6/4/12

Just Arrived


What a week! For 9 days, I was hopscotching between countries and cities and airports. No, I didn't join the Amazing Race. I was simply on a race with myself. For ages, I've been dreaming of doing a round-the-world trip. But since I don't have the time and money for a long journey (like 1-2 years), I was happy enough to do a mini-version. One that still allowed me to circumnavigate the globe.

Thanks to a fantastic deal I found out through Flyertalk, my aspirational trip became possible. This involve mostly free airfare and accommodation. Back in December last year, Air Canada's frequent flier program Aeroplan had an unbelievable promo. For 75,000 miles, one can redeem a free business class ticket to Asia (i.e. Bangkok, Beijing, Singapore excluding Manila), normally the same amount needed for an economy class ticket.

Choosing between business class and cattle class was a no-brainer for me. The only thing was that the 'promo' was meant to be short-lived. So I had to act quickly. I immediately transferred 75,000 American Express Membership Rewards Points to my dormant Aeroplan account at a 1:1 transfer ratio.

Since Aeroplan is a member of Star Alliance, a network of 25 airlines all over the world, I had the option of booking with different member airlines as long as there were award seats available. I spent nearly a whole weekend piecing an itinerary using Aeroplan's booking engine. As an aviation buff, I wanted to maximize utilization and fly on as many segments as possible. In the end, I came up with something that I was pleased with, all in business class:
Lufthansa (A380) - New York-Frankfurt
Lufthansa (A321)
- Frankfurt-Athens
Turkish Airlines  (A321) - Athens-Istanbul
Turkish Airlines (A330) - Istanbul-Singapore
Singapore Airlines (A330) - Singapore-Seoul
Asiana Boeing (777) - Seoul-New York
The above itinerary normally cost $12,000++. My total cost was $451 - for taxes and fuel surcharges.

I also tagged revenue air tickets while in Greece, flying into Santorini on Olympic Airways A320 and returning on Aegean Airlines A320. Both flights came out to about the same price as the more time-consuming ferry ride: about 100 Euros total.

For accommodations, I also used points. There were no taxes. I booked a free room at the Crowne Plaza in Athens, at the newly-renovated Marriott Hotel in Singapore and at the Millenium Hotel in Seoul. I paid separately for a room at the Oia Mare Villas in Santorini.

Now that I'm safely back, I can say I'm very happy having been able to do things I really wanted to do.  This may not sound like a typical trip but let me tell you, this was not just about destinations. This was about the journey as well. As I always believe, the best use of miles & points is one that truly makes you happy.

19 comments:

  1. Wow! Sobrang galeng! Saludo ako sa iyo. :)

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    1. salamat Rizalenio. Buti na lang at walang aberya sa byahe :)

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  2. i wish we can have those amazing promos you got..i'd be following your itinerary, for sure :D

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    1. Most of these deals unfortunately are only in the US :(

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  3. Ang galing mo talaga maka-score ng ganyang mga promos! :D

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    1. If not for Flyertalk, di ko malalaman ang ganitong mga promo.

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  4. What an itinerary! Did you come back from this trip exhausted or exhiralated?

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    1. This was really fun for me. What made this global sprint less arduous was the fact that I was flying business class and staying at more comfortable hotels.

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  5. I heard about people doing this on 60 minutes I think. Is this also to earn more points to be used later?

    Did you manage to see the cities you visited at all?

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    1. No, this wasn't mileage run. I basically redeemed what I already have in my account.
      Oh yes, I saw plenty, in fact managed to burn calories walking around a lot!

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  6. ohmy! sounds ardous but more likely a fun round the world sprint! I love your blog sir! Kudos to you!

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    1. this is something like a trip not for the faint of heart hahaha!

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  7. YOU'RE THE MAN, DENNIS! (apparently, i needed to use all caps for that!)

    i admire your resourcefulness and creativity in traveling, more so your blog posts have been inspiring not only to travel and see and experience the globe someday but to live life with passion.

    now, you obviously know that i'm one of those excited to read your series in this world trip, so bring it on!

    ps : i miss your old header. i like it better. but congratulations for having ads now! some more moolah to add to your travel fund which i don't think you need it anyway. :)

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    1. Thanks for the feedback on the header Doc - I appreciate it, I really do. I'm still working on the right header, I thought the old one was too cluttered.

      This was a trip that I really wanted to undertake not only for the destinations but to experience some of the world's best airlines and their premium classes. If not for the fact that it was free, this wouldn't be possible.

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  8. Denis, you're insane!!! Certifiably insane!!! But love it!

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    1. hahaha! I do admit the craziness of the idea but in the end it worked!

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  9. Anonymous1:46:00 AM

    Wow. your travels are so inspiring. Just finished the Alaska entries and I just wanna daydream after that. Haha. Which reminds me...I should get back to work so I could save for the travel plans.

    And yeah, you write and take photos well. -James

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    1. hey James thanks! You'll get to your dream destination hopefully. I do wish I could go back to Alaska again :)

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  10. Wow! now, I'm jealous. I hope I can also do that. I read all your posts for this trip and I must say, you're very organized. Very inspiring post. I hope I can also do that kahit 5-6 countries at a time. :)

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