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British Airways increases Reward Flight Saver fees on short-haul African routes

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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 points from UK credit cards

How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (October 2022)

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.

You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:

Barclaycard Avios Plus card

Barclaycard Avios Plus Mastercard

25,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £10,000 Read our full review

Barclaycard Avios card

Barclaycard Avios Mastercard

5,000 Avios for signing up and an upgrade voucher for spending £20,000 Read our full review

There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:

British Airways American Express Premium Plus

25,000 Avios and the UK’s most valuable card perk – the 2-4-1 voucher Read our full review

British Airways American Express

5,000 Avios for signing up and an Economy 2-4-1 voucher for spending £12,000 Read our full review

You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Preferred Rewards Gold

Your best beginner’s card – 20,000 points, FREE for a year & two airport lounge passes Read our full review

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER), £200 travel credit and unbeatable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Run your own business?

We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,000 Avios.

Capital On Tap Business Rewards Visa

10,500 points bonus – the most generous Avios Visa for a limited company Read our full review

You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.

British Airways Accelerating Business American Express

30,000 Avios sign-up bonus – plus annual bonuses of up to 30,000 Avios Read our full review

There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.

American Express Business Platinum

40,000 points sign-up bonus and a long list of travel benefits Read our full review

American Express Business Gold

20,000 points sign-up bonus and free for a year Read our full review

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.

Comments (14)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Dawn says:

    My husband flew on Kulula but they didn’t credit the Avios. We contacted Avios and they said we should contact Kulula direct which we did via email. No response and no points. Waste of time.

  • MarkH says:

    Have got JNB-DUR and DUR-PLZ in business coming up in November – 7750 avios + £32.

    Looking forward to it judging by comments ppl have made comparing it to CE.

  • Steve R says:

    Worth mentioning that you can access the fantastic SLOW lounges (JNB, CPT and DUR) when flying Comair Business Class domestically and regionally.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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