Um, holy cow.
If Cape Town, South Africa, is on your Must-Visit list, we found a trip that should earn you over $5600 Delta MQD — for about $1422. Bonus: you get to spend a night in London — with plenty of time to see some of the big attractions.
The trip is based out of New York City (JFK) and is scheduled aboard Virgin Atlantic 787s and A350s. It’s in Virgin’s Premium Economy cabin. It’s not a Business Class run. (But you can do worse than Premium Economy. Trust me.)
This is a “vacation run” — meaning you’ll stay a few days in Cape Town. (Or, you could start another mileage run from CPT and then return in time to head back to JFK!) You essentially have four full days to explore the city, take a safari or two, or just plain relax.
We found it on ITA Matrix for $1421.65.
Because of how Delta awards trips on its partner airlines, this Virgin Atlantic “K” fare should earn about $5,617 MQD.
That’s a 3.95X return of your $1421.65 investment!
Plus, the Unofficial SkyMiles Calculator projects you’ll earn 28,336 MQM and 28,336 redeemable SkyMiles (before any applicable Medallion bonuses).
So, you can basically earn Silver Medallion elite status on this trip alone. Or jump most Medallions tiers.
There are, of course, the costs of lodging, meals, ground transportation, etc., to factor in. (Look, I’m basically an enabler here if you want an excuse to visit South Africa 🙂 . )
Notice there’s an overnight required in London. If you want a good airport hotel option, I recommend the Holiday Inn Express at Heathrow (read my review). I’ve stayed there twice and really like it. There’s also a Hilton a few more steps away.
Want to enjoy the touristy stuff in London? I’ve been to London “city” a few times; it’s about a 45-60 minute Tube ride to central-ish London on the Picadilly Line, depending on when you ride and where you stop.
So, if you want to surprise a fellow travel lover with a great trip as a holiday gift, here you go. (Then get yourself a travel rewards credit card or hotel credit card to earn some points — those can help pay for your lodging in South Africa and/or London!)
As of right now, I see only four available dates in early 2023:
- January 26
- March 7
- March 14
- March 16
I wouldn’t wait around to book it. Airlines sometimes hike prices when we blast out good deals. Not only that, but word spreads quickly, people book the inventory, and then the fare availability tanks.
If you have trouble finding the trip, get in touch with point.me. I checked with Miles Jackson (one of their Mileage Run department folks) and he confirmed they’re able to book this run. He, too, thinks this this fare will probably be gone soon. (I think he’s working all night, too. Don’t be afraid to bug him. Tell him Chris sent you. Heh heh.)
Nervous about booking the right itinerary and making sure you get the correct credit? Don’t stress! You’re not the only one.
Our friends at point.me are mileage run masters and can do all that work for you. Plus, they’ll monitor your itinerary for any flight changes, help arrange your hotels, and all that fun stuff. I’ve known one of their expert travel agents for several years. I trust him and everyone at point.me to take care of our readers.
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- Need to learn how to find a run? See THIS Rookie post for a how-to guide!
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There is a faster way into the city. There is the Heathrow Express. Takes 15 minutes. It’s a more expensive the than tube, but nonstop and runs every 15 minutes. It’s a great option if you are feeling overwhelmed with taking the “tube’.
Please, please Delta don’t take away the MQD on partners at 40% of distance flown. It’s one of the last good things about Delta.
Please, please don’t give them ideas (says the blogger 😉 )
Wow that’s a great run.
I did Shanghai pre covid from FLL on Delta metal premium economy. Fll-lga-DTW-shanghai and reversed it. Domestic 1st class with premium economy for the long haul. It was about 1100 round trip on AmEX travel site and I used amex points from my Plat amex to pay and got back either 35 or 40 percent of the points back. Spent 72 hours in Shanghai. Great 4 day weekend when you figure flying time and time there.
Thanks, Gregg. And that’s a great deal but factor in the rebate? Holy smokes! That’s a big reason I hold the Amex Business Platinum Card.
I did this run in November of 2019 but to Johannesburg not cape town in VA premium economy. All of the flights were over night so I didn’t need a hotel. Flights were great and seats weren’t bad at all. Would be a fun one to do. Keep ‘em coming!!!
Is it upgradeable to Business class using Delta Global upgrade certificate?
Hi Chris, I live in the UK and am an avid miles & points collector, I found your site while looking for something else and have been reading your articles with great interest, I wish there was more on our side of the pond with regards points-runs and information about them, we’re a little lacking compared to you guys.
One thing I wanted to point out, in the photograph of the Giraffe in this article, it names the Wildlife Reserve as Entabeni, and states it is 20 minutes from Cape Town, you’d need a time-machine to get there in 20 mins from Cape Town…..it’s over 1,000 miles by road, in fact it’s North of Johannesburg by about 3 hours even……just wanted to point that out so your readers are not misled.
Thanks for the articles, and all the hard work, please keep them coming. Best regards, Ivor