I always like highlighting great premium class fares, especially on airlines that belong to the major global alliances, given that these can be a great way to earn lots of miles in comfort. Qatar Airways is probably the airline with the most consistently excellent business class fares, and at the moment they have an especially good fare for anyone looking to travel from Cape Town to the US.
Per Unionruler on FlyerTalk, Qatar Airways has ~$2,000 roundtrip business class fares from Cape Town to many cities in the US, including Atlanta, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, etc. The fare is valid for travel through next May, and there’s pretty good availability even during peak season. The fare has a minimum stay of three days, and a maximum stay of 12 months.
Obviously this won’t be for everyone since it’s only valid for travel originating in South Africa, and not for travel originating in the other direction. However, this could be useful for:
- Anyone who lives in South Africa or the region
- Anyone who is planning a trip to South Africa, as you could book this for the return, and then plan the return portion of the ticket for a subsequent trip, or even just use the Los Angeles to Doha segment and throw away the Doha to Cape Town segment; there’s a maximum stay of 12 months, so you could book the outbound for August and the return for next May, for example
- Anyone who is crazy and loves to earn miles
As an example, let’s crunch the numbers on a Cape Town to Los Angeles routing. For those crediting these flights to American, you’d earn:
- 150% elite qualifying miles for segments in first or business class
- 100% redeemable miles for segments in the “R” fare class
- A 120% mileage bonus if you’re an Executive Platinum member
- 20% elite qualifying dollars (elite qualifying dollars for this fare are calculated as 20% of the distance flown)
As an American Executive Platinum member flying roundtrip from Cape Town to Los Angeles you’d earn:
- 38,763 elite qualifying miles
- 56,852 redeemable miles
- 5,168 elite qualifying dollars
That’s a lot of miles! If you value those redeemable miles at ~1.3 cents each (as I do), that’s a return of ~$750, and that’s without placing any value on the elite qualifying miles or dollars.
The one downside is that these flights are operated by 777s, which don’t yet feature Qatar’s new business product. These planes have fully flat seats, though there’s not direct aisle access from every seat.
Qatar Airways’ first 777-300ER has Qsuites, and hopefully they’ll install the product on more planes over the coming months. However, I wouldn’t count on having it on any of these flights between now and next May. New York is supposed to be the first US airport to get the new product as of this September, but even that isn’t official yet.
Anyone considering taking advantage of one of these great Qatar Airways fares?