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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using the American Express Platinum Card, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

Tickets to Johannesburg typically range from $1,800 and up, but this Virgin Atlantic sale slashes nearly $1,200 off the going rate. Sale fares begin in October, but the lowest rates are widely available between November 2018 and March 2019.

Note that Google Flights works for searching specific dates and rates, but does not actually link to a Virgin Atlantic booking page. So you will have to use Google Flights first to find the dates you want, then repeat the process on Virgin Atlantic in order to actually book your tickets.

Airline: Virgin Atlantic
Routes: LAX/SFO/JFK to JNB
Cost: $676+ round-trip in economy
Dates: November 2018 to March 2019
Booking Link: Kayak for Hong Kong Airlines flights. OrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline for other airlines.
Pay With: The Platinum Card from American Express (5x on airfare), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)

New York (JFK) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $676 round-trip in November in Economy Light:

New York (JFK) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $766 round-trip in November in Economy Classic:

Newark (EWR) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $766 round-trip in March in Economy Classic:

Newark (EWR) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $766 round-trip in March in Economy Classic:


San Francisco (SFO) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $800 round-trip in Economy Classic over Christmas/New Year’s:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Johannesburg, South Africa (JNB) for $800 round-trip in Economy Classic:

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as the American Express Platinum Card (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card or Citi Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

H/T: The Flight Deal

Featured image by Shutterstock.

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CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

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  • Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
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  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 60,000 points are worth $750 toward travel
  • No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards
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