Round the World Trip 2014: Part 1
How it Started?: When I was surfing around FlyerTalk one night, I came across a “mistake fare” post. Etihad was offering one-way flights for $995 from CMB (Colombo, Sri Lanka) to DFW (Dallas Fort Worth, TX) flying First Class/Suite Class. I booked the flight not knowing what to do for the other ends of my trip and what was around Sri Lanka. Shortly after booking it in the late evening of February 1st, I stayed up to research my options. I realized the Maldives was nearby and it was on my bucket list so I had to make it happen. It was only a 1.5 hour flight away from Sri Lanka. By the time I woke up in the morning the fare had disappeared and I saw my ticket was fully ticketed 🙂
Piecing the Itinerary Together: Looking at my mileage balances, I started to try to use my ANA miles and discovered through research that you can book one-way tickets as long as you have a return flight back to the originating country. I was able to book the following for 90,000 ANA miles + $297.91 in taxes in Business Class after days of research: JFK-YYZ (AC), YYZ-NRT (AC), HND-SIN (ANA), SIN-MLE (SQ), PVR-SFO (UA). The return flight back to the US is from Mexico to San Francisco. ANA charges based on distance flown so I maximized it by including a “free” one-way from Mexico to use for a later trip. The only issue is that I needed to get from SFO to JFK so I decided to book my favorite domestic airline Virgin America for a nonstop flight to catch the Air Canada flight to Toronto. I then needed a flight from Male, Maldives to Colombo so I decided to fly Sri Lankan Airlines by using 4,500 BA Avios points (transferred from Chase UR) and $30 in taxes. The final flight was from Dallas to SFO so again I booked Virgin America but that week they switched to DAL for their operations instead of DFW. I booked a rental car through National Car Rental to bridge my final gap for DFW to DAL. I was all set!
Preparing: This trip was by far the most difficult trip I’ve ever planned so there were many steps that needed to be coordinated to make it all work:
-Making all the connections therefore booking flights with long layovers, no worries since I had Lounge Access at all airports
-Booking hotels that would allow late checkout
-Coordinating ground transportation between all the cities and airports
-Planning activities in each destination
Summary of Trip: 27,286 Miles of Flying, 11 Flights, 8 Airlines, 5 Hotels, 3 Continents, 1 Rental Car
Stay tuned… Part 2 will feature North America flights, Part 3 will feature Asia flights, Part 4 will feature Middle East flights and Part 5 will feature my return flights from Abu Dhabi to SFO.