You're going to need a new bucket list. Booking an around the world trip is not just a dreamy idea, it's possible for less than you'd imagine, using miles or cash and allows for far greater flexibility than a normal ticket. Grab your swim trunks, winter coat, sunglasses and your jet lag tablets, it's going to be an unforgettable ride. Here's how...
Around the world tickets come in many forms, with the idea behind most of them, that you can travel in one direction, east or west, stopping between three and 15 times, along the way, all the way around the world, using an airline and their partners. You'll cross the Atlantic, the Pacific and much more in between. When it comes to booking an around the world ticket, there are fixed cost ways using miles, and cash which can save you money, change fees and give you the best possible experience.
Almost all around the world tickets allow you to change dates without penalty.
United isn't your best bet on miles, but it can be solid, with economy awards running 200,000, 350,000 for business and 450,000 for first. You're allowed five stopovers and a total of fifteen segments, with travel on top notch partners.
Transfer Partners: Chase, Starwood
Korean air offers super value, with 140,000 miles for economy, 220,000 for business around the world. You're limited to less than ten flights, but allowed multiple stopovers in each region of the world, allowing you to see the best of each continent without paying extra.
Transfer Partners; Chase, Starwood
Aeroplan round the world's fetch 200,000 for economy, 250,000 for premium economy, 300,000 for business and 400,000 for first. You're fairly limited, with a maximum of five stopovers but there's still some great value.
Transfer Partners: Amex, Starwood
Lufthansa will run you 180,000 for economy, 325,000 for business and 480,000 for first. Your trip will need to last a minimum of ten days, a maximum of ten flights and seven stopovers (cities). Economy is a pretty great deal.
Transfer Partners: Starwood, just Starwood sadly.
Singapore is perhaps the best value for the around the world trip using miles. Economy will run you 180,000, business 240,000 and first class 360,000. On a Singapore around the world ticket you can stop in up to seven cities.
Transfer Partners: Amex, Citi, Chase, Starwood
Aeromexico requires 224,000 miles for economy and 352,000 for business class. You'll have to begin and end in the same country, travel in one direction and have more than three and less than 15 segments.
Transfer Partners: Amex, Starwood.
Star Alliance Around The World Ticket
Star Alliance allows you to book an around the world ticket, with a maximum of 16 segments and 15 stopovers, giving you tons of opportunity to see literally every part of the world. You're limited to a total 39,000 miles, but given that the earth's circumference is 24,901, you should be ok. You earn miles too.
OneWorld Around The World Ticket
OneWorld offers two version of around the world tickets. You can grab their simplest version, based on how many continents you visit, or alternately go with a distance based option, giving you more flexibility to globe trot. If you want to travel business class, you'll likely do better with the distance based option. You earn miles too.
Sky Team Around The World Ticket
SkyTeam has an easy around the world option, where you can make up to 15 stops in any of 177 countries, You have between ten days and one year to do all your travel, with the flexibility to change dates without penalty.
Emirates, Qantas and other airlines offer around the world tickets.
Around the world tickets using miles must be booked over the phone directly with the airline. I suggest doing your best to find your routes and desired flights first, to assist in the process.
For paid tickets, I recommend planning your desired route and comparison shopping. Sometimes the airline directly will be able to offer the best price and best benefits, other times travel agents will have more flexibility and potential for lower fares. I have a great relationship with a FlightCentre agent who I trust to quote the best price, and let me know if I'm better off elsewhere. AirTreks and STA Travel are other well known brands specializing in these kind of tickets. Given the flexibility and the length in which you can travel, they can be fantastic deals.
You can fly around the world in economy for as low as $1500. The average around the world economy ticket ranges in the $2500-4500 range, depending on the number of stops and airline. Business class tickets can also pose a decent value, considering the amount of travel and how expensive they generally are for just one flight anyway. You can find around the world business class tickets between $4500 and $12,000, again depending on routings, stops, etc.
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