Emirates Skywards and Air Mauritius Kestrelflyer have quietly started a reciprocal partnership this week. Air Mauritius has been affiliated with Air France so far as the French airline brings in big numbers of visitors to the region. This role seems to have shifted to Emirates now as the Dubai based carrier has two (!) daily A380 flights to the small island for a few years now.
The Eastern African islands of Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues are fantastic destinations. Cash tickets are expensive in the region with many one-way tickets selling for $300++.
So far the best way to travel on Air Mauritius using miles was 17,500 Flying Blue miles for a one-way anywhere inside Africa plus fuel surcharges and taxes.
Emirates Skywards is an American Express Membership Rewards 1:1 Transfer Partner and miles can now be redeemed on Air Mauritius.
Right away it is apparent that short-haul redemptions to the neighboring islands seem decent value at 12,500 miles one-way in Economy. Emirates Skywards does charge fuel surcharges and taxes and fees.
Air Mauritius also flies to Cape Town direct – the Flying Blue redemption of 17,500 miles plus $160 for the One-way seems better than the Emirates Skywards redemption of 25,000 miles. American Express and Emirates Skywards may offer a transfer bonus of course which may change the dynamic a bit.
There is no easy way to accumulate Kestrelflyer miles right now for most people (since I’m not aware of any points transfers) but here is the award chart of redeeming Kestrelflyer miles on Emirates.
A flight from Dubai to San Francisco will require 120,000 miles in Business Class.
Since the region has such high fares it seems to be most helpful to play with hidden city tickets than short-haul redemptions. A few African airports have high competition and the few competitors attack them relentlessly.
– Addis Abeba (ADD)
– Nairobi (NBO)
– Johannesburg (JNB)
There are a few upstarts like RwandaAir in Kigali (KGL) and Air Seychelles (SEZ).
For instance see the comparison between these two tickets that both get you from Madagascar (TNR) to Nairobi (NBO), considered a very expensive route.
Keep in mind that it’s a good idea to not use this ‘trick’ too often and not attach your frequent flyer number when doing so.
Also note that the fuel surcharges from many of those competitive airports are much lower than most African airports.
Picture credit planespotters.net