My New Best Redemption Ever

I previously wrote about my most impressive mileage redemption ever. In that redemption I flew in Aer Lingus Business Class from Boston to Dublin for 25,000 points. That was a fantastic deal and, unfortunately, is no longer possible. A few months ago, we finished flying a redemption that tops even that redemption!

Mauritius – South Africa – Brazil – Argentina – Chile

We flew from Mauritius to Johannesburg to Sao Paulo on South African in Business Class, then flew from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires in Turkish Airlines Business Class, then finally flew from Buenos Aires to Santiago in Air Canada Business Class.

I booked all of this using 45,000 miles and $85.30!

United Central/Southern Africa to Southern South America

This is the key sweet spot to this award. United charges only 45,000 miles for flights between these two regions if you take a direct flight between the regions. South African is the only Star Alliance carrier that flies directly between these two regions, which means your flight across the Atlantic will be on South African if you are taking advantage of this sweet spot.

5th Freedom Routes

This was a bonus and a really cool aspect of this award ticket. These were our second (Turkish from Sao Paulo to Buenos Aires) and third (Air Canada from Buenos Aires to Santiago) times flying 5th freedom routes. A 5th freedom route is when a carrier is allowed to carry passengers between two cities that are outside of their home country. The first 5th freedom route we ever took was on KLM between Bali and Singapore.

New and Old Business Class Experiences

Our first two segments were in South African Business class. This was a new airline in Business Class for us, which was awesome!

Then we got to go back to our Business Class roots and fly on Turkish Airlines. Turkish was the first airline we ever flew internationally in Business Class, so they will always hold a special spot in our hearts.

To top it off, we got to try out Air Canada in Business Class on their new Boeing 787! This was also a completely new airline for us in Business Class.

Stay tuned over the next few weeks for some reviews of these flights!


It pays to look for sweet spots in award charts to score some amazing deals using points. We got to fly 8,317 miles in Business Class for an amount of miles that anyone can easily achieve. There were also plenty of other reasons that made this award awesome for us. Simply put, this was my best mileage redemption ever and I don’t think I’ll ever beat it.

Now I’ll let you in on a little trick I found.

It looks like you can book awards from Central/Southern Africa to various places in Southern South America and route through Northern South America and even Central America….. That could certainly be useful if you only have a carry on bag.

If you wanted to book a Business Class award using United miles, it would cost you 85,000 miles to fly between Central/Southern Africa to Central America. It would cost you 90,000 miles to fly between Central/Southern Africa and Northern South America. With this trick, you could book a ticket from Central/Southern Africa to Southern South America that routes through Northern South America or Central America. You would then stop traveling once you get to Northern South America/Central America and skip your final leg to Southern South America. This would save you 40,000-45,000 miles!

What has your best award redemption been? I’d love to hear!

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