I wrote yesterday that South African Airways award space had been unbookable for one week using miles from any Star Alliance loyalty program outside of South African Voyager. Thankfully, the space is again bookable.
The one-week hiatus of all SA space left a big hole for travel within Africa, but all space is back and appears to be what it was before, with good availability within Africa and to Brazil. Space was only bookable via phone with United and Aeroplan earlier today, but is now again available online.
Note the current South African Airways longhaul route map–
SA’s current long-haul route network (beyond Africa, note Buenos Aires has been cut) – produced by Rohan
When constructing an award to South Africa, routes like Beijing, Hong Kong, Mumbai, and Sao Paulo are much more likely to offer business class space than Washington, New York, Frankfurt, London, or Munich.
Star Alliance makes these connection easier – with service to Beijing or Hong Kong on Air Canada, ANA, Asiana, EVA, Singapore, and United. Air India’s entrance into Star Alliance makes service via Mumbai easier to arrange with only one stop from the USA and United, COPA, Avianca/TACA, and Air Canada all serve Sao Paulo, where space between GRU and JNB is plentiful in both cabins.
You’ll notice Buenos Aires in the map above, but SA cut service to Buenos Aires at the end of March this year, citing unprofitably.
Note as well that South African Airways flights are still bookable with with US Airways. Although US Airways has left Star Alliance, it maintains a handful of former Star partners including Aegean, Air China, TAP Portugal, and South African.
Those four carriers, along with US Airways flights, can be mixed on a single itinerary, but oneworld carriers cannot be mixed with those four partners.
The US Airways MasterCard by Barclays is currently offering a 40,000 sign-up bonus, which would get you halfway toward a trip to South Africa from North America on South African Airways. Click here for more details.
US Airways (and United and Aeroplan) do not collect fuel surcharges on South African Airways redemptions.
Nice to see the SA back!