Deal alert: $574 round-trip to South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia on Qatar, Star Alliance airlines
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
Bless the rains in Africa, as well as the flight-sale gods: Round-trip flights to popular destinations on the African continent have dropped below the $600 mark. These rates hold firm even for Midwest travelers.
Cape Town, South Africa, is one of The Points Guy's hottest destinations for 2020. It's also a favorite of The Points Guy himself, Brian Kelly, as well as a number of TPG staffers‚ myself included. Now you can get there for up to $1,000 off a typical ticket price, according to The Flight Deal.
The best rates originate out of major airports, such as Los Angeles (LAX), Houston (IAH) and Chicago (ORD), and are available over select dates in March and April, as well as October and November of this year. Cape Town is in the Southern Hemisphere, so plan for inverted seasons and temperatures when booking fall travel. It will be springtime in South Africa over Thanksgiving.
Some of the Swiss- and Turkish-operated flights include lengthy layovers, which gives you a bonus opportunity to check out another country at no additional cost.
To find a deal, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find your dates and prices. Finally, click through to book directly with the airline or an online travel agency like Orbitz or Expedia.
Airlines: Swiss, Lufthansa, Qatar, United, Turkish
Routes: LAX/ORD/IAH/SFO/ATL and more to CPT/NBO/ADD/JNB/LOS
Cost: from $574 round-trip
Dates: March — May 2020, and October — November 2020
Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)
The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Here are some examples of specific flights that are available:
Los Angeles (LAX) to Cape Town, South Africa (CPT), for $574 round-trip on Swiss via Vayama:
Chicago (ORD) to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO), for $595 round-trip on Swiss/Lufthansa via Google (22-hour layover in Zurich):
Houston (IAH) to Nairobi, Kenya (NBO), for $611 round-trip on Lufthansa via Gotogate:
Houston (IAH) to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (ADD), for $638 round-trip on Qatar via Vayama:
New York-JFK to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB), for $660 round-trip on Qatar via Vayama:
San Francisco (SFO) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB), for $696 round-trip on United:
Atlanta (ATL) to Lagos, Nigeria (LGO), for $864 round-trip:
Maximize your purchase
Use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Premier® Card, Citi Prestige Card (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.