Traveling to Africa can be extremely expensive! Just to give you an example, my wife spent over $7,000 alone on a trip to South Africa when she was 21! And that does not even include the food or purchases she made once she got there.
While I can’t help you save money on the safari aspect of a trip to Africa, I can save you HUGE on the flights getting there. Which in a lot of cases is the largest purchase of the trip.
What makes me bring up this topic? Well actually a family member of mine is planning a trip to South Africa with his wife in a couple years. He asked me what the best way to get from Orlando, Florida to Johannesburg, South Africa is. After doing a lot of research, here is what I found to be the easiest way to do it.
While this post specifically is talking about Johannesburg, the same advice can apply for almost every other city in Africa. From Cairo to Cape Town to Nairobi to Marrakech.
What is the best and easiest way of doing it?
A combination of Chase Ultimate Rewards and United Airlines. While you can use American Express Membership Rewards Points or American/US Airways Points too, I believe the negatives outweigh the benefits. Whether the points are too hard to use, fuel surcharges are outrageous, the award availability is limited, or the points are just flat out too hard to get.
That is why I believe the combination of Chase and United is the best combination. That way you have access to all of United and Star Alliance’s Partners. Booking through United allows you to do just that!
The specifics of doing it…
Ok so a trip using United points in economy class from the United States to Africa = 80,000 miles
Or 160,000 miles for a couple. So how are we going to get all those points?
The absolute best way as I recommend over and over again in my posts is credit card sign-ups!
Which cards should you sign up for?
Since I said that Chase Ultimate Rewards and United are the best options for getting to most places in Africa, I would recommend any of the Chase cards that give you Ultimate Rewards Points. Those cards consist of:
– Chase Sapphire ~ Only sign up if offer is at least 40,000 Points
– Chase Freedom ~ Only sign up if offer is $200 or 20,000 Points
– Chase Ink Bold or Ink Plus (These are business cards, but most people can apply. Wondering if you can sign up for a business card? Check out this post from Nerd Wallet. – Only sign up if the offer is at least 50,000 points
The reason I recommend these cards is because Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to United at 1:1. Meaning every point you earn can go right to your United account to save up for your 80,000 point ticket to Africa.
The other cards you should sign up for are:
– Chase United Card ~ Only sign up if offer is at least 50,000 Points
– Chase United Business Card – Only sign up if offer is at least 50,000 Points
Now what?! Build your points to get to Africa!
Depending on what you credit cards you applied for, you need to build your rewards accounts! Make sure first you:
- Meet all your credit card spend requirements to get your bonus points
- Put all your purchases and spend on your United or Chase Cards
- Once you have your 80,000 or 160,000 points, book your tickets!
How can you build your points even faster? Check this post out here.
Also, one of the other nice perks of United tickets is you can book multiple legs of your trip for free. Meaning you can potentially stop in Europe on your way to Africa for a day or two, and then fly to Johannesburg. Then on your way home you can fly back from Cape Town. All in one ticket!
How do you do that? Check this post out from Million Mile Secrets for how to do it. It is quite easy 🙂
Does this post help you at all in getting to Africa? Post in the comments below!