I afresh appointed a round-trip set of flights from Minneapolis to Shanghai in business class.
I bare to arch aback to China to resume teaching English afterwards the end of the photo division in Minneapolis, area I was cutting portraits and bells photos. I had one anniversary chargeless with which to biking amid the two cities, so I planned the craziest round-the-world hop.
I appointed the set of flights application US Airways miles. My route, from Minneapolis – Chicago – Frankfurt – Istanbul – Bangkok – Seoul – Shanghai – Zurich – Munich – Chicago – Minneapolis, included my way home for Christmas during my three-week break.
Here is what my flight aisle to Shanghai looked like:
The bulk of the cruise was 90,000 US Airways miles.
In June, I opened my US Airways Master Card, which gave me 30,000 afar afterwards my aboriginal purchase. In August, US Airways had a auction of common flier miles: buy up to 50,000 afar and get the aforementioned bulk for free. As it costs 90,000 afar to biking amid North America and North Asia in business class, I purchased 30,000 US Airways afar for $1,200 and got the final 30,000 afar for “free.”
US Airways is a allotment of Star Alliance, so with those afar I was able to book biking on any of the company’s airline partners. (In fact, admitting booking with US Airways, none of my flights were on that carrier.) US Airways is altered as its awards are appointed afterwards a computer to acquaint the booking abettor whether or not the accolade flight campaign over too abounding afar or segments.
For example, US Airways accolade tickets are declared to accept eight flight segments or less. I was able to book my 10-segment accolade afterwards talking to a few altered booking agents. US Airways additionally is altered because it allows you to accept an absolute cardinal of layovers that are 24 hours or less, and one abode — of any time breadth — in a burghal in the aforementioned arena of your destination. My arena was North Asia, so I acclimated my chargeless abode in Seoul.
To get my 24-hour stopovers, I artlessly had to chase the accolade availabilities on Star Alliance partners. I acclimated United.com to chase for accolade availability, articulation by segment, starting with the hardest first. I fabricated a spreadsheet and a Google map to agenda accessible flights and allotment them calm like a jigsaw puzzle.
Eventually, I concluded up with this itinerary:
Minneapolis to Chicago on United (15-hour layover in Chicago)
Chicago to Frankfurt on Lufthansa (24-hour layover in Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Istanbul on Lufthansa (8-hour layover in Istanbul)
Istanbul to Bangkok on Turkish Airways (20-hour layover in Bangkok)
Bangkok to Seoul on THAI (Three-day abode in Seoul)
Seoul to Shanghai on Asiana (My final destination)
Shanghai to Zurich on Swiss (24-hour layover in Zurich)
Zurich to Munich on Swiss (24-hour layover in Munich)
Munich to Chicago on Lufthansa (12-hour layover in Chicago)
Chicago to Minneapolis on United (Home for two weeks over Christmas)
My final beat looked like this:
In my spreadsheet, I fabricated a agenda of every flight number, airline and abandonment time. I alleged US Airways to book the accolade and fed the abettor anniversary flight segment. I was able to put the flights on authority for three days.
Once I was assertive I capital to biking on these dates, I alleged aback to book the reward. I had to adhere up and alarm afresh several times afore I begin a booking abettor who was able to book the tickets for me. The final admission bulk 90,000 afar additional $140 in taxes.
The absolute bulk of the flights was $1,340, including $1,200 to acquirement 30,000 afar and $140 in taxes on the accolade booking. That is a appropriate amount in abridgement amid Minneapolis and Shanghai, and a abundant amount to fly about the apple in business class. According to my quick chase on Kayak, it would accept bulk about amid $5,000 in banknote to fly amid Minneapolis and Shanghai business chic on my dates, and $19,000 to book the cruise about the world.
The absolute flights were incredible. I acquainted a bit strange, as I didn’t absolutely charge the acquaintance of aerial business class. But it was absolutely absurd to accept collapsed beds up in the sky and eat gourmet multi-course commons on anniversary flight. I absolutely acknowledge that I was able to fly in such mega-luxury.
More so, it was absolutely admirable to accept the adeptness to hop about the apple for one week. I ate wild-roast sausage in the rain in Frankfurt, attempted to alone allege German for 24-hours beeline (with alloyed success) and accursed a BB gun at a airship over the Sea of Marmara in Istanbul (my aboriginal time battlefront any gun, ever). I partied the accomplished night continued with hostel-mates in Bangkok, again had a Thai beating (hangover cure?). I ate Bi Bim Bap in Seoul, and toured tunnels dug by North Koreans beneath the Demilitarized Zone.
Needless to say, I am absolutely attractive advanced to the additional bisected of this accolade back I’ll acquaintance Switzerland for the aboriginal time and see the Christmas markets in Munich.
Most of my ability I gleaned on how to book this accolade admission came from the biking blog Milevalue. It’s a biking blog run by a 26-year-old guy who writes easy-to-read blog posts on how to acquisition and book ever complicated accolade flights.
Travel for me is about abandon — the abandon to be and analyze new places, to accommodated new bodies and allotment ideas. Traveling doesn’t charge to be as big-ticket or unattainable as it appears. You aloof accept put in a little leg work.
This column originally appeared on Alissa Haupt’s claimed blog. Follow her on Facebook as she campaign the world.
Image: Alissa Haupt
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