I’ve had a number of people ask me about some of the more nitty-gritty details of my trip, most specifically, how did i manage to snag a business class RTW ticket?
Well it’s easy. Credit card points, lots and lots of credit card points!
Those that know me, know that I have been pretty serious about maximizing my point earning abilities on my credit cards, and I’m a regular reader of The Points Guy and many other similar blogs.
I didn’t truly get serious about this until a couple of years ago, but since then I’ve done a pretty good job in building up the points, and ultimately they are going to go to good use on this trip.
I ended up purchasing my Business Class RTW ticket via United, and their vast Star Alliance network. United happens to be a transfer partner for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which is my workhorse when it comes to earning points, in combination with the Chase Freedom card.
All in all I spent 260,000 points a business class ticket and roughly $350 in taxes in fees. With that I get the following:
(March 2014 Edit: United recently devalued their point redemption offers, and these tickets are now 350,000 points for business class, so it looks like I made the right move in booking it when I did!)
6 Segments (flights) and 1 overland transfer, with the ability to visit each section of the world once.
The overland transfer allowed me to get from one area to another one my own. Typically you have to arrive and depart from the same airport with only 6 flights to work with, so I had to use this wisely! My overland transfer ended up being Ho Chi Minh City to Singapore.
This made me impart a hub and spoke strategy to explore certain areas, and i tried to find direct flights when possible (SE Asia, Australia, Europe).
- Tokyo>Ho Chi Minh
- Overland HCM to Singapore
If I had purchased this same business class RTW ticket it would have been a little different, and much more expensive. I believe you get 16 flights/overland transfers, but that’s also $10,000+. Additionally, the miles that you fly apply to your frequent flyer account if you buy the ticket with cash, the redeemed miles unfortunately do not accrue. That’d be roughly 35,000 miles which is enough for a one way flight to Europe. Check out this helpful blog post that was a life saver for me before I booked my flight!
I also used 30,000 Amex Membership Reward points and $70 to fly from Perth to Melbourne. That’s roughly a $400 flight, so it was worth it to me, knowing that OZ was going to be expensive enough as is.