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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available – Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express

Delta’s getting serious about its efforts in Africa. After complementing service between New York (JFK) and Accra, Ghana (ACC) — which TPG himself flew and reviewed — with year-round service between JFK and Lagos, Nigeria (LOS), the carrier has announced a codeshare partnership with Kenya Airways on flights to and from the African carrier’s hub at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

That’s of particular interest to Americans seeking easier access to Africa, and the timing works out well given the impending launch of Kenya Airways’ first-ever nonstop flight to the Americas in October. That flight, operated by a Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner, will take passengers between Nairobi (NBO) and New York (JFK), and we’ll be onboard the inaugural service to bring you a review.

Coastline in Ghana (Photo by Dana Jo Photography)

So, what exactly is the benefit of a codeshare, and why should Delta loyalists care? Starting this month, Delta’s code will be placed on Kenya Airways’ flights from Amsterdam, Paris, London, and Accra to Nairobi, “enhancing connectivity and providing customers with a one-stop seamless travel experience from the United States.” In addition, Delta will place its code on Kenya Airways’ services to more than 10 cities across Africa, including: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Lilongwe, Malawi; Maputo, Mozambique; Johannesburg, South Africa and Djibouti City, Djibouti.

For flyers, it’ll make it easier to search for routes to Africa. You can search for Delta flights as you normally would, and now you’ll see more connection options on flights coded as Delta but flown by Kenya Airways.

While Kenya Airways is not currently listed as a “preferred partner” — a list that includes AeroMexico, Air France, China Eastern, GOL, KLM, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia — adopting a codeshare agreement may be the first step in upgrading the relationship to preferred status. If that were to happen, you’ll also see Kenya Airways offering elevated benefits for Delta’s Medallion elite members, like complimentary upgrades. The two are, however, both members of the SkyTeam alliance, which means that frequent flyers can earn and redeem miles on both airlines, while Elite Plus travelers benefit from SkyPriority services.

Bottom Line

South Africa
Mountains in Hoedspruit, South Africa (Photo by Darren Murph / The Points Guy)

The codeshare agreement should help synchronize schedules between Delta and Kenya Airways, and it should populate more routing options to Africa when using the Flying Blue award search calendar. We’d also expect more Kenya Airways flights to appear within Delta’s own award search engine, but given the poor redemption value of SkyMiles to Africa, we doubt that’ll be a preferred avenue to exchange points for flights.

Be sure to check out our guide to booking award flights with Delta SkyMiles, as well as our guide to searching SkyTeam award availability.

If you’ve taken a look at your elite status progress and are in need of an MQM boost, consider adding the Platinum Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card from American Express or Delta Reserve® Credit Card from American Express, each of which provides an additional 10,000 MQMs after reaching a certain level of spend.

For avid Delta flyers, be sure to pore over our guide to choosing the best credit card for Delta loyalists.

Featured image of a Kenya Airways Boeing 787-8 at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport by iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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