On February 1, 2015 SAA announced major changes to the Voyager programme, and back then I was not happy! The thing that annoyed me the most was the redemption value of miles. Paying 800k miles for a return USA in business class seemed (and still is) ludicrous!
I had a earned couple of million miles and just could not justify the cost. However I soon realised that if I issued a Star Alliance award using a partner airline the cost was far more palatable. I booked a few itineraries using these awards and once again valued my miles. Some of the more interesting routings included JNB-HKG-ICN-LAX-ICN-HKG-JNB and JNB-MUC-OSL-KEF-OSL-MUC-JNB
Despite these ‘workarounds’ I viewed the new Voyager negatively. However the only SAA flights I did in 2015 and 2016 were award based travel and thus the impact was minimised.
Prior to the end of 2014, my work saw me travel extensively and I had built up to platinum status, albeit only for four years (2010-2013). However a year off completing studies followed by a career change meant that this year I was downgraded to Blue. An adjustment to my role saw me start traveling as of February this year for business. With just shy of six months travel under my belt I am very happy to be well on my way to Platinum.
This is my statement as at 1 Aug 2017
Coupled with the easy tiering, SAA has introduced Journey Blitz awards which have greatly reduced rates (+/_ 120k for Asia Business class return).
From a young age I have always had a love for flying and seeing new places. I have pursued this love in the form of many many flights, a pilots license and a masters thesis. Over the past few years I have been reading One mile at a time by Ben Schlappig and View from the Wing by Gary Leff.
Having watched with envy in the belief that there is no room for emulation as a South African I have just sit back and watched, especially given the lack of earning miles and points using bank accounts and credit cards from here.
Recently however Ben wrote a post on South African Airways, which in the global context made perfect sense, however without a deep South African understanding and perspective I felt I had to respond. It was this response that got me thinking that perhaps there is an opportunity to provide a page for those of us who call Africa our home.
This will be my attempt to meet that need…
Happy reading, comment and criticism will be welcome.