Our Round The World Trip On Mileage
For the past 3 years we’ve taken our annual December vacation in Europe. Right now you’re probably like, What? Europe in December? That’s right, Europe in December, less tourist, better rates on rooms and it is the only time of year we can take an extended period off from work. At the beginning of 2015, we felt like it was time for a change of scenery, something completely different and we were both like…dude…it is time for Asia! -thus a dream was born, a goal created and now task at hand. Once we squeezed out every second of time we could afford to be away, we ended up with a whopping 43 days to spend abroad. During a celebratory shot of whiskey we both looked at each other and at that moment, had the same crazy, wild idea….to encompass the globe during our 43 journey. It was like a RTW on crack…some said it was not doable, others said it was crazy but to us it just felt right. Now that we had ‘the plan’, we decided to take it to another level, giving ourselves the challenge to book all the flights on award travel (making our trip on mileage) and fly the best class of service possible with out having to buy a ticket out of pocket.
After hours spent navigating through the maze of Asian airline reward programs and reading about ALL the airline affiliate programs. Reality started to set in after our first phone call with customer service – this was gonna a lot more work than we had first thought! As exciting as the Customer Service experience can be, it was just the opening act for our most enjoyable event to date… we soon found that most asian airlines weren’t compatible with our safari browser and sometimes their websites would time out in the middle of bookings – making us have to start all over again. When the websites didn’t time out they would simply go down due to maintenance or just flat our reject our IP address. It was an absolute breathtaking experience, the say the least.
Flying around the globe in 43 days does take some strategic planning as well as some long discussions with the family as to why we will be leaving on Thanksgiving Day and, skipping the Holidays. Finally we were ready to start booking flights so priority #1 was to secure a flight to the Far East – lucky for us we found a perfect flight on Singapore Airlines from Los Angeles to Tokyo. Now that we had a heading, we started to connect the dots securing flights from Tokyo to Beijing, Beijing to Hong Kong and the slightly difficult award flight from Hong Kong to Bangkok. So we keep it real on here, it actually took about 3 weeks to book the flights we just mentioned, most of that time was spent waiting on miles to transfer to various award programs – the other portion of time spent pulling our hair out looking for the best reward deal. So when we finally got booked up until Bangkok…we we’re like.. where do we go in Thailand? Days pass by as we research an itinerary, and finally decided on a 4 days in Bangkok then off to for a few days in Krabi & Phuket. We will then fly from Phuket to Singapore to catch a flight to Bali for 7 days of much needed R&R. The second leg of our trip will take us back into Singapore to catch a 14 hour flight to London, where we’ll layover for a night before heading to Helsinki to spend New Years in sub terrain temps with our Finnish friends. With our livers hurting after 3 days of drinking long drink & valhalla shots, we’ll fly back into London, hungover (new year’s day, it’s a tradition). Once at Heathrow we’ll take the Heathrow Express into London’s Paddington Station and transfer over to St. Pancras and catch the 2.5 hour Eurostar train to Paris. We’ll return back to London a few days prior to our departure back to the US. The final flights will be on Virgin Atlantic into NYC and Virgin America back to Dallas.
Making your own itinerary can really save you some big bucks on travel vs using a travel agent. In the end we’ll spend around 350,000 miles + $2,000USD for taxes but we are flying business class or better. This saved us over $20,000! Here are a few examples: we got a pair of one way tickets – from Los Angeles to Tokyo, on Singapore Airlines in their Suites for only $155USD and 149,000 miles – those tickets bought outright would have been a steep $15,000 each! Another great deal we got with using mileage for air travel was a round trip from Singapore to Bali in business class for only 25,000 miles. So know you know how to get the most out of your points when you book a trip on mileage!
Check out our other posts for more information on the best reward cards, hacks, and earning mileage etc.: