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Image of a woman in an aeroplane with images of kulula, SAA Voyager and British Airways credit cards for an article on the moneysmart community comparing frequent flyer programmes offered by these credit cards

Earn Frequent Flyer Miles: Kulula vs SAA Voyager vs BA Credit Cards

10/01/2013 • • by
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Anyone who has ever had to pay for a flight, whether domestic or international, will certainly know that air travel doesn't come  cheap. There are several ways in which people try to finance their flights. One of the most popular methods is using frequent flyer miles accumulated every time a specific credit card is used. In South Africa, there are three main credit cards on offer which can be used to accumulate frequent flyer miles that can be traded in for flights. The airlines that offer a rewards programme and frequent flyer miles are Kulula, SAA and British Airways. With several choices, the logical question would be; which credit card offers the best value for money? In the table below, we've compared the offerings from these three major airlines . PLEASE NOTE: To qualify for all of these programmes one must be a South African citizen and at least 18 years old.
Image of Kulula credit card for an article on the moneysmart community comparing credit card rewards programmes from airlines in South Africa Image of British Airways credit card for an article on the moneysmart community comparing the credit card rewards programmes from airlines in South Africa Image of SAA Gold credit card for an article on the moneysmart community comparing the credit card rewards programmes from airlines in South Africa Image of SAA Platinum credit card for an article on the moneysmart community comparing the credit card rewards programmes from airlines in South Africa
Airline Kulula  British Airways  SAA (Gold Card)  SAA (Premium Card)
Bank FNB Standard Bank Nedbank Nedbank
Minimum Salary (p.a) R80 000 R96 000 R120 000 R300 000
Annual Card Fee R390 R270 R585 R1740
Annual Loyalty Link Fee

-

R270

-

-

Spend per mile R40 * R8.50 R6.50 R6.00
Return flight CPT - LHR (miles)

-

50 000 (+ taxes ±R2000) 58 500 (+ taxes ±R2650) 58 500 (+ taxes ±R2650)
Return flight CPT – JHB (miles) 1855 (taxes incl)** 15 000 (+ taxes ±R725) 19 000 (+ taxes ±R625) 19 000 (+ taxes ±R625)
No. months for international flight***

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43 (Total fees R2160) 39 (Total Fees R2200) 36 (Total Fees R4950)
No. months for domestic flight*** 8 (Total Fees R390) 13 (Total Fees R1080) 13 (Total Fees R1100) 12 (Total Fees R1650)
Miles validity 6 months No expiry 36 months 36 months
Additional Comments:
For domestic flight rewards, Kulula is definitely the best option. Although each ‘mile’ is more expensive, they are worth more (R1 each). The only problem is the 6 month validity, you have to fly quite regularly to use your miles within the time. For international flight rewards, British Airways and SAA have quite similar offerings. BA takes a bit longer to earn the required miles, but then their taxes are cheaper. SAA has a 36 month validity period which could make it difficult to earn enough miles for an international flight before they start to expire. So overall, BA is probably the better of the two options at this spending level (R10 000 per month). See my previous article on the SAA Voyager programme for more details on that specific credit card offering.

* Assuming R10k spend/m Kulula moolah is earned as a % of spend, according to the following table: R1 - R5000 = 3% back in kulula moolah R5001 - R10000 = 2% back in Kulula moolah R10001 - R20000 = 1% back in kulula moolah
** This is the based on the cheapest flight at the time of writing, booked one month in advance. *** at R10k spend p/m PLEASE NOTE: this comparison is not intended to serve as a definitive or complete guide to choosing the right credit card for you. Please consult with a bank representative to discuss the most suitable card for you. The above figures were collected from the respective companies’ websites and were accurate at the time of publishing this article.

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