Flights from San Francisco to Mauritius
Getting to Mauritius on Star Alliance is not as easy as I initially thought. First of all, there is only one Star Alliance carrier that flies to Mauritius, and that's South African Airlines, and they only fly there from Johannesburg. That means I need to get to JNB (Johannesburg) in order to get to MRU (Mauritius). Furthermore, there's only one flight per day on the JNB-MRU route that is operated by South African Airlines. If you search on Kayak for JNB-MRU, you'll see a few more every day, but upon closer inspection, you'll see that most flights are a codeshare with Air Mauritius, and because they're not on South African Airlines' planes, you can't book them as award tickets. That makes things complicated. So we've got one flight we're limited to, and if you search pretty far in advance, you'll see sporadic award inventory on this route. Sometimes there are two seats in coach, one seat in business, two seats in business, or no seats at all in any cabin.
The flight that is redeemable with Star Alliance miles leaves at 9:40AM so I had to book a ticket that would get me into Johannesburg early enough to make that connection. I won't go through every possible Star Alliance routing to get to JNB, but the one we found the most favorable for us was SFO-LAX-LHR-JNB. We have that entire route booked as a one-way business class award for 120,000 miles and $92.40 in fees (half that amount for each ticket). I booked this ticket before Mileage Plus and One Pass merged, and I used OnePass miles for the booking.
SFO-LAX is a short hop in United Domestic First Class. I could have chosen to go directly to London from San Francisco, but at the time of booking, Virgin Atlantic was still a partner with United, and I wanted the chance to fly Virgin Upper Class! They don't have an evening SFO-LHR flight. While my ticket is still good to go, Virgin Atlantic is no longer a partner with United so you can't get this one anymore.
Once we're in London, we have a little over three hours to kill at the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse before we board our South African Airlines flight from LHR to JNB. We leave London at 7PM and arrive in Johannesburg at 7AM, and then from there, we have a short layover before we go onto MRU at 9:40AM.
Now for JNB-MRU... Remember how I mentioned that award availability on this route isn't so hot? I've been snagged by that issue. There was no award availability for JNB-MRU so as of now, we don't have tickets to MRU. I'm checking daily for award inventory on that route, and I think we'll get something by the time our honeymoon comes around, but if we don't in the end, I'll just buy a couple tickets on that route. Given the overall extravagance of the honeymoon, that expense won't kill me.
There's a lot to like about this routing. It's a business class award redemption, and both of our long-haul flights are in 2-cabin planes that don't offer a differentiated first / business class. Both Virgin Atlantic and South African also offer full 180 degrees life-flat seating, which was one of our big pre-requisites for the trip. So 120,000 miles and $92.40 later, we're going to an island on the other side of the world (okay to be fair, we don't have that last leg yet), touching 3 continents along the way. Very cool.
Type of Points Used: United Mileage Plus Miles
Number of Points Used: 120,000
Total Dollars Used: $92.40