Booking the Travel (This Post)
I’ve finally got time to start writing my trip report from my August 2013 trip. It’s quite a long one so I’m going to talk about booking the flights first. I think trip reports are incredibly difficult to write and this is my first one on BoardingArea, so please forgive any errors or missing elements I have. Mr. Pickles wrote about the redemption I used a few days ago so today so now I can write about that. I booked two awards which linked together, YVR-GUM-YVR with 50k Lifemiles, and GUM-SYD-GUM with 40k US Airways Dividend Miles.
The lifemiles redemptions restrict you to what shows up on the search engine, so on the dates I wanted I booked first Vancouver-Tokyo Narita-Guam on Air Canada Executive First (Business) class and United Business Class. On the return I booked United BusinessFirst (Business) Class Guam-Tokyo Narita-Seattle-San Fransisco-Vancouver. This cost 50k Lifemiles per person, so at 1.5 cents this was around $750 excluding the taxes and booking fee.
Then, with my US Airways Dividend Miles I used 40,000 and booked Guam-Tokyo Narita-Bangkok-Sydney-Bangkok-Hong Kong-Taipei-Guam with EVA Air Business Class, Thai First Class, and United First Class. I transferred my Aeroplan to Us Airways at a 1:0.84 ratio before it was removed so this cost me around 48,000 miles which was a steal. Alternatively I could have purchased these miles for 1.9 cents when US Airways has a 100% promotion on purchased miles. This itinerary was over MPM so it was some fun agent roulette which I talked about here. I detailed this sweet spot yesterday in a post.
The flights ended up being so that I had a few hours to connect in Guam either way. I also had fairly long layovers in Tokyo and Bangkok in which I didn’t leave the airport but those weren’t so bad. So in total I flew 15 segments and just over 31,000 miles in 11 days and it was a total blast. This was also cheaper than my friend’s backpacking trip to Europe in economy class, which just shows the power of travel hacking. This was the final itinerary which I have plotted onto gcmpap:
I put in 23 hour stopovers in Hong Kong (where I met up with some friends and stayed at their place), Bangkok where I stayed at the Four Seasons on a Four Seasons Preferred Partner Rate, and Taipei for 12 hours where I went on a day tour. My rate at the Four Seasons was around $330 USD which included a limo transfer from the Airport, and all the associated benefits with a these rates. My rate at the Shangri-La was around $250 USD which included also the associated benefits with AMEX Fine Hotels and Resorts. I stacked this with a Shangri-La Golden Circle promo which meant I also received a $50-$100 spa/f&b credit for future use. For more information stacking those promotions I wrote a post here which may be useful. For information about booking luxury hotel rates, see this post.
This may also be a very overwhelming post so I’ve put in some links to some previous posts I’ve written to help you understand how I booked this and hopefully it’ll be easier for your to book something like that too. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below.
(Future Segments to be written):
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver
Air Canada Business Class Vancouver to Tokyo
ANA Suite Lounge Tokyo Narita
United Global First Lounge Tokyo Narita
United First Class Tokyo to Bangkok
Four Seasons Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Lounge Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Sydney
Air New Zealand Koru Club Sydney
Thai Airways First Class Sydney to Bangkok
Thai Airways First Class Bangkok to Hong Kong
Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse Hong Kong
EVA Air Royal Laurel Class Hong Kong to Taipei
EVA Air Infinity Lounge Taipei
EVA Air Premium Laurel Class Taipei to Guam
United Airlines Business Class Tokyo to Seattle