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Yes – around the world for 125,000 points, with real stops.

What are your bucket list cities? Hong Kong? Vienna? Paris? Los Angeles? Why not see them all on one incredible trip around the world? After all – other than love – all you need is points. There’s an amazing way to turn US Amex Membership Rewards Points into an around the world trip with tons of stops and total comfort the entire way, and If that sounds like the sort of thing you’ve only been dreaming of, we’re going to show you every step to unlock the best trip possible.

Invalid request error occurred.Getting Amex Points

To take this advantage of this awesome around the world business class trip, you need US Amex Membership Rewards Points. Not Delta Amex or British Airways Amex Points or UK Amex Points – those sadly won’t work here. If you do have Amex Points from another country, this alternative option might be of interest as a consolation prize. Credit cards such as the Amex Green, Gold or Platinum card earn Membership Rewards Points, which are exactly what you need to book this around the world ticket. To take advantage of this amazing use of points, you’ll be transferring your points from Amex to All Nippon Airways (ANA) – a Star Alliance member. You can then fly on ANA or any of their Star Alliance partners around the world, all for just 125,000 points for up to 12 flights! The world is yours!

a large tower with a fountain and Eiffel Tower in the backgroundWhere You Can Go

Ask not where – but how far. This is yet another great example of why distance based charts for using points are far more exciting and flexible than point to point charts. It really doesn’t matter where you want to go, just how far – and coincidentally 125,000 points is enough to go very far! And you can start virtually anywhere that Star Alliance flies. For 125,000 points you can fly up to 22,000 miles of actual flight distance. A great way to figure out how far you want to go – or can go- is by using the GCMap.com tool. Simply add in all the destinations, like this example to see how many miles your desired itinerary would take up. If it’s under 22,000, you’re good to go.

a food on a tableActual Examples

You must go in one direction (East or West). You can enjoy up to 12 flight segments with potential for 8 stopovers. A stopover means you can spend more than 24 hours in that destination, if you so choose. Any time under 24 hours would simply qualify as a connection and wouldn’t count against your 8 stopover limit. Also, you can start just about anywhere in the world. From Europe you could start in London, stop in Vienna for a couple days, head over to Frankfurt for a night or two and then jet off to Asia. You could fly Frankfurt to Hong Kong, zip down to Bangkok after 48 hours or so, fly up to to Tokyo for a week of bliss and then carry on to America. You could then hit San Francisco and New York before flying onto Dublin. Your trip must last a minimum of 10 days.

a bed in a planeA Quick Recap

A round trip flight between the US and Europe would cost more points using almost any points program. Why are we mentioning this, you may be asking yourself? Because it’s a reference point for just how incredible of a deal this is. for your points You’re knocking out almost every bucket list destination in a single trip, in as few as ten days. The world is quite literally your oyster, and you’re going to explore it in the comforts of Star Alliance business class. That means airlines like Air Canada, Lufthansa, Swiss, Thai, EVA, United, ANA, Air China and more.

a man in a suit looking at a signHow To Find Business Class Seats

To book this you need to find business class seats using points. You’ll want to plot out itineraries which Star Alliance serves with direct flights. That’s one of the reasons we chose cities such as Vienna, Frankfurt, Bangkok, San Francisco and Tokyo in our examples. The easiest way to find seats on airlines all around the world is via the United Airlines website. You can search any route Star Alliance flies, by simply clicking “search for award travel” and “non stop” on the home page. Selecting “my dates are flexible” will help in your quest to find business class seats using points. Please note: the rates United quotes are not what you’ll pay – you’ll pay far less. You’re simply going to write down which flights are available using points, based off what you see there. Keep a record, and then…

a plane flying in the skyCall All Nippon Airways To Book Your Around The World

All Nippon Airways is your ticket to cashing in 125,000 Amex Points for an extraordinary around the world journey. You’ll transfer your Amex Points to All Nippon Airways and call the airline to book, quoting to the phone agent that you’re looking to book an around the world ticket. Once that’s established, give the agent the dates and flight numbers where you found seats available on the United website. Surcharges can vary from something very minimal like $200 per person or less, to over $500. Still, a pretty phenomenal deal. Enjoy your around the world trip!

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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  1. Great article! Do you have any tips on keeping those surcharges closer to 200 (and/or avoiding the 500 charges)? Is 200/500 specific to a partner, city, etc?

  2. p.s. Any suggested routes that are “don’t miss routes?” Good airlines, good planes, good service, etc.

    1. @AJ – Because this is star alliance family flights, you already have Lufthansa, Austrian, EVA, Swiss, & ANA at your disposal. Those are all good….the planes you take depend on the routing, make up a few and then check the details, you can pick the route with the best planes.

  3. 1st time reader, love the blog! Would appreciate a little more insight on how do i go about searching…for ex: start SFO, travel to Tokyo, then on to New Zealand and Australia.

  4. Here’s just a sample itinerary I put together that works for 125K….
    That’s a lot of travel for 125K.

  5. Do you know how strict the ‘flying only one direction’ is? Must each segment be flown in the same direction?

    I can’t think of a real-world example, but what if a particular destination is only reachable—using Star Alliance—from the opposite of my chosen direction?

    ANA’s website doesn’t seem to answer this situation.

    Nice post, btw, very intriguing!

  6. @Chris J Thank you so much. I’m excited abt his “new discovery (for me at least).” Thanks GSTP!

  7. You mentioned that the min duration should be 10 days. Is there a max number of days the trip can last? What if I wanna do longer stopovers like a week in each city? Any restrictions on that? Thanks!

  8. So, I’m not clearon this…if the amex points are transferred to ANA, then the tickets are booked with ANA points not specifically Amex points…right?
    Can other start alliance points be transfered to ANA to accomplish this?

    1. Yes, but since very few people have 125,000 ANA points, and millions have Amex points, it’s an easier starting place fro people. Can’t transfer Star Alliance points between airlines.

  9. Do the applicable segments have to be “saver” type awards or can they be chosen from “every day” awards?

    1. @Jim – No. The reason you cannot use UA miles is that only Amex and SPG points transfer to ANA to create the needed mileage. Generally speaking once you have miles in an airline program they cannot be transferred out. However, you can usually use those miles to fly on partner airlines. For example, you could book the same itinerary using UA miles as ANA. The big difference is that UA will charge you segment by segment. That will make the mileage cost much greater. That’s why this is so good, because ANA has said you can travel far more miles (20K) for a relatively small number of points. Does this help?

  10. Any word on how long this promotion will last? Need some time to rack up 500,000 to cover the trip for4

  11. Is this a time-limited promotional deal or something that will be around for awhile? Are there “travel completed by” dates?

    1. It’s an ongoing thing, no time limit. But with all great points uses, there’s always a time limit in the large sense of the phrase.

  12. So we disregard the value of the flights in points on the United website? The website is strictly for availability?

  13. This is only for “business saver” flights, right?

    Also, the fuel surcharges I’ll have to pay is based on what ANA Mileage Club shows or what United’s website shows?


  14. Does anyone have any insight on whether an open jaw works within this? I’m looking at starting in Los Angeles and making, say, Hanoi the first stopover. But I don’t want to waste my ANA segments to then hit Cambodia, maybe Bangkok because I love it, Myanmar, Bhutan, and Nepal all on individually-booked revenue fares, then pick back up on ANA segments from Kathmandu or Kuala Lumpur. OR, do all segments around the world have to be connected?

  15. Just confirmed with ANA that open jaws are allowed; it just counts as one of the stopovers, naturally. The only limit is that you can’t have more than two stopovers in a single country (but not sure what reason there would be to waste more than two stops in a country, haha).

  16. Thank you so much for all the information. I am planning a trip now. Just to verify…. As I am searching the UA site…. I have to look for Business Saver Awards that are direct flights? Correct? Thanks again

    1. Generally speaking, yes. Though occasionally airlines may be able to grab non saver you should always look for it.

  17. Im seeing very little for “business saver” and seeing a lot for ” business everyday”

    Whats the best way to only show business saver?

  18. Great post!

    Do you have an offer ID code? Or AmEx POID code for this deal? Just called AmEx to inquire and they are not finding this deal.


    1. Hey Rene, it’s not an amex deal. It’s done by transferring Amex points to ANA the airline. The only thing amex would do is transfer your points to ANA. Hope that helps. Best.

  19. SFO-TPE(UA)-BKK-DPS(TG)-SIN-MLE(SQ)-IST-FRA(TK)-IAD(LH) 5 Days in Bali, 6 in the Maldives. All had to be saver. Could downgrade a leg to economy saver but did not need to. ANA reps were very helpful. about 36hrs to txfr pts. $850 in taxes. A lot of value to the Maldives in Business and was able to add an additional stop in Bali. If you don’t find in one direction try the other. A lot of availability opens up about 2 weeks out if you can make late decisions.

    1. One other thing. With ANA one traveler must be the account holder. Tried to use ANA points for my sister and her friend last year and orphaned 190k points because i didn’t read the fine print. Point are good for 2 years after txfr.

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