It’s been quite a week at tpol.com. The points gods are certainly smiling on me. I thought the first good deal was booking Detroit to Napoli on Air France for 18k (in coach). Then the deal of a lifetime happened when I booked Madrid to Chicago for 25k on Iberia. That took care of my spring Euro trip.
Now I needed a ride to Africa where I plan on climbing Mt. Kili in record time, much like I did when I ran the marathon in Athens. The flight back, Virgin Atlantic from JNB-LHR-SFO is already on the books.
I began my search by looking for flights on Qatar. I quickly gave up because I could not find business to Doha and there was zero availability from Doha (DOH) to Kilimanjaro (JRO). I also want to save my AA miles for a future trip. This led me to United which used to be the best value for points flights until it killed points travel. Last year, I flew from Shanghai to Tahiti via New Zealand in (mostly) business for 60k round trip. That was an incredible value that would be next to impossible to replicate.
Here’s what I found instead:
Business class to JRO via Ethiopian Airlines for 80k miles. I’ve read that the Cloud Nine service was decent but not spectacular. I kept searching and eventually found the winner. The flight is SFO-IST on Turkish then IST-JRO also on Turkish with a three-hour layover in Istanbul. I flew Turkish when I had the great idea to move to Mongolia and really enjoyed it. (Turkish, not Mongolia) I wish I had more time in the Turkish lounge, the Costco of airline lounges, but this was the best that I could find.
While this booking isn’t the tremendous value of the Tahiti trip, it is a great redemption in the post deval world of points travel.