12 Best Ways to Earn Lots of South African Airways Voyager Miles [2021]

South African Airways Business Class A330-300

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South African Airways is an unexpectedly small airline when you consider its strategic position as the flag carrier of South Africa. Home to one of the economic powerhouses in Africa, South African Airways has been plagued by a continuous bout of mismanagement and corporate losses.

South African Airways is the state-owned, de-facto airline of South Africa, which means that its goal isn’t only to turn a profit like Southwest Airlines, for example. It plays a pivotal role in connecting the world to South Africa and creating jobs to prop up the country’s economy.

As a result, it’s done everything it can to save money besides reducing headcount, and this includes destroying much of the straightforward value of its frequent flyer program.

Nonetheless, there are always going to be numerous opportunities to maximize any frequent flyer program. Before you spend any miles, however, you’re going to have to earn them. Let’s learn about the best ways to earn lots of South African Airways Voyager miles.

Sign Up for a South African Airways Voyager Account

South African Airways Voyager
Image Credit: South African Airways

The first thing you’ll want to do is to register for a South African Airways Voyager frequent flyer account. After you create an account, you’ll be able to log in and view your account activity, along with upcoming reservations.

To register, simply visit the link above, and fill out all the information. Remember to click the button that says Activate flysaa.com Reservation Profile and Do you agree with the terms and conditions? After clicking Submit, you’ll be able to confirm and access your Voyager account.

Earn Voyager Miles With Credit Cards

Man Using Credit Card On Computer
Image Credit: rupixen.com via Unsplash

Marriott Credit Cards

The easiest way to earn South African Airways Voyager miles is to put your normal spending on the right credit cards. South African Airways only has 1 transfer partner — Marriott Bonvoy.

Marriott Bonvoy enjoys the largest list of airline transfer partners, and this covers more obscure airlines such as South African Airways, so you’re going to need to focus on earning Marriott points to accrue lots of South African Airways Voyager miles.

Marriott Bonvoy transfers at a 3:1 ratio, which means that 3 Marriott points equal 1 Voyager mile. You’ll also get a transfer bonus of 5,000 Voyager miles for every 60,000 Marriott points you transfer to Voyager. In other words, transferring 60,000 Marriott points will result in a total of 25,000 Voyager miles.

Recommended Marriott Cards

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 125,000 Bonus Points and 1 Free Night Award (value up to 50,000 points) after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Get automatic silver elite status each account anniversary year; and a free night award (valued up to 35,000 points) every year after account anniversary. Plus, earn up to 17x total Bovoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card at at over 7,000 participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, and 2x Bonvoy points per $1 on all other purchases. Annual Fee is $95.
Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card - For a limited time only, earn 60,000 Bonus Points after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Earn up to 14x total Bonvoy points per $1 when using your Marriott Bonvoy Bold card at over 7,000 participating in Marriott Bonvoy hotels, earn 2X on other travel purchases, then 1x on all other purchases. A solid card for Marriott loyalists looking for a no-annual-fee card offering Marriott Bonvoy Silver Elite status.
Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card - Earn 75,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new Card to make $3,000 in purchases within the first 3 months. Plus, earn up to $200 in Statement Credits for eligible purchases at U.S. Restaurants within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

Earn 6x per $1 at hotels participants in the Marriott Bonvoy™ program plus 3x at U.S. restaurants and flights booked directly with airlines. Annual Fee is $450. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Bonvoy Brilliant card, click here.
Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card - For a limited time, earn 125,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points & 2 bonus Free Night Awards after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in eligible purchases within the first 3 months. Each bonus Free Night Award has a redemption level up to 50K points. Certain hotels have resort fees. Offer ends 11/3/2021.

This is a solid card for business owners who will get complimentary Marriott Bonvoy silver elite status. Annual fee is $125. Terms Apply. For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business Card, click here.

Refer a Friend for Bonus Miles

American Express has one of the most generous referral bonus structures in the world. As long as you have an Amex card, you can refer a friend to earn bonus points.

For example, if you have a Membership Rewards card, your referral bonus will be in Membership Rewards points, while if you have a Marriott Bonvoy card, your referral bonus will be in Marriott points.

This means that if you want to earn more South African Airways Voyager miles, you’ll want to refer a friend using your Marriott card. Best of all, your friend doesn’t need to end up applying for the same card that you have to get a referral bonus!

They can use your referral link to apply for The Platinum Card® from American Express or the American Express® Gold Card, which are arguably 2 of the best cards on the market.

This means that as long as they use your referral link and are approved for any Amex card, you’ll get your referral bonus.

Chase also has a referral program, though it doesn’t offer referral bonuses for all of its credit cards. Remember that to refer a friend to a Chase card, you must also have the same card, which is an important distinction compared to American Express.

Non-U.S.-Based Credit Cards

There are several options for non-U.S-based cardholders to earn South African Airways Voyager miles. Specifically, these cards are administered and offered by Nedbank, a South African financial services company.

Generally speaking, you need to be a South African resident or have a valid work permit to be eligible for this card, in addition to meeting income, age, and credit requirements. Here are all the cards available for application:

South African Airways Co-Branded Credit Cards Offered by Nedbank
SAA Voyager American Express® Credit CardSAA Voyager Gold Mastercard Credit Card
SAA Voyager Gold American Express Cheque CardSAA Voyager Mastercard Credit Card
SAA Voyager Gold American Express® Credit CardSAA Voyager Premium American Express Cheque Card

You might be wondering what a cheque card is. Simply put, a cheque card is just another term for a debit card. When you swipe your cheque card, you’re using funds directly from your bank account, so there’s no creditor-lender relationship.

To learn more about the credit card offerings, click here. To learn more about the cheque card offerings, go here.

There are other options that you can explore in other countries, such as the SAA Voyager Mastercard by Ecobank in Ghana. To find out if there is a unique credit card option in your country, simply change the country of the South African Airways website to the desired nation, and visit the Credit card section.

South African Airways Voyager Different Country
To see co-branded credit card options in any country, simply change the country and then click the Credit Card button. Image Credit: South African Airways

Earn Miles Through Shopping

One of the easiest ways to earn miles is by getting more out of your ordinary spending. In the case of South African Airways, there are a few ways you can leverage normal transactions and earn Voyager miles.

South African Airways Shopping Partners

South African Airways has a few partners you can earn miles with. The partners and earning structures can be summarized as follows:

Voyager PartnerEarning StructureVoyager PartnerEarning Structure
FlySAA Duty Free
  • Earn 1 mile per R10 spent (Blue Voyager members)
  • Earn 1 mile per R7 spent (Silver Voyager members)
  • Earn 1 mile per R5 spent (Gold Voyager members)
  • Earn 1 mile per R3 spent (Platinum Voyager members)
  • Earn 1 mile per R2 spent (Lifetime Platinum Voyager members)
SpecsaversEarn 1 mile per R7,50 spent on qualifying purchases
Health SpasEarn 1 mile per R7,50 spentWine of the Month ClubEarn 1 mile per R7,50 spent on qualifying purchases

When you are transacting with any of these partners, simply provide the company with your Voyager number at the time of purchase. It may take up to 45 days for your miles to be credited.

Earn Miles Through Travel

If you find yourself flying quite often, you’ll want to credit your airline miles to get the most out of your travel.

Airfare and Airline Purchases

When you fly South African Airways flights, you’ll earn at a rate of 1 mile per R1,60 spent on the base fare, plus carrier-imposed fees (fuel surcharges). Critically, this excludes the portion of your taxes and fees from earning Voyager miles.

Also, this includes flights on Mango Airlines, which is South African Airways’ low-cost airline subsidiary.

For South African Airways- or Mango-operated flights, miles may take up to 15 days to credit to your account.

Crediting Partner Airlines to Voyager

South African Airways has tons of airline partners. While many of them are Star Alliance airlines, some of them are non-alliance airline partners, such as Virgin Australia or Emirates.

If you provide your Voyager account number when booking any partner airline flight or checking into your flight at the airport, you can accrue miles according to the fare class of your ticket.

Airline partner flights take around 14 business days after travel is finished to credit. These particular flights earn miles based on distance traveled, as opposed to how much you spend on flights.

If you’re traveling on partner flights marketed by South African Airways (codeshare), then miles should be deposited 3-5 days after travel is finished. With all that being said, you’ll want to refer to the following accrual chart to figure out how many miles you’ll earn on your flight:

AirlineCabin ClassFare ClassMileage Accrual Structure
Aegean AirlinesEconomyR, N0%
EconomyE, O, J, T, U, S, K, P50%
EconomyY, B, G, W, H, L, M, V, Q100%
BusinessA, C, D, Z125%
Air CanadaEconomyX, I0%
Economy (Domestic)S, T, L, A, K0%
Economy (Domestic)W, G50%
Economy (International)K25%
Economy (International)W, G, T, S, L, A50%
Economy (International)Y, B, M, U, H, Q, V, O, E, N100%
Economy (Intercontinental)O100%
BusinessC, D, Z, P100%
Air ChinaEconomyO, I, X, N0%
Economy (Domestic)T, L, K, P25%
Economy (Domestic)M, U75%
Economy (International)M, U50%
Economy (International)H, Q, V, W, S50%
Economy (International)E90%
Economy (Domestic)R110%
Economy (International)R125%
Economy (International)Y, B100%
BusinessC, D, Z125%
First (Domestic)J150%
Air IndiaEconomyP, S, E, N, R, O, I, X0%
EconomyW, G, L, U, T50%
EconomyY, B, M, K, H, Q, V100%
BusinessC, J, D, Z125%
FirstF, A150%
AirLinkLodge LinkLodge Link0%
EconomyT, V, L, W, G50%
EconomyY, B, M, K, H, S, Q100%
BusinessC, J, Z, D125%
Air New ZealandEconomy (Domestic)W, T, L, G, S, P, F0%
Economy (Oceania)V, W, T, L, G, S, K, P, F, N0%
Economy (International)L. G, S, K, P, F, N0%
EconomyM, H, Q, V70%
Economy (International)W, T70%
Economy (International)U, E, O, A, Y, G100%
Economy (Domestic)Y, B100%
Business (International)C, D, J, Z200%
All Nippon AirwaysEconomyR0%
EconomyL, K30%
EconomyV, W, S, T50%
EconomyU, H, Q70%
Discounted Premium EconomyN70%
EconomyY, B, M100%
Premium EconomyG, E100%
BusinessC, D, Z125%
FirstF, A150%
Asiana AirlinesEconomyT, G, O, X, L, N, I, R, P0%
EconomyV, W70%
EconomyY, B, E, H, K, M, Q, S100%
BusinessC, D, Z125%
Business SuitesA, F150%
Austrian AirlinesEconomyA, F, K, S, T, L, X, R, I0%
EconomyQ, V, W50%
EconomyY, B, M, U, H, G, E, N100%
BusinessZ, P100%
BusinessJ, C, D125%
Avianca VuelaEconomyU, I, X, N, R0%
Economy (International)W, S, U, T50%
Economy (Domestic, Central America, and intra-Colombia)W, S, U, T25%
EconomyH, M, B, Y, E, V, Q, P, O, L, G, Z100%
BusinessC, D, J, A, K125%
Brussels AirlinesEconomyT, E, L, K, X, I0%
EconomyW, S, O, Q, V50%
EconomyY, B, M, U, H100%
BusinessJ, C, D, Z125%
Copa AirlinesEconomyN, X, I0%
EconomyE, L, T, A50%
EconomyY, B, M, H, Q, K, V, U, S, O, W100%
BusinessC, D, J, R125%
Croatia AirlinesEconomyI, R, X, N, T, E, L, G, U0%
EconomyW, S, J, O P50%
EconomyY, B, A, F, M, H, K, Q, V100%
BusinessC, D, Z125%
EgyptairEconomyF, A, P, O, I, R, X, N, G, L, S, T, U, W0%
EconomyY, B, M, H100%
Business (Domestic)Z125%
Business (International)C, D, J125%
EmiratesEconomyS, D, Z, N0%
EconomyE, R, W, B, Q, K, T, X, V, G, M, U, L, H50%
BusinessC, J, O, I125%
FirstF, A, P150%
Ethiopian AirlinesEconomyX, I, N, P, W, E, O0%
EconomyH, U, Q, T25%
EconomyM, K, L, V50%
EconomyY, G, S, B75%
BusinessC, J, D, Z125%
EVA AirEconomyR, I, E, V, W, N, X, G, A, O0%
EconomyH, S, Q50%
EconomyK, L, T, P, Y, B100%
BusinessC, D, J125%
GOLEconomyG, Z, X, I, R, S, K, H, M, Q, V0%
EconomyW, P, E, A, U, N, B50%
EconomyY, T, J100%
BusinessC, L, F, D150%
JetBlueEconomyX, T, N0%
EconomyZ, O, U, S, P50%
EconomyY, E, K, H, Q, B, L, V, R, W100%
BusinessJ, C, D, I125%
LOT Polish AirlinesEconomyN, J, I, X0%
EconomyV, W, L, U, O25%
EconomyS, M, H, Q, T, G,E, K50%
EconomyA, Y, R, B100%
BusinessZ, F100%
BusinessC, D125%
LufthansaEconomyO, I, X, R, P, L, K0%
EconomyW, S, Q, V50%
EconomyY, B, M, H, G, U, E, G, N100%
BusinessC, D, J, Z125%
FirstF, A150%5
SAS (Scandinavian Airlines)EconomyR, N, O, T, I, X0%
EconomyG, K, L, U, W25%
EconomyE, H, M, Q, V100%
EconomyA, J, B, S, Y, P125%
BusinessC, D, Z125%
Shenzhen AirlinesEconomyL, K, O, I, X, N0%
EconomyH, Q, S, V, W, E, T, P50%
EconomyG, Y, B, M, U100%
BusinessD, Z, R100%
BusinessJ, C130%
Singapore AirlinesEconomyK, G, Q, V, N, O, I, X0%
EconomyM, H, W75%
EconomyY, B, E, S, T, P, R, L100%
BusinessC, D, J, Z, U125%
FirstF, A150%
Swiss International Air LinesEconomyR, N, I, O, X, T, E, L, K0%
EconomyV, Q, S, W, G50%
EconomyY, B, M, U, H, P100%
BusinessC, D, J, Z125%
FirstF, A150%
South African Airways-marketed flights on non-Star Alliance airlines (codeshares)EconomyI, X, E, U, N, R0%
EconomyL, W, G25%
EconomyH, S, Q, T, V50%
EconomyY, B, M, K100%
Business (Domestic)D100%
BusinessZ, D, P125%
BusinessC, J150%
South African ExpressEconomy (Regional)V, L, G, T50%
EconomyY, B, M, K, H, S, Q, W100%
BusinessC, J125%
TAP Air PortugalEconomyA, E, F, I, J, N, O, R, T, U, X0%
EconomyW, S, L, K, P, G50%
EconomyY, B, H, M, V, Q100%
BusinessC, D, Z150%
Thai AirwaysEconomyO, I, E, X, N, R, G, V, W, L0%
EconomyT, K, S50%
EconomyY, B, M, H, Q100%
BusinessC, D, J, Z125%
FirstF, A150%
Turkish AirlinesEconomyF, U, I, R, X, N, P, W, G0%
EconomyS, O, E, Q, T, L50%
EconomyY, B, M, A, H100%
BusinessC, Z, D, K125%
United Airlines (Basic Economy N fares don’t count towards Tier Status)EconomyF, I, X0%
EconomyS, T, L, K, G, N50%
EconomyQ, W, V75%
EconomyY, B, M, E, U, H, O, A, R100%
BusinessZ, P100%
BusinessJ, C, D125%
Virgin Atlantic (JNB-LHR-JNB excluded)EconomyG, P, A0%
EconomyU, M, E, Q, X, N, O50%
EconomyY, B, R, L100%
EconomyW, S, K, H115%
BusinessJ, C, D, I, Z125%
Virgin AustraliaEconomyP, X, Z0%
EconomyE, N, V, Q, T, U, S, M, G50%
EconomyY, B, H, K, L100%
EconomyW, R, O125%
BusinessD, I150%
BusinessJ, C200%

Let’s take an example. If you fly round-trip from New York City (JFK) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) on an ANA V class ticket, you’ll earn 50% of the total distance traveled. In this case, the flight distance is 13,490 miles each way. Therefore, you’ll earn a total of 6,745 miles on this round-trip ticket.

As always, please remember to double-check the mileage accrual rates directly with South African Airways Voyager’s earning miles policy.

Car Rental Partners

In addition to earning miles with airfare, you can earn Voyager miles with select car rental partners as follows:

Voyager PartnerAccrual Rate
Avis250-500 miles per rental
Bidvest Car Rental100-500 miles per rental
Europcar250-500 miles per rental

Hotel Partners

South African Airways Voyager has numerous hotel partnerships. It’ll take around 7-45 business days for activity to be reflected in your Voyager summary.

Furthermore, mileage credits aren’t eligible for longer than 6 months after the activity.

Voyager PartnerAccrual Rate
Best Western500 miles per stay
Hilton100-500 miles per stay or 1 mile per dollar spent
IHG Hotels & Resorts200-500 miles per stay
Marriott Bonvoy1-2 miles per dollar spent
Radisson Rewards AmericasCan only convert points at a 10:1 rate
Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts500 miles per stay


RocketMiles south african airways voyager
Image Credit: RocketMiles

If you’re looking to earn bonus miles for hotel bookings, one of the best ways to do it is to use RocketMiles, an online travel agency specializing in hotel bookings. Although the rates are often higher than the cheapest available option, it could be worth it depending on how you value your miles.

To search for hotels that’ll earn Voyager miles, simply visit the homepage, select South African Airways Voyager, and perform a search as normal. You’ll then earn bonus miles depending on which hotel you end up booking.

Miscellaneous Travel Partners

There are a couple of neat travel partners for miscellaneous travel that you can earn Voyager miles on. These are:

Voyager PartnerAccrual Rate
Cruises International0.5-1 miles per $1 spent
Total SA1 mile/liter

When you book Cruises International, you’ll earn 1 mile per $1 spent on Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises, and AmaWaterways. You’ll earn 1 mile per $2 spent on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Seadream, Azamara, and Seabourn cruises.

Total SA is the French state-owned oil company. When you fill-up your tank with petrol and diesel at Total Service Stations in South Africa, you can earn 1 Voyager mile per liter. Be sure to refer to these terms and conditions for additional information.

Specialty Earnings for South African Airways Voyager Miles

Now that we’ve covered the most mainstream ways of earning South African Airways Voyager miles, here are some of the uncommon ways you can earn Voyager miles.

Buy or Sell a House in South Africa

Seeff properties logo
Image Credit: Seeff

Seeff is a household name in Southern African real estate. Likened to RE/MAX and Sotheby’s, this established real estate company has operations in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Eswatini, and Mauritius.

It’s not immediately clear which transactions are eligible for miles accrual, but they can be credited to both sellers and buyers. Specifically, you’ll earn 1 mile per R100 through Sole Mandate sales and 1 mile per R200 on purchases. All you have to do is provide your South African Airways Voyager number when you are buying or selling through Seeff.

Other Financial Partners

The very last method to earn South African Airways Voyager miles is to use select financial partners.

Voyager PartnerAccrual Rate
Bidvest BankEarn 40 miles for every R1 000 loaded onto a World Currency Card
Diners ClubEarn 1 mile for every R12,50 charged on Platinum and 1 mile for every R8,00 charged on Prive
UCount Rewards (Standard Bank)Transfer 2 UCount Rewards points for 1 Voyager mile

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it! South African Airways’ frequent flyer program is extremely dense and difficult to decipher, due in part to the lack of a user-friendly website.

You can either look at crediting partner airline flights to Voyager or use select travel partners in order to rack up miles. Lastly, there are some niche ways to earn miles, including buying or selling houses in South Africa or using the co-branded credit cards offered by various African banks.

The information regarding the SAA Voyager American Express® Credit Card, SAA Voyager Gold American Express Cheque Card, SAA Voyager Gold American Express® Credit Card, SAA Voyager Gold Mastercard Credit Card, SAA Voyager Mastercard Credit Card, SAA Voyager Premium American Express Cheque Card,  and SAA Voyager Mastercard by Ecobank was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer. 

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card, click here.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, click here.

Frequently asked questions

How much is a Voyager mile worth?

Voyager miles can be worth anywhere from 0.5-20 cents per mile, depending on how exactly you redeem them. As a rule of thumb, premium cabin flights are going to offer the most value, as opposed to using miles for cheaper economy tickets.

Can you earn Voyager miles on Emirates?

Yes! Since South African Airways is a partner of Emirates, you can earn Voyager miles when you fly on Emirates. The exact structure is determined by Voyager, but it is summarized in the table within this guide.

How do SAA Voyager Miles work?

South African Airways has a loyalty program called Voyager. The miles you earn and redeem are called Voyager miles or South African Airways Voyager miles.

You can redeem your miles for flights, rideshare vouchers, and much more.

Do SAA Voyager miles expire?

South African Airways Voyager miles expire 3 years after the year in which they are earned (a year is calculated from April 1 to March 31). To learn how to extend the validity of these miles, please reference the terms and conditions.

What can I use my Voyager miles for?

You can use Voyager miles for award flights, flight upgrades, rideshare vouchers, simulator sessions, and much more.

Click this link to find out more.

Which credit cards earn South African Airways Voyager miles?

At the moment, the only way for U.S. cardholders to earn Voyager miles to transfer from Marriott Bonvoy at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 Marriott points transferred to Voyager.

Transfers take around 3 business days.

There are a number of co-branded credit card options, but these aren’t viable for U.S. residents, as you must live in Africa to qualify.

How do I transfer South African Airways Voyager miles to a spouse?

You can’t transfer, assign, sell, or combine any Voyager miles to any other person.

When do South African Airways Voyager miles post in your account?

The exact timing will vary, depending on the partner through which you earned miles. It can take anywhere from 3-45 business days for miles to post to your account.

Are South African Airways Voyager miles refundable?

Yes. As long as you cancel the award ticket within 30 days of issuance, you can pay an R210 (~$14) fee per ticket to cancel your award reservation and refund your miles.

Stephen Au

About Stephen Au

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Stephen has been privileged to enjoy many premium cabin products and 5-star hotels. A petroleum engineer by trade, Stephen caught the travel bug in college when he traveled to Asia several times. After 2 years of continual promotions, Stephen quit his safe and secure career path in favor of entrepreneurship.

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