Buying a Round the World Ticket

This past weekend I was sick and took advantage of a lazy Saturday to spend some energy in figuring out our itinerary for our Round the World Trip (RTWT). To make a long story short … we were unsuccessful.

First of, for those of you that do not know, Sara and I will be traveling using our AA miles. American Airlines is part of One World – an alliance between airlines around the world including Iberia, Cathay Pacific, Qantas, British Airways, etc. As an AAdvantage member, we can use our miles to book something similar to the One World Explorer ticket. It’s basically a ticket for a round the world trip with various rules and regulations:

  • Must travel with at least 3 airlines of One World
  • Maximum number of stops are 16
  • Must travel in one direction [West – East or East – West]
  • Must visit at least 3 continents
  • Booking the path of your travel in advance with dates, etc.

There are many other rules that are not as important or we don’t know about yet… It may sound simple, but using the AA miles is a pain in the ass when booking a trip like this and having a pre-defined itinerary. We are learning to be flexible and accommodating. The areas where we know we want to visit are: Europe, South East Asia, Iran, Jordan, India, Brazil/Argentina — the order is the difficult part. =)

We’ve thought about not using our miles for a RTWT and instead use the miles for short segments and buying flights along the way. As you might have guessed, this leaves for a very flexible, non-planning type of travel … the down side is that we would have to spend more money of flights than originally planned. I looked into, One World Explorer, etc. The total cost of transportation is around $5k-$10k. With the miles, we will save tons and tons of cash!

A nice thing about using our miles is that we have enough for a business class packet! Who can say no to that?!

So how did we get the miles?

  • Get a credit card that gives you at least 1 mile/point per $1 spent and charge EVERYTHING on that (in our case Citibank AAdvantage Credit Card— if you choose this or any other, make sure to take advantage of the new member offers like 30k miles for new members).
  • Become a frequent travel member (in our case AAdvantage)
  • If you have a business or work for a company that makes a lot of expenses — charge everything on the Credit Card with awards!
  • Open another credit card for your business (another 30k for ‘new member’)
  • Use the same airline for all travel (Sara and I did long distance from NYC to SD and always traveled with AA — saw each other once or twice a month)

How many are needed you may be asking?

  • 190,000 miles for a 16 stop business class trip with total trip miles ranging between 25,000 and 35,000 miles

Don’t be alarmed … 190k is a lot? Not really … but if you don’t think you can get there .. they also have awards for 120k! If you do the math, in 5 years I’m sure you can get 190k! For 120k, it will be in no time!

I hope this gave you some tips on how to start saving those award miles!


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