RTW planning - any advice on the best way to go about it with points and cash?

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First time posting here, but want to start planning in advance!

My fiancee and I are planning for our honeymoon late in 2018 – planned itinerary as follows:

#1: MEL-TYO
#2: TYO-NYC
#3: NYC-ZUR
#4: ZUR-MEL

For flights #2 and #4, we were hoping to book Business. Other sectors can be in Economy/Premium Economy. The European sectors don’t have to depart/arrive at Zurich if it’s cheaper at other ports where there are more flight options e.g. Frankfurt or Paris.

Cash fares on a one-way basis appear significantly cost prohibitive, so what would be the best way to achieve the above without breaking the bank?

We don’t currently have a lot of points between us for to book a RTW fully using points (but are enrolled in multiple mileage programs). In particular, I have Asia Miles (~44k), QF (~38k) and AMEX (~50k) points to use. Would oneworld / Star Alliance or other RTW fares allow international upgrade awards (e.g. JAL or QF)? To make up any remaining balance, I could purchase points as required, or other credit card strategies etc.

Or would it be easier to simply book business all the way on a cash basis?

Any advice appreciated!

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Hi chewybacca,

Congratulations. Sounds like an epic itinerary.

I appreciate that you understand that you have not a very high point balance to fund the trip. Hence, I agree buying points is one option of flying business for less than booking directly. I did something similar for my honeymoon, which was what brought me to PointHacks in the first place.

If you were to have 0 points to start off with and want to fly business all the way, the point/mile costs are approximately of that below:

  • MEL-TYO 40k AA or Lifemiles.
  • TYO-NYC 60k AA or 75k Lifemiles
  • NYC-ZRH 57.5k AA
  • ZRH-MEL 85k AA or Lifemiles.

Which means, you need approximately 250k AA miles per person. This translate to about USD$4300 to buy 250k AA miles. Please note: there is a AA mile sale going on at the moment at the lowest price we have seen since Jan 2015.

One very good thing with US-based airlines/FF program is they charge very minimal tax/surcharge.

Lifemiles is a bit trickier to use for a beginner. Point Hack link. But I have provided that for completeness.

If you were to just buy AA miles for Legs 2 & 4, it would work out to cost about USD$5000 for the 2 of you. Then you can see whether you can use your existing point balance to pay for Leg 1 and 3.

Give yourself a pat on the back for planning early. You usually need to book 11/12 mths in advance as soon as the dates you want are released to increase your chances of getting award space.

Good luck and please ask more questions once you have digested the above.

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