Editor’s note: The team at The Points Guy loves to travel, but now is not the time for unnecessary trips. Health officials note that the fastest way to return to normalcy is to stop coming in contact with others. That includes ceasing travel. We are publishing travel deals because we should all use this time to think about and plan our next adventures. TPG doesn’t advise booking trips for travel until the late spring or early summer – and even then be mindful of cancellation policies.
While now isn’t the time to travel, it doesn’t mean you can’t plan travel for life after the coronavirus pandemic subsides. We don’t know when we’ll be able to fly again, but it is nice to think — or potentially even book — your next vacation with flexible change and cancellation rules.
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South America is at the top of my list to visit, whenever it’s safe to fly. And now we have a new (albeit longer) way to fly to the country. As first reported by Notiflyr, TAP Portugal has a ton of cheap round-trip cash fares between South Africa and South America starting at $1,499 round-trip. The deals appear to be available between November and March 2021, and all of them route through Portugal each way.
These fares are possible thanks to the carrier’s new routes between Lisbon (LIS) and Cape Town (CPT) as well as Cancun (CUN), as first reported by One Mile At A Time — which also reports some cheap one-way business class tickets from Cape Town to Central America and parts of the U.S.
Copacabana Beach and Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro. (Photo by f11photo/Getty Images)
Editor’s note: Don’t book travel unless you fully understand the penalties around changing or canceling if the COVID-19 still situation warrants such measures in the second half of the year. TPG does not recommend leisure travel at this juncture, but we are crossing our fingers and toes for travel later in 2020.
Visit TPG’s guide to all coronavirus news and updates
Flight deals currently available Cape Town (CPT) to Rio de Janeiro (GIG) and São Paulo (GRU)
Round-trip deals from Cape Town to São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are available for select dates between November and February 2021 starting at $1,439 round-trip. You’ll find the cheapest deals on OTAs like Orbitz, but you may avoid potential headaches by booking directly through the airline. Both routes are operated on TAP Air Portugal’s A330-900neo, which we’ve previously reviewed.
Photo by Art Wager/Getty ImagesCape Town to Miami (MIA), New York (JFK), Baltimore (BWI) and Washington-Dulles (IAD)
It’s not often you see one-way deals — let alone in business class — from Africa to the U.S. for under $1,500. The cheapest deal we’re seeing is from Cape Town to Miami (MIA) via Lisbon for $1,080 if booked directly with the airline. Flights to Baltimore, Washington and New York are hovering around $1,200 one-way, while flights to Chicago will cost around $1,400.
Note that some of these routes may be available for redemption through Star Alliance partners if you’re looking to book an award ticket. That includes United’s MileagePlus program, Air Canada’s Aeroplan program, or Avianca LifeMiles. You can earn both United and Aeroplan miles very quickly, as Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer at a 1:1 ratio to United and LifeMiles and American Express Membership Rewards transfer at the same ratio to Aeroplan.
However, if you do find award availability on your desired date(s), it may not represent the best value when cash prices are so low.
How to book
We were able to find these deals at Google Flights. You can search for flights to your destinations from multiple airports to help you spot the best deal. Or, you can search from your destination (“Where from?” field) to any gateway in the United States by typing “USA” in the “Where to?” field. You’ll get a map showing the cheapest flights to airports around the country.
Note that these deals may work in reverse (for instance, IAD-CPT), but originating in the U.S. may cost a few hundred dollars more.
Understand cancellation policies before buying an airline ticket
Finally, before buying any airline ticket in the current realities, understand the cancellation and rebooking policies for the carrier you book. Airlines have been adjusting their policies to be more friendly for future bookings, but what that means can vary from airline to airline, and they may differ depending on whether you used cash or miles.
RELATED: How to avoid change and cancellation fees
While you’re now often able to rebook an airline ticket for a future date without a change fee, just remember that you’ll likely still be on the hook for any fare difference from your old ticket to the new one.
Featured image courtesy of Brendan Dorsey / The Points Guy
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