book a Delta flight, so if you are searching without being a Delta cardholder you can subtract 15% to get the corresponding price. As I said, I've flown there five times on miles and have paid as low as 81,500 and as high as about 145,000 I believe. I'm not interested in paying the outrageous prices for front cabin seats. The tickets with the $58 taxes are the direct through Atlanta flights from Phoenix to JBurg (the ones I always take), other amounts of taxes fly through different cities.

Delta Aug-Sept 2024.jpg
 
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However, if you are determined that you need to earn more than 1X point per mile day in and day out, this Capital One Visa card is hard to beat. It earns 79,000 points (75,000+4,000) after you spend $4,000 on the card in 3 months, then you would continue to earn 2X on everything with no worries about specific spending categories that most cards have. However, they also pay 5X on flights and 10X on hotels and rental cars booked through their travel portal (where they guarantee the lowest price). You can book your flight through their portal and apply your points to the cost on any airline you wish. What I do is get the flight free through Delta AMEX and then use the points on this card to offset the charges for my actual hunt/safari on my credit card statement. If I get the Africa flight free on Delta through AMEX, then spend several thousand on this card for the safari, I then apply all of my accumulated Capital One points toward the safari charges (as long as the safari company is coded properly as "travel") and get either a huge amount of it or all of it paid using points from that program. And this card also gives you free access to three different airline lounge networks for you and several friends, which includes food and alcohol at no cost and makes traveling more fun!

While it has a little higher $395 fee, as soon as you book ANY travel through their portal in the first year (and each year thereafter), they refund $300 of it back to you on your statement (or they'll credit it to your booking as you do it). They will also pay the $100 fee for you to get Global Entry/TSA Precheck so you have that for five years for free too. So, essentially, you'd be getting the card for free and get to apply at least the $790 you earned by spending only $4,000 that you would have spent on day to day expenses anyway. They also give you $100 worth of points each anniversary, so between that and the $300 yearly travel credit, the card is free. You can see more about it at the link.

Apply Capital One
 

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