Because you can use any type of Star Alliance miles to book any Star Alliance flight, I’ve put the eight best Star Alliance award charts into one spreadsheet. Check out why I chose these eight award charts and how Americans can get these miles here. Check out the cheapest awards within the mainland USA, to Canada, to Hawaii, and to Alaska and the cheapest awards to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Today let’s look at the cheapest Star Alliance Awards to Africa and the Middle East.

Remember, the spread sheets in this post only capture one part of an award: its mileage price. The routing rules and fuel surcharges matter too. Where relevant, I will note those as we go through the regions, but here are a two big things that apply to all charts:

  • United, Copa, and LifeMiles never collect fuel surcharges. All the others collect fuel surcharges on most awards.
  • All programs allow one way redemptions for the prices listed on the charts except ANA. It only allows roundtrip redemptions for double the price on the chart. I used its fictitious “one way price” that you can’t actually book just to more easily compare to the programs that do allow one way bookings.

Cheapest Awards to the Middle East

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to the Middle East, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.28.47 AM

Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • All the miles except Lufthansa allow transit in Europe for the same price as direct flights to the Middle East. Transiting Europe would trigger a more expensive “3 regions” award on the Lufthansa chart.
  • LifeMiles blocks Lufthansa First Class awards.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, Egyptair, South African, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA and Singapore have by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges. You can eliminate those by flying United to the Middle East. United’s destinations are Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Tel Aviv. You can greatly lower fuel surcharges by flying United to Europe and connecting there to a different partner to the Middle East.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. You can pay 80,000 miles one way in Business Class or 70,000 if you fly United Business Class to Europe and connect to a partner in economy to the Middle East.

Cheapest Awards to Africa

For awards starting in the mainland United States and flying to Africa, these are the prices:

Screen Shot 2015-09-10 at 4.29.08 AM

 

Let me explain a few things:

  • United has two award charts. The cheaper one for flying United (or mostly United if you follow these rules) and the more expensive one is to fly its partners.
  • Singapore, LifeMiles, Aeroplan, and Lufthansa divide Africa into North and South. Consult their charts for the exact region definitions.
  • LifeMiles blocks Lufthansa First Class awards.
Fuel Surcharges

United, Copa, and LifeMiles don’t collect fuel surcharges on award tickets.

Asiana, ANA, and Singapore don’t collect fuel surcharges on awards on United-operated flights. They do collect fuel surcharges on all other flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Lufthansa collects fuel surcharges on all flights that have fuel surcharges as part of a normal cash ticket.

Aeroplan collects fuel surcharges on Air Canada, Lufthansa, Austrian, TAP, and LOT flights. Aeroplan does not collect fuel surcharges on Air New Zealand, Brussels, Ethiopian, SAS, Singapore, Swiss, Turkish, Egyptair, South African, and United flights.

You can figure out the fuel surcharges by calling the airline whose miles you want to use or just looking on ITA Matrix. Take fuel surcharges into account when determining which miles to use.

Best Deals

ANA and Singapore have by far the cheapest awards (remember that ANA awards must be roundtrip), but you will pay fuel surcharges. You can eliminate those by flying United to Africa, but its only destination is Lagos. You can lower fuel surcharges by flying United to Europe and connecting there to a different partner to Africa.

If you want to completely avoid fuel surcharges, book with United miles. You can pay 80,000 miles one way in Business Class or 70,000 if you fly United Business Class to Europe and connect to a partner in economy to Africa.

Searching and Booking the Awards

A truism of miles is that–with few exceptions–award space is equally available to all partners. One corollary is that you can search any award search engine that displays an airline’s award space, and if space is there, you can book it with any partner.

All Star Alliance partner award space is searchable on aeroplan.com. Here’s how to search for award space on aeroplan.com. All the award space you find there is bookable with all the miles discussed in this post. Ignore the price quoted on aeroplan.com. You will pay the price on the award chart of the miles you’re using.

To book, call the airline whose miles you’re using (or go to their website to book online if you can.) Feed the agent the award space you found on aeroplan.com.

Getting the Miles

ANA miles, Singapore miles, and United miles are the best to Europe.

ANA miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of SPG Starpoints (or 20k Starpoints to 25k ANA miles), and a 1:1 transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards.

Singapore miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and Starpoints.

United miles can be earned on the personal, business, and Club cards from Chase. United is also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Bottom Line

There are better options to fly Star Alliance flights to Africa and the Middle East than using United miles.

Singapore and ANA offer really cheap award charts that are all the more attractive if you can avoid or reduce fuel surcharges. Otherwise, United’s chart to the region is fair, and there are no fuel surcharges on any United awards.

For the most part, all Star Alliance partners have access to the same award space on all airlines. There are differences in routing rules and fuel surcharges, so pay attention to more than just the mileage price when deciding which miles to use to book your award.

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