• SAA's Voyager programme is slowly coming back to life more than one year after they summarily suspended the redemption of all miles.
  • As of 6 September 2021, Voyager says you can redeem miles - but only for flights taking off later this month.
  • Voyager has also extended Mile validity and tier status periods.
  • And those brave enough to book and fly on SAA in its first month back in the skies will receive double miles as an added incentive.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

After more than 16 months of SAA Voyager Miles being worthless, members can start cashing in on some rewards within the programme. Although some non-air rewards remain frozen, it will soon be possible to redeem miles for certain flight-specific benefits.

This development comes after an announcement in May last year that SAA Voyager was freezing all Mile redemptions - including those for Uber vouchers, car rentals, and other non-flight related rewards.

This ban, the company said at the time, was to stop people from using their miles for non-air rewards and crippling the programme. Due to the Covid-19 travel ban and subsequent grounding of all South African Airways flights, Voyager members flooded the system to cash in on non-air rewards.

"This unexpected demand has made it difficult for us to sustain the operations of Voyager with limited availability for all members to redeem their Miles and restricted resources for fulfilment," SAA Voyager said in a statement at the time.

Members could still earn rewards through other non-flight purchases on Voyager-affiliated credit cards, and the ban initially was only meant to last until July last year. But updates that followed extended this ban, and mile validity, effectively rendering Voyager miles worthless until such a time as Voyager decided to reopen their programme.

With South African Airways returning to the skies this month, albeit slowly, the reward programme announced that it would once again be possible to put points earned over previous years towards new bookings.

From Monday, 6 September, Voyager members can use their miles to book new tickets - but only for SAA operated flights from 23 September onwards. 

The rewards programme did not mention which, if any, non-air rewards would be open for redemption - but its website confirmed that the popular Uber partnership - launched in March 2019 and which allowed the conversion of Voyager Miles into Uber vouchers - is still unavailable.

At the same time, SAA Voyager has included two new incentives that they hope will mean members to remain loyal to the programme. 

As a "heartfelt thank you" for the suspension, Voyager is extending the expiration date of miles. Those that were due to expire on 31 March 2022 are now valid until 31 March 2023. 

And for those brave enough to book an SAA flight during its first month of operation in over one year, Voyager is offering double miles for all SAA flights between 23 September and 22 October 2021.

Voyager also has extended tier statuses, which determine how great a reward you are entitled to, until 31 December 2022.

"This has been a long period of uncertainty for our most loyal supporters and providing an extended period to cash-in your Voyager miles is the least we can do to say thank you," Voyager said in a statement.

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