How Brad is flying around the world for 112,000 airline miles and just £173!

HFP reader Brad dropped me an email with details of a round-the-world itinerary that he has just booked.  It is, I have to say, very well put together and takes advantage of a number of ‘sweet spot’ redemptions.  I thought it was worth sharing.

This is what Brad is doing:

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 21.21.34

He is covering 27,717 miles in total!  This is how it was booked:

Berlin – Abu Dhabi

12,500 Avios + £31 taxes (airberlin)

Dubai – Hong Kong – Tokyo

30,000 Avios + £26 taxes (Cathay Pacific)

Tokyo – Sydney – Auckland – Fiji

12,500 United Airlines miles + £29 tax (ANA, Air New Zealand)

Fiji – Samoa – Honolulu

25,000 Qantas points + £79 (Fiji Airways)

Honolulu – Kahului – Lihue

12,000 United Airlines miles + £5 (United Airlines)

Lihue – San Jose – Chicago – Manchester

20,000 American Airlines miles + £3 (Alaska, American)

This comes to a total of 112,000 airline miles plus, more importantly, just £173 of taxes and charges!  It is an ‘all economy’ itinerary of course but still excellent value.  The itinerary is deliberately a little obscure because Brad was keen to see some different cities to places he had been before.

Whilst Head for Points tends to focus on business class redemptions, it is good to show what can be done in economy if you have the time and patience to plan the best routes.

One advantage of spreading the trip across various airlines is that it would be possible to get most of the miles purely from credit card sign-ups – United offers a 12,000 miles bonus on its free UK credit card a couple of times a year, for example.  The only part of the above itinerary that would be tricky would be getting the Qantas points given their lack of UK partners – they are not a Starwood Preferred Guest or Amex partner.

Enjoy your trip Brad!

(Want to earn more Avios?  Click here to visit our home page for the latest articles on earning and spending your Avios points and click here to see how to earn more Avios from current offers and promotions.)

LAST DAY: 2,400 Avios or 2,500 Virgin miles (via 1,000 Clubcard points) when you join TopCashback for free
Bits: 3000 American Airlines miles at Ramada / Days Inn, Cathay at Gatwick, buy cheap Melia points
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  1. Nice work indeed!

  2. Nice routing there, Brad – hopefully lots of time for breaks along the way at all these places too – should be fantastic!

  3. Amazing work Brad & Rob. Very inspiring!
    Love to see more trip reports.
    And stunned by that United redemption. They have never been on my radar. Any other United route gems like this?

    • Last year I did MEX-PTY-UIO with 12,500 United miles on COPA getting 12 hours in Panama City during daytime..more than enough time to see the city and the canal. Normal one way ticket would have been around $500. This enabled me to use BA 2-4-1 voucher for MEX in First. As the plan was to see S.America and our return was from Brazil, this was a genuine saving for me in addition to seeing the Panama Canal. Also the Priority Pass gives access to the Copa Lounge at PTY (Not so great for food but there is free liquor).

    • Guatemala to the Galapagos Islands to Ecuador was 10,000 (my best ever redemption!) and Colombia to Canada was 20,000 miles.

    • You can departure from many cities from Asia and you can even go to PPT or RAR (Cook island). There is also intresting redemption between Europe and PPT one way for 40k and 120 EUR (flying blue). This has never been covered on HFP.

  4. Thanks Rob for sharing this , I hope other HFP readers can take advantage of it. In fact if someone needs help I am more than happy to help. The route between Hawaii and Europe will not longer cost 20k AA from march 2016 , it will cost instead 40k. The cost between TYO-SYD-AKL-NAN will remain the same , there are also other routes available to RAR and even PPT. Departure from either HKG,PEK,TYO,ICN and others.

    • Awesome, great story Brad. I cannot recall all the stopover rules; did you get to exploit those too? Hope you had a stash of hotel pounts to help you along the way. Have a great adventure because that’s what this is.

      • The only stopovers allowed are in Hong Kong and possibly in Samoa.

      • united airline does not allow stopover on one way tickets those are just long layovers so in fact you can not stay in SYD nor AKL for more than 9h. The same with Samoa only 7h layover is possibl.

    • Thanks Brad. I tried to get the same price for TYO-SYD-AKL-NAN which looks very cheap to me but I couldn’t. How did you do it?

      • You have to look for one way between TYO-NAN and check day by day , sometimes the whole month calendar will not show you available seat. This can be booked on united airline website

    • Mohammed says:

      Hi brad. I am planning on flying to Bangladesh next month as a stopover and then fly to Jakarta. I will return again via Dhaka then London. I wanted to know what’s the cheapest airline scheme I can do the Dhaka to Jakarta leg return? I have to fly direct from London to sylhet and the only airline is Biman airways so have to do a paid ticket. Unless they’re a partner of some airline scheme?

      • Hi
        I give you a good advice. Is Dhaka-Jakarta popular route ? The answer is no so what I do I always look on all flights departing from in this case from Dhaka and then I look if any of those airlines belongs to any airline alliance if so then I look for possible redemptions if not perhaps look for Dhaka-KUL/SIN from there you can take low cost airlines. It is important how creative you are and if comfort, time or money are more important.

  5. I hope you get some good flight socks! :

  6. Sandgrounder says:

    OT: Anyone who is sitiing on some Amex MR pojnts and wants a low tax redemption the the US should be aware SAS have a sale at the moment. The stand out fares are 36k return in economy to IAD and ORD. This priced with only £127 in tax from LHR when I checked earlier. Book by the 20th, travel until the end of April.

    Well done Brad and sorry for hijacking your thread, although hopefully it may help someone else do the same!

  7. Discount Mike says:

    Wow, I had no idea United had such insane redemption options. Am I missing something? Are United miles worth 3x avios?

    • Not necessarily, it’s just they have a region-based redemption system (rather than distance-based for Avios), so can be disproportionately good value. Conversely for short trips (e.g intra-EU/US/AU) they can represent quite bad value when Avios can be excellent value.

    • Asia to Oceania is the sweet spot with UA. You can fly HKG to AKL in first class for only 40k miles for example, although you usually have to route through Australia to find availability.

      Because UA lump all the Pacific islands together in one zone, Japan to Fiji is insanely cheap. This is really priced with Guam in mind, but why fly 4 hours to Guam when you can fly down to NZ and onwards to NAN for the same price!

    • You can (or at least could!!) also do island hopping in Hawaii for 5k AAdvantage points per person, each way (+ £3’ish IIRC)

      Did this on KOA – HNL last year on Hawaii Airlines (it was either that, or pay them £150)

      • …just realised you guys were all referencing the Tokyo – Fiji route! haha – sorry 🙂

  8. Go Brad. Impressive trip, have fun ✈️✈️

  9. Good work, how long did it take to put together?

    • I have collected all miles from credit cards sign up bonuses except qantas miles (though qantas is a partner with le club 1:1). I took me less than 6months to do it. This can be done even cheaper using avios to fly to TYO from HEL and from LHR to HEL

  10. Very inspiring brad. Are the stopovers for more than 24 hours or less in TOKYO-FIJI and FIJI-HNL?
    Also was availability an issue for any particular segment? Have a great time and kudos once again for your research and patience putting all this together.

    • Surprisingly availability between TYO-NAN was very good in fact you can start your journey in different cities even ICN or BKK for the same cost. NAN-HNL availability was also very good. Since they are to separate reservation you can stay on Fiji for as long as you want…though flight between NAN-HNL via Samoa is only available once a week other available flights are direct from NAN-HNL , but I wanted to have short (7h stopover) on Samoa.

  11. yet a fare from BHD to AMS would cost me c £275 and BA have the cheek to offer £100 off for 15,000 Avios…where’s the equity?

    • Put me out of my misery and explain why you’d pay the extra to fly in business when it’s such a short journey? 😉

      There’s no real concept of equity here, more like: different airlines, different strategies in terms of load factor & reward schemes, different values obtained for points, different ‘ease’/ cost of obtaining those points. You can certainly compare all that one against the other.

      Which is why the United fare looks so good.

      • Agreed entirely
        If you don’t like it don’t buy it

        • I can choose wherever I want to fly at what price, but surely if BA/Avios operate a points exchange system shouldn’t there be some comparative value between the flight distances?

          Brad’s TXL-AUH cost only 12500 miles for 2901 miles…BHD-AMS is 465 miles cost in Avios 23500

          just trying to see the point

        • Not sure how BHD-AMS is 23500 Avios, BHD-LHR is 4000/4500 and LHR-AMS is 4000/4500 so it should only be 8000/9000 one-way??

      • “why you’d pay the extra to fly in business when it’s such a short journey? ”

        No..that was economy

  12. Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. I’m constantly amazed by what I don’t know when it comes to airmiles and discount travel. Every time I think I’m becoming knowledgeable, I realise I’m just a beginner.

    I thought I knew what I was doing when I took out the BA blue credit card and earned enough points for a RFS.
    Then I REALLY thought I knew what I was doing when I combined my Clubcard account with my BAEC account.
    Then I thought I was REALLY, REALLY clever when I started generating extra clubcard points through 3v etc, and joining hotel loyalty schemes to earn even more avios.
    Then I thought I was SERIOUSLY clever for booking some ex-EU cash flights.

    And then people like Brad come along and show what a real expert can do. I think I’ll just have to settle for being a beginner – I can’t imagine the organisation a trip like this requires… and that’s before you get to all the gobbledegook on tricked fares. (and I dare say that there are even levels of expertise beyond that!)

    • Yes, indeed. I would like to visit New Zealand flying business class (because that length of flight in economy would be horrible) without breaking the bank, and have been thinking that a LHR-SYD using a Lloys upgrade voucher from PE to Club, then SYD to New Zealand, would be the cheapest route. Now I’m seriously wondering what trick I am missing!

      • In the BMI Diamond Club days we did Singapore-Christchurch and Auckland-Melbourne-Singapore with Singapore Airlines / Air NZ in business class each for £670 plus a 20,000 BMI miles credit card sign-up bonus (the cash element included buying some more miles and for a part cash, part miles redemption – the taxes and fees were a very small part of it).

        I thought that was good going….

      • If you have some MR points or SPG points you could convert them to Singapore Airlines Krisflyer for the following redemption from Europe to New Zealand.

        AMS-SIN-AKL or AMS-SIN-CHC is just 68,000 Krisflyer miles in business class one-way.

        The AMS-SIN leg will also be on A350 come April 2016.

    • Thanks Joe it means a lot to me. There is no doubt Avios are not only miles available on market and it is possible to do RTW using avios it is good to have different miles in different programs. I think we need more posts like this to show people possible redemptions available using avios and other miles. I do not think it has been mentioned that for instance departures from Brasil and Philippines do not have YQ (fuel surcharges) and there are some excellent redemptions available even with airlines like SQ. I think HFP has to go a bit further and cover other programs and see possible options.People in this country know now how to collect miles but they do not know how to wisely spend them. Seriously BA and using avios for LHR-SYD , where you can use AA instead from HEL.

  13. What about Manchester to Berlin?

    Hi is ditching the last segment!!

  14. An amazing itinerary, though probably not quite as amazing as most people assumed from the description of it!

    Those are just routings and not destinations. Despite the long list there are only about 6 destinations (maybe a couple more for less than 24hrs if timings worked out). Still a decent deal anyway!

    • True ! However in this trip my aim was to see Fiji and Hawaii as I saw other places before. Thanks anyway

  15. Great idea, thanks for the tips

  16. SoloFlyer says:

    OT: apologies! But has anyone else noticed BA pushing Premium Plus Amex on checkout advertising £50 statement credit and 6,000 bonus points? Wondering if the 6,000 was in addition to the current enhanced bonus in which case very lucrative

    • Checkout from where?

      • when buying a flight (only gets offered if thinks you are UK based).

        • SoloFlyer says:

          Yeah got it from BA site! Never seen it before! Would have took them up but just cancelled my BA card 3 months ago. Will wait and hope it comes up again

        • Ah right fellers. Wouldn’t surprise me if it were INSTEAD of the 25K deal as they account for 25K points in very different ways to the likes of us. I think they might even count them as low as 0.25p.

          So 25K points = £250 to (some of) us, £62.50 to BA.

          And £50 + 6000 points = (say) £65 to BA? You get my drift?

  17. Fair play, good playing of the system…

    But why would anyone do this? You’re just travelling to an airport and a city for a tiny period – you’re not experiencing anything in the country or the culture within a rigid time frame.

    Is just so you can say you have ‘traveled around the world’? .

    • YES !
      First you do it for fun if you don’t get it perhaps you shouldn’t be here 🙂
      Second My aim is to see Fiji and Hawaii , I saw other places before and therefore no need to stay there.
      By the way if you know other way to get to Fiji and Hawaii(I can stay in this places for as long as I want) for 170GBP I am more than happy to listen you