It’s the dream isn’t it? Flying around the world, stopping in iconic cities and enjoying every moment in total comfort? Today we’re going to show you exactly how to live the dream. We’re even going to take a second to show anyone starting out; what cards they would need to do this from scratch. But don’t worry, we’ll then move into the good stuff (like who you’ll fly) and finally, that last detail of how to book. Sit down, grab a cup of something pleasurable and we’ll get it done.

If You Don’t Have Any Credit Card Points, These Three Rewards Credit Cards Are Almost All You’ll Need…

The Citi Prestige Card (75K Point Bonus), The Amex Starwood Preferred Guest Card (25K+ Point Bonus) and either the Chase Sapphire Reserve (50K Point Bonus) OR the Ink Business Preferred Card (80K Point Bonus). Everything you could ever possibly want to know about getting cards, points, meeting spending requirements, annual fees, and how signing up for cards affects your credit can be found in this handy post.

You Can Start This Anywhere In The World, Staying In Each Place As Long As You Want…

The beauty of going around the world, is that it doesn’t matter where you start. Well… it doesn’t, so long as you can start in Asia, Europe or the US. This around the world trip is a series of non connected bookings, so there’s tons of flexibility with how long you’d like to stay, which direction you’ll travel, and where you’ll go in between. It’s all fun, and it’s surprisingly easy.

 

The U.S. To Europe (Or Vice Versa) Segment…

The Cards: Starwood Preferred Guest Card, Marriott Card, Amex Gold Or Platinum.

Points Needed: 40K SPG Points for Lufthansa First Class +$250 In Surcharges.

Link With All The Details For Booking: Lufthansa First Class Trick.

Running Points Total: 40,000.

Here we’re using Starwood’s lucrative points transfers to move points into Asiana. We’re doing this because Asiana Airlines only charges 50K points for one way in First Class between the US and Europe (in either direction) on their partner Lufthansa. When you transfer 20K Starwood points to an any airline you get a 5,000 point bonus, so 40K Starwood Points= 50k Asiana Points. You can aim for virtually any city and bop around Europe (or the US) depending on which direction you’re doing this.

The (Optional) Intra European Segment

The Cards: Citi Prestige, Chase Sapphire OR Ink Preferred, Amex Gold, Platinum.

Points Needed: 4,500 – 12,500 Points + ~$20 dependent on starting point and program.

Link With All The Details For Booking: Short Haul Rates With British Airways.

Running Points Total: 44,500.

This is an optional (but suggested) part of the trip. While in Europe, you should see as many cities as humanly possible. For any flights with a distance under 650 miles, British Airways, a partner of either chase card (mentioned above) charges just 4,500 points one way. Similarly, Etihad charges just 7,000-11,000 points on their partner Czech Airways for business class. And finally, Flying Blue (Air France & KLM) charges just 12,500 points for most European flights and those points can be made from the Citi Prestige or either Chase card. Just FYI, your final European destination needs to be Prague, because that’s where one of the best tricks originates from.

The Europe To Asia (Or Vice Versa) Segment…

The Card: Citi Prestige, Amex Gold, Platinum, Everyday Preferred.

Points Needed: 25,610 Etihad Guest Miles + ~$110.

Link With All The Details For Booking: Best Mileage Deal Between Europe and Asia.

Running Points Total: 70,110.

Here we’re leveraging Citi’s transfer partner Etihad Airways. Etihad has a relationship with Czech Airlines, and it’s a wonderful relationship indeed. For just 25,610 points one way- you can fly business class between Seoul and Prague (no other cities). This means that you can take the advice above to fly into another European city, before connecting through Europe to make your way to Prague, and onto Seoul. This is rock bottom for the amount of miles needed to fly business class on a 10+ hour flight!

The North Asia To USA (Or Vice Versa) Segment…

The Card: Chase Sapphire OR Ink Business Preferred, Amex Gold, Platinum, Everyday.

Points Needed: 62,500 Korean Airlines Miles + ~200.

Link With All The Details For Booking: How To Book Korean Airlines Awards…

Running Points Total: 132,610 (Including the optional segment).

This is a pretty straightforward use points, simply turning Chase or Amex points into Korean Airlines miles, to take advantage of their solid rates in business class. You can depart anywhere in Northern Asia (just in case you ventured elsewhere after landing in Seoul), for just 62,500 points one way. This will land you anywhere in the US that Korean flies, completing your around the world adventure.

ENJOY!

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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21 Comments

  1. Question on the Korean Air redemption. Korean is a chase transfer partner, but how would you go about using AMEX points for Korean First class?

  2. Love the post. I am also trying to go around the world on Etihad, Korean Air and Delta in their respective First and business class. Or instead of Delta, Singapore Air.

  3. the timing of this article couldn’t have been better. my wife and I were just talking about an awesome trip for next summer. I think you just planned it out for us! Thanks!

  4. This is terrible advice. this is not an around the world itinerary, merely three one-ways — two of which have poor availability, by the way. czech airlines with Etihad? Good luck!
    Lufthansa first class? Only within 2 weeks of flying is when Lufthansa releases first class space – and it doesn’t always happen either for every flight. And to book that with Asiana miles? Be prepared to spend the week or two before the flight (once there finally is space) on the phone trying to book the ticket.
    The Korean Air flight? That has great availability many months out, but can actually fill up towards the flight date. There are also blackout dates where the price in miles is suddenly 92500 miles rather than 62500. Note that these dates are actually different depending on which direction you’re flying (to Korea or from Korea!) so it can get pretty confusing.

    Better advice would be to try to get Chase Ultimate Rewards and Amex membership points, and accumulate those, until you see a good use for the points, and only then transfer them to any program. If you can make an around the world trip, great. Just be prepared to be flexible, depending on the (usually very scarce) award availability.

    1. Terrible advice? What a waste of a comment. And what hack advice about points. Each click over post explains the availability, how to book, limitations and so forth. Countless people make this itinerary work every day, so what’s your point? I’m not selling anything. Only highlighting opportunity. And around the world- More like 3 one ways? Have you looked at a globe? This is the definition of around the world. A transatlantic, a transpacific, going directly across the circumference of the globe.

      I’m fully aware I’m leaving an absolutely brutal comment, but I hope it makes you think twice about being such an arrogant prick when leaving future, spineless comments demeaning someone else’s hard work. I’ll look forward to reading your blog, helping travelers.

    2. I tend to agree, though in a less harsh manner, especially with re to Lufthansa. At least mention in the original post that this is basically limited to the two weeks before departure date. Instead this info is hidden in a link. Gives people who are less aware/newer to the game false hopes.

  5. Great post! In your experience were the Eithad flights on Czech to prague, difficult to book? Do you have to call?

    1. You have to call to book partners with Etihad miles. Call the Manchester call center. They seem to be the most helpful. Just did this today actually to book an award flight on Virgin Australia.

      Etihad Manchester number: +441614923300

  6. You really only need one Amex card that awards 100k points. Then wait for generous airlines transfer bonus promotions…

    Of course, discussion of multiple credit cards brings more referral opportunities…

    1. somewhat true, but there are never guarantees of transfer bonuses. As a matter of note, I don’t do card referrals. Cheers.

  7. An intra-U.S. and an intra-Asian segments should be included to make this feel more than just visiting 3 or 4 cities.

    It would be fun to include Canada or Mexico as a destination as well, perhaps replacing the intra-U.S. segment.

  8. Gilbert – Thanks again for another terrific opportunity!! One question though…..I always thought that Chase was the only transfer partner to Korean. When I check my PRG transfer partners Korean is not there…..is there a trick? BTW, I’ll be in LHR on Sept. 5th, if you’re around there I would like to buy you a drink or two! Thx!

      1. Gilbert – I am flying JFK – LHR on VA arriving on the morning of the 5th. Then we have to go through all the customs, immigration stuff, probably hit the arrivals lounge. There’s free time after that before I head out Edinburgh on BA in the afternoon. BTW, I used that 35K SPG trick of yours for this flight on a Dreamliner. My flight out is Terminal 5 (BA) in the afternoon. Does that work for you?

  9. @Jeremy – re: your flight plans…..forget Delta, us Singapore. Their seats are much larger, ergo more comfort. All the best with that trip!

  10. Great informative post as usual Gilbert. Thank you for all that you do. Jealous-asses gonna hate. Keep up the awesome work! 👍🏼

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