There is a little-known arbitrage you can use to save £50 of tax when booking British Airways Avios redemption flights to Cape Town.
Whilst Cape Town does have a direct BA service, it is often tricky to find Avios reward seats. Most people end up travelling via Johannesburg and changing to a Comair connection. Comair is a BA franchise and its planes have the usual British Airways livery.
This is how it works:
If you book London to Cape Town via a connection in Jo’burg, the cost (economy return) is 45,500 Avios off-peak plus £433 tax
If you book London to Jo’burg on one ticket and Jo’burg to Cape Town on a separate ticket, the individual costs are 32,500 plus £328 for the long-haul, off-peak, and 13,000 Avios plus £56 for the connection.
That is a saving of £49!
There is a small trade off, of course. As you will be on separate tickets, Comair and BA are not technically liable to look after you if you miss one flight because the other is delayed. In reality, I would not be at all worried about this as Comair and BA effectively operate as one airline and will ensure you are OK. It is also likely that you would get your baggage checked through at Heathrow and at Cape Town.
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