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TPGtv Episode 1: Flying Delta Business Class to Africa for 90k Miles and $5.60

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As you may have heard, TPGtv launches today! So, what is TPGtv? For starters, it’s not like your average TV show — this is me taking the blog you’ve been reading on your computer screen and bringing it to life.

Season 1 starts with this epic trip I took to Africa back in September where I ended up getting involved with an amazing charity, PeaceJam, a wonderful non-profit organization that’s changing the world by having Nobel Laureate teachers educate youth. I also pushed myself to do things I never thought I’d be doing, like boxing in Accra, Ghana and sandboarding in Cape Town. Plus working with some of the most inspiring young change makers I’ve ever met in Ghana- it was a life-changing trip that I’m excited to share.

For me, points and miles are a means to travel — if I could teleport around the world, I would (although I’d still love flying in Etihad’s Residence or first class on Cathay Pacific from time to time). I collect points so I can travel and experience different cultures. I firmly believe that the more we travel, the better we become. I really wish more people would travel, especially in the US where people have the means — and it’s nice going to sleep every night knowing that I’ve helped millions of readers out there to do just that. Some people travel immensely, like we’ve seen in our reader success stories — this couple even took a 25-day honeymoon around the world — while some are just getting started.

The whole point of TPG is to show people how to travel better for less in a fun way, and I think that’s what we will accomplish with TPGtv. If you come out of each five-minute episode with at least one piece of information you can use, that means we’re doing it right. The series may be geared toward beginners, but even if you’re the most advanced miles and points expert out there, I’m sure you’ll still be entertained — or, better yet, inspired to travel more. Without further ado, here’s Episode 1.

Never miss an episode: Click here to subscribe to The Points Guy on YouTube! Watch TPGtv Here: Episode2Episode3Episode4

The good news is it’s not hard for you to travel like I did: The easiest way to book Delta award flights is by using SkyMiles, as I did for this trip. One-way Delta One redemptions start at just 70,000 miles + $5.60 for the nine-hour 767-300 flight, and go up to 137,500 miles for a high-level redemption. Economy bookings start at 40,000 miles each way, so you’re really getting a bargain by booking a low-level business-class redemption at 70,000 miles, instead.

You can earn SkyMiles easily with cards like the Gold Delta SkyMiles Amex and Delta Reserve. Additionally, you can transfer points instantly from Amex Membership Rewards, earned with cards like Amex Platinum and Premier Rewards Gold. Finally, Delta is also a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest — if you transfer 20,000 points from SPG, you’ll end up with 25,000 SkyMiles, so this redemption will require just 60,000 SPG points. You’ll be nearly there after earning bonus points from both the SPG Amex and SPG Business Amex cards.

Depending on when you go, Delta tends to have pretty good award availability on flights from New York (JFK) to Accra (ACC), especially at the last minute — the best part is the carrier doesn’t charge last-minute ticketing fees whereas most other airlines will charge up to $75 for booking a flight within 21 days. Delta has really, really, really cheap co-pays to Ghana — you’re basically just paying the TSA fees — but be aware that the airline won’t let you make any changes to your award trip within 72 hours of departure. It also makes sense to book a round-trip flight instead of two one-way tickets, as the fees can be higher when your trip originates outside the US.

Not coming from New York? I used United MileagePlus miles to book flights from Washington D.C. (IAD) on South African Airways (SAA) so several PeaceJam employees could join us in Accra, so that’s another option. You could also redeem 104,000 Amex Membership Rewards points when you transfer them to ANA and fly round-trip between Washington D.C. (IAD) and Accra, so that’s a pretty amazing deal — basically less than what most airlines charge to fly to Europe in business class and you get to fly in business class on South African Airways.

JFK to ACC
Using points and miles to fly from New York (JFK) to Accra (ACC) is easier than ever.

I was also really impressed by what Delta has done at JFK’s Terminal 4 — I still remember seeing birds flying around the old terminal back in 2007 and 2011, but now T4 is a totally different ballgame. The Delta Sky Club lounge there is great and access is included with confirmed Delta One flights whether or not you’re using points to fly, so that was a nice little perk to get my trip started off right.

Tune in next Monday for Episode 2, where I introduce PeaceJam and the groundbreaking work they are doing in Accra.

Remember that like all things TPG, we’re paying for everything ourselves. That means that you’ll always have an honest review of every hotel we stay in, each flight we take and everything else from the foods we try to the activities and tours we test out. I’ve put a lot of planning into this project and want to make sure it’s done right. That being said, if you work somewhere our readers might be interested in and could give us filming access, please let me know — email tpgtv@thepointsguy.com, tweet me or send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I want to feature TPG readers in future episodes, so pitch me your idea!

Can’t wait to see what I’m working on next? Follow along with all my travel adventures on Snapchat (thepointsguy) for a behind-the-scenes look at what’s coming up on TPGtv, and don’t forget to subscribe to The Points Guy on YouTube — you’ll be notified as soon as each new episode appears.

Here’s what we’re working on for the first season:

1. AFRICA: “Getting to Africa Using 90K Delta SkyMiles and $5.60”
AIR DATE: 2/1/2016

2. AFRICA: “PeaceJam: Ghana”
AIR DATE: 2/8/2016

3. AFRICA: “Accra Mövenpick Hotel Review & Fantasy Coffins”
AIR DATE: 2/15/2016

4. AFRICA: “Accra Boxing & Nightlife”
AIR DATE: 2/22/2016

5. AFRICA: “Traveling to Rwanda, Trekking with Gorillas & Thousand Hills Hotel Review”
AIR DATE: 2/29/2016

6. AFRICA: “How Kigali has Changed Since the Rwandan Genocide + Hotel Review”
AIR DATE: 3/7/2016

7. AFRICA: “Westin Cape Town Review & The First Black Female Wine Producer in South Africa”
AIR DATE: 3/14/2016

8. AFRICA: “Cape Town Sandboarding & Nobu Restaurant Review”
AIR DATE: 3/21/2016

9. QATAR “What to do in Qatar When You Only Have Six Hours”
AIR DATE: 3/28/16

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