You may not know that there is a franchised short-haul British Airways network in South Africa and the surrounding region, run by Comair.
Today I wanted to look at how to redeem Avios for British Airways / Comair in South Africa and highlight a forthcoming increase in surcharges.
I have flown it and it is a little surreal to be getting onto a British Airways-branded aircraft with crew wearing British Airways uniforms to fly from, say, Johannesburg to Cape Town.
It uses a small fleet on Boeing 737 aircraft.
As far as I can tell, British Airways (operated by Comair) currently flies from Johannesburg to:
Mauritius – Port Louis
Namibia – Windhoek
South Africa – Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth
Zambia – Livingtone
Zimbabwe – Harare, Victoria Falls
These services can be booked for cash or Avios on ba.com.
Avios redemptions are priced using the standard Avios redemption chart which I show in this article from our Avios Redemption University series. You can book Traveller (Economy) or Club (Business).
Reward Flight Saver is available when you book these redemptions using Avios, as long as you have earned 1 Avios during the previous 12 months.
But …. there is a small snag
Reward Flight Saver pricing for British Airways short haul flights in Europe is:
£17.50 one-way in Euro Traveller / Economy
£25 one-way in Club Europe / Business
…. with the caveat that you may pay less (but never more) on one-way flights TO the UK. I think the cheapest route is Luxembourg which has taxes of just £3.30 when booking a one-way TO London. (I will do another article on how this works later in the week.)
Pricing is a lot higher on Comair / British Airways South Africa. At present, as the Reward Flight Saver page of ba.com shows, you pay:
£28 for UK residents / ZAR 350 one-way in Traveller (Economy)
£32 for UK residents / ZAR 400 one-way in Club (Business)
And it is about to get higher still.
From 14th November, the Reward Flight Saver cost for South African flights is increasing MASSIVELY in local currency.
A one-way in Economy jumps from ZAR 350 to ZAR 500
A one-way in Business jumps from ZAR 400 to ZAR 900
However, if you are based in the UK the hit won’t be so big. The Rand is not in a good way at the moment and has been losing value sharply, even against the weak Pound.
ZAR 500 is currently £26, so the fee may even drop a little
ZAR 900, on the other hand, is currently £48 so we may see a 50% increase
‘Part Pay With Avios’ coming to Comair flights
From the same day, ‘Part Pay With Avios’ will be extended to Comair bookings.
I am not a fan of ‘Part Pay With Avios’ in general, but in the UK there is often a generous discount if you only use a very small number of Avios. The Comair rates will be different to those offered for European flights however.
Given these fairly chunky Reward Flight Saver increases, it makes sense to compare both ‘Part Pay With Avios’ and standard Reward Flight Saver redemptions before booking BA / Comair flights in Africa.
Full details of the changes can be found on the Avios South Africa site here.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2021)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
There are two official British Airways American Express cards:
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points, such as:
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.
If you have a small business, we especially recommend Capital On Cap’s Visa card which comes with a generous bonus worth 10,500 Avios:
(Want to earn more Avios? Click here to visit our home page for our latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios this month from offers and promotions.)