Recently, I’ve seen quite a few people writing about dirt cheap fares starting in Maputo, Mozambique. Ben at onemileatatime wrote about some first class Emirates fares to Los Angeles and there’s been a bit of a discussion about the oneworld fares departing MPM on Flyertalk. On the back of seeing all of the talk about this new cheap departure point, I’ve taken it upon myself to give it a go and see what all the fuss is about.
oneworld Round The World Pricing
oneworld offer two different formats for their round the world itineraries. oneworld Explorer tickets are priced based on how many continents are visited and Global Explorer tickets are mileage based. Both formats have different pricing levels that increase as the number of continents or total mileage increases.
As a point for comparison here are the prices for some of the oneworld round the world fares departing Sydney:
- Economy class 29,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$3899
- Economy class 34,000 miles / 5 continent – AU$4499
- Economy class 39,000 miles / 6 continent – AU$5199
- Business class 34,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$11999
- Business class 5 continent – AU$13299
- Business class 6 continent – AU$14799
- First class 34,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$17399
- First class 5 continent – AU$18899
- First class 6 continent – AU$20699
Compare that to the same fares when the trip starts in Maputo:
- Economy class 29,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$1492
- Economy class 34,000 miles / 5 continent – AU$1710
- Economy class 39,000 miles / 6 continent – AU$2012
- Business class 34,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$3285
- Business class 5 continent – AU$3744
- Business class 6 continent – AU$4553
- First class 34,000 miles / 4 continent – AU$5353
- First class 5 continent – AU$6162
- First class 6 continent – AU$7386
Keep in mind that these are the base fares and don’t include taxes and surcharges, which vary significantly depending on the route taken, airlines used and also which airline’s ticket stock is used. The taxes will generally be between about AU$1400 and AU$2000, so not to be sniffed at but when combined with the ridiculous base fare levels, totally manageable.
As an example of what you could do with the 4 continent fare departing Maputo, you could fly Maputo to London via Doha with Qatar Airways, then on to Bermuda with British Airways, then to New York, on to Miami, Cancun and Honolulu with American Airlines, Sydney with Qantas and then back to Maputo with Qatar (this time the stop in Doha would need to be less than 24 hours and thus only be considered a transit). All in business class for under AU$5000. I’ll leave it to your imagination where I would probably just stop catching my flights and drop the rest of the sectors.
To be frank, the above example itinerary barely scratches the surface of what’s possible with these fares. If you wanted to give it an absolute flogging, you could go to a 6 continent ticket and visit South America on the way to the USA and Asia on the way from there to Australia. One thing to keep in mind is that Qatar Airways are the only oneworld carrier that services Maputo, so they need to be used both out of and into Mozambique.
The Tricky Part
Beyond the obvious hurdle of getting to Maputo to start an itinerary based on these fares, there is one little extra obstacle that needs to be acknowledged. It’s a tricky one. Whenever a travel agent, including an online travel agency, is issuing a oneworld RTW ticket that departs from a country other than the one in which they are based, they need to compare the fare level for the actual departure point against the equivalent fare departing from their “home” city and use the higher of the two fares. This means that there is no way for an Australian based travel agent to issue these tickets at the level based on a Mozambique origin, even if the itinerary begins there.
The obvious way to get around this would be to find a travel agency based in Mozambique, online or otherwise, and issue the ticket through them. Being Mozambique, as opposed to say, the UK or Hong Kong, this is not such a simple problem to overcome. However! Apparently, and I can’t promise this will work as it’s purely based on rumours and Flyertalk gossip, the Qantas office in Sydney are willing and able to issue these tickets based on the ex-Maputo level! If this is true, and it’s amazing if it is, the ticket would need to be on Qantas stock, which isn’t problematic apart from meaning taxes will be a little higher than if you had the same itinerary issued on Qatar Airways’ ticket stock.
Positioning to Mozambique
The elephant in the room. You of course have the option of just buying a normal one way ticket or using points to position for the oneworld itinerary. If you are under 26 or a full time student however, there are some really attractive economy one way tickets available through student travel agencies with Qatar Airways, South African Airways or Etihad, depending on the particular travel agency you go to. For one way tickets to Africa, these can represent amazing savings if you’re eligible. Apart from that, I’ve got nothing.