Booking A Delta Award Flight To Joburg In Business At The Low Award Level

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Delta operates the fourth longest flight in the world. The flight operates on a 777 from Atlanta to Joburg. It is often very difficult to find award availability at the low level in Business Class. So this presents a problem for anyone looking to redeem SkyMiles to South Africa at the low level. If you fall in this camp and can’t find availability on the non-stop flight, consider routing through Europe to find the low level Business Class availability you are looking for.


Outbound Flight To Joburg

Searching for the Atlanta to Joburg flight is easy on Delta’s website. You’ll frequently find award availability on this flight, but it will be at the high level requiring 380,000 SkyMiles, not a good value for those seeking to minimize the amount of miles spent. Instead, consider the routing options through Europe. Here are three examples of award availability to Joburg from Atlanta. All of these options are pricing out at the low level requiring 140,000 SkyMiles to South Africa.


The first flight routes through Amsterdam and has a 21 hour layover. This could give enough time to explore Amsterdam for a day. The next two flights are a little more complicated and not ideal for a leisure trip in my opinion. But all three options will get you to South Africa in Business Class at the low level.

Return Flight Through Europe

There are a few options on the return. The best again is the non-stop to Atlanta unless of course you are looking to build in a stop over in Europe. Then I’d suggest the Air France flight through Paris. Searching on Air France’s US website is probably the best option here but you can also search on Delta’s website or ExpertFlyer. image

The last leg from Europe to Atlanta or anywhere in the United States is probably the easiest to find. There are endless combinations of flights across the Atlantic. The most direct routes will likely require more miles. For example, on the dates in this example the non-stop flights from Paris to Atlanta were pricing out above the low award level. So I found an Air France flight to Dusseldorf connecting on to a Delta flight back to Atlanta.


If booked with legal connections and stop-overs, this ticket should price out at 140,000 SkyMiles plus taxes and fees.

Bottom Line

The purpose of this post isn’t to highlight how easy it is to use Delta SkyMiles to get the exact flight you want. It is to illustrate that if you want the low level award availability to a destination, you have to work for it. If you are flexible you can likely find something that will work at the low award level.

Finding low level award availability on the 4th longest flight in the world from Atlanta to Joburg is not easy. If you are set on going to South Africa at the low level using SkyMiles, consider routing options through Europe. Don’t forget to add in a stop-over or open-jaw if you are looking to enjoy a little bit of Europe on the way over or back.

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  1. Thanks for the great info! I find it ironic that the best Delta points on boardingarea are not actually from you know who!

  2. If you route through another African country and do a stop-over in JNB, it should price at 120,000 miles round-trip.

    I don’t like connecting through CDG/AMS because AF/KLM TATL business class seats are usually angled-flat.

  3. Hi BigRedBears – This is true, but I think it would be more of a pain to make another stop in another country if you didn’t intend to stay there. Would it be worth 20k to loose a stop-over in Europe? I’d rather save the stop-over for the return and book a free one-way.

  4. You raise a valid point. Depending on one’s utility function there are multiple ways to “hack” this trip.

    I already explored most of SkyTeam hub cities in Europe, so European stop has little appeal to me. On the other hand, I am planning a side trip in Africa and don’t mind extra intra-Africa leg. Finally, I am a bit short on DL miles, so paying 140K is not an option.

    However, I have to give up domestic one-way (which I would value at 25K), so my explicit cost for this trip is 145K.

    p.s. there are creative (but not simple) ways to route through Saudi Arabia/Djibouti or Burkina Faso/Niger, with multiple stop-overs on the way, but they are for more adventurous types.

  5. Delta also flies directly to Lagos, Nigeria. But business class seats are old recliners.

  6. Longhaul KLM space in O is almost always on phantom on

    All that space above is likely not bookable…

    CDG-JNB in O does open on AF quite often, though, and going via DUS or AMS (on DL metal) is a good way to get a saver award.

  7. Also, if you can’t find space on JNB-ATL/CDG/AMS try the KL flight CPT-AMS.

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