How Brad is flying around the world for 116,000 airline miles + £285 + $30

In 2015 reader Brad shared with us how he was going to fly around the world in economy for 112,000 airline miles and just £173 of taxes. One and a half years later he has decided to do a similar trip.

Since there was a lot of interest in the article we wrote on this last trip, we thought you’d be interested in this one.  Whilst we don’t spend a lot of time on Head for Points focusing on economy redemptions, they can be good value when you don’t fly BA and don’t incur heavy taxes and charges.

This is what he is doing this time:

itinery map

Manchester – Madrid
£30 Iberia (cash)

Madrid – Lima
25,000 Avios + £90 tax

Lima – Cusco
4,500 Avios + £8 tax

Cusco – Lima
4,500 Avios + £6 tax

Lima – Buenos Aires – Santiago De Chile
12,500 Delta SkyMiles + $30 tax

Santiago De Chile – Easter Island – Papeete
25,000 Avios + £32 tax

(Brad notes that this one is tricky one to get.  When you search for 2 separate one-way tickets for the route they are not available.  However when you search for SCL – PPT you can easily find availability.  The downside is that you only get 10 hours in Easter Island on a stopover!)

Papeete – Auckland – Shanghai – Beijing
15,000 United MileagePlus miles + £35 tax

Beijing – Hong Kong
10,000 Avios + £12 tax

Hong Kong – London Heathrow – Manchester
19,500 Avios + £72 tax

He is covering 31,439 miles in total


This comes to a total of : 88,500 Avios + 12,500 Delta SkyMiles + 15,000 United Airlines MileagePlus = 116,000 airline miles + £285 + $30.

If you wanted to emulate this routing, the Delta miles could be obtained from an American Express Membership Rewards transfer.  It would also be bookable via other Skyteam airlines.  There is no easy way to pick up United miles (there is no bonus on their credit card and the transfer rate from Starwood is 2:1) but, again, you could use another Star Alliance airline – albeit for potentially more miles.

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  1. Dean Dyson says:

    Hi Brad. Awesome journey!
    Which Avios clubs did you book each redemption using? Also did you need to call up for any or were all online searchable / bookable?

    PS: Enjoy the travels!

    • Hi Dean,

      Thank you. I used avios on my BA account if thats what you’re asking. I did not have to call anyone. Everything was searchable and bookable online.

      • Dean Dyson says:


      • MARIA LUCIA GOMES says:

        Hi Brad, I live in South America and I am interested in knowing which airlines exactly did you fly:
        Santiago – Isla de Páscua – Papeete
        Papeete – Auckland
        Auckland – Shangai
        I understand that you must have flown with the same company from Santiago to Papeete with only a stopover in Isla de Páscua – if that´s correct was it with Latan?
        You got these tickets from BA or IB? I am asking because as far as I know when buying with Iberia everything has to be both ways although they allow open jaws. Tks and Happy Easter.

  2. Tony Burns says:

    That is one fantastic trip Brad. You will love Cusco. Enjoy

  3. A couple of questions ?

    To do a similar trip via a cash ticket, what would be the rough cost ? I don’t mean a copy of the itinerary as there is n need to follow Avios availabilit.

    What cost a limited round the world trip in business or first ?

    Any chance of using Amex 241 ?

    • roberto says:

      Amex 241 only works on Ba metal…

      • Genghis says:

        You could do an open jaw with 241 something like LON-TYO, SFO-LON and then fill in the blanks yourself depending on where exactly you want to go

    • The thing about doing this type of trip with cash is that most of the bookings are one way tickets which means airlines price them at the fully flexible return price even though it is just one way. Using Avios is especially useful when you only need a one way ticket. Flying one way with Asia and South America can be very expensive and I have got some of the best value out of my avios doing this.

      This is very rough but what I calculated for random dates in August on same airlines paying with cash:

      MAN-MAD (Iberia) – £30
      MAD-LIM (Iberia) – £950
      LIM-CUZ-LIM (LAN) -£300 (This is because foreigners are not allowed to buy tickets at local prices and get charged a ridiculous price).
      LIM-EZE-SCL (LAN)- £304 (I realise Brad probably used star alliance carriers but this looks even more expensive using them.)
      SCL-IPC-PPT (LAN) -£1500
      PPT-AKL-PVG-PEK (NZ/CA)- £850
      PEK-HKG (CX)- £430
      HKG-LHR-MAN (BA)- £700

      Total (approx) = £5000

      • not bad at all !

      • Callum says:

        Though that’s an unfair comparison as you’re comparing an optimised award routing to a non-optimised cash routing.

        Even keeping the same routing, MAD-LIM is about £400 on Iberia, LIM-CUZ-LIM is around £150 including the gringo tax on other airlines, HKG-MAN is £480 on Singapore etc etc. Not to mention you could buy the special round the world fares.

        I’m not saying its not a good value redemption (I’d personally hate spending so much time flying in economy for so little experience on the ground, but that’s a personal thing!), it’s just not worth anywhere near £5000.

  4. NIce find.
    Papeete – Auckland – Shanghai – Beijing
    15,000 United MileagePlus miles + £35 tax

    • Yes. indeed. also catched my eye. I am wondering whether stopovers are allowed in AKL, SHA? Some other comment mentions about little time on the ground, but I do not see any flight dates / times mentioned (apart from the easter island stop).

  5. It’s not equivalent to a £5000 cash fare because anyone in their right mind would buy a RTW ticket (for a lot less than this) rather than a bunch of one-way cash fares. Not saying it’s not great value, just that this is not a fair comparison.

    Not liking the ‘secretiveness, nod-nod’ in the comments for this article by the way. The whole point of this blog is to share FF tips to make the most of our points, and talking about UA miles ‘tricks’ or ‘reclaiming LAN Avios’ with constant in-crowd references to “if you know what I mean” are neither helpful nor very open to the readership, and just seem like showing off and rubbing our noses in it.

    • +1, just like the Conrad Maldives redemption is not equivalent to £1000 per night unless you are actually paying that much

    • I have no idea what he means, if that helps!

    • Bremb87 says:

      @Nick +1

    • Callum says:

      I vaguely remember a glitch where LAN Avios redemptions were still earning miles (possibly only in non-BA programmes?). That was years ago though so if it’s still happening then I’m quite surprised!

      No idea what the United one is – though the “clue” implies some kind of manufactured spending… In which case I don’t blame them for keeping that one secret given it will no doubt get immediately shut down if everyone does it. The secrecy is certainly irritating though!

      • +1 think that the pros think they are above the air mile beginners. Shame, everyone started somewhere. Nonetheless well done Brad on your journey

  6. Damien says:

    I assume you’re able to hop out at easter island and take a quick tour?