Taking the Scenic Route

It was finally time to take my first trip back to the states! Although I could have simply flown a round trip across the Atlantic, I had been wanting to take another trip to Asia for a while, so I figured I would combine the two trips and visit Malaysia and Vietnam before heading back to the states for my visit.

All in all, the trip would be covering 24,866 miles, consist of fourteen flights, and have me stopping in Kuala Lumpur, Phu Quoc, and Virginia, taking me in a primarily eastbound direction the whole way.

 

The Itinerary

I’ll update each of these links as I finish all my posts in the coming weeks:

 

Miles, award bookings, and a little bit of cash,

I made five separate bookings for this round-the-world trip. Three of them with miles earned from credit cards and two of them with cash. Typically miles are best used for expensive business class long hauls and it’s best to pay with cash (the plastic kind) for shorter flights, especially when flying economy.

  1. Naples to Kuala Lumpur: 85,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Singapore Airlines and €217.86 got me a business class award ticket on Lufthansa and Thai Airways. I was originally scheduled to fly on Turkish, but a couple cancellations hampered my plans. Nonetheless, I got to experience flying the Airbus A340 for the first time. The flights totaled right around $2000, so each mile was worth approximately 2 cents. That’s right in the middle of the road when it comes to redeeming miles, so cash wouldn’t have been a terrible value either.
  2. Kuala Lumpur to Ho Chi Min: 809 MYR (around $200) for a business class ticket on Malaysia Airlines. Since the exchange rate was so good, there was no point using miles for this one.
  3. Ho Chi Min to Phu Quoc and Back: 2,826,000 VND (Around $122) for a round trip in economy on Jetstar. Typically the tickets are even cheaper, but once you add checked baggage and an assigned exit row seat, the price goes up by a few bucks. Still a good deal nonetheless though.
  4. Ho Chi Minh to Norfolk: 90,000 United MileagePlus miles and $63.61 in taxes for my flight from Vietnam to Norfolk. I needed a few more miles in my account, so I just topped off with a few thousand Chase points, which transferred in minutes. This leg of the trip came in at around $3356 if I included a long haul in ANA business class, so each mile was worth 3.7 cents in total.
  5. Norfolk to Naples: 70,000 United MileagePlus miles and $64 got me a flight across the Atlantic on Lufthansa’s 747 in business class on the upper deck. This flight came in at $7878, which no reasonable person should ever pay for. Although there were some cheaper flights in business class for around $2000, none of them included a leg on the 747. So for this redemption, each mile was worth approximately 11.2 cents, which is a fantastic value.

Overall, these award bookings and cheap cash fares made for an amazingly cheap around-the-world adventure. In total I paid only $703 to fly around the world in style.

More trip posts to come soon!

Cheers,

Matt

Route wide

The map and all the distances were done through Great Circle Mapper.

 

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