How do I get around the world?

Discussion in 'oneworld' started by MaryDarling, Oct 28, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. MaryDarling Silver Member

    I'm thinking about trying to book a major trip before British Airways revamps their program. The background:
    • The trip would be for next Fall (Sept/Oct.)
    • My partner and I have 310K BA miles and 150K AA miles (we also have 100K USAirways miles, though that's obviously not OneWorld.)
    • We could do the $30K spend to get a companion award in 2012, though BA will have changed redemption by then
    • I will be Platinum on AA as of next week
    • We would like to travel Business Class (or better!)
    • Our home airport is SFO
    We would like to visit Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore), Europe (we can land anywhere, and will then use trains to get around) and South America -- specifically Argentina -- before heading home.

    Is it possible to do this with the miles we have? If so, should we be focused on putting together a series of one-way awards or an around-the-world pair of tickets? And how could we use layover rules to help this process?

    Normally I'd focus on gathering even more miles for several months before making plans, but given the imminent BA change, I'm thinking it might be smart to lock things in now. As someone who has never attempted an international award before, let alone a complex one, I'm not even sure where to start -- other than asking all of you for advice!
    JohnDeere19 likes this.
    • Original Member

    Gardyloo Gold Member

    Both airlines have two basic award alternatives - region-based partner awards and mileage based multi-partner awards. BA's is more complicated because it distinguishes between BA alone, BA plus one partner, or 2+ Oneworld partners. (By comparison AA's "all partner" awards can include any combination of partners, inside Oneworld or not.)

    The redemption rates are also quite different, with - in general - AA's being more generous. The exception to that rule is North to South America: BA's "one partner" award is 20,000 miles "cheaper" in business class than AA's for so-called "deep" South America (e.g. Argentina, Brazil, Chile) - 80K vs. 100K miles.

    So in looking at your totals I think I'd suggest a mix-and-match approach.

    A round trip between North America and South America would cost 80K BA miles or 100K US or AA miles. Use BA for one person, US for the other. You'd have to travel separately.

    A "round the world" itinerary NOT including South America, and not exceeding 20,000 flown miles, would cost 200,000 BA miles in business class and 130,000 AA miles also in business class, using the "2+ carrier" option for BA and the "Oneworld" option with AA.

    Some sample itineraries that would fit in under 20,000 miles would be SFO-HKG-BKK-LHR-LAX-SFO (19,730) or YVR-HKG-SIN-LHR-SFO (starting in Vancouver, which is closer to Hong Kong, which lets you add Singapore while staying under 20,000 miles - it's around 19,470.) LAX is included in the first itinerary to allow the inclusion of AA on one segment, presuming you'd only be using Cathay and BA on SFO-HKG-BKK-LHR (AA doesn't fly LHR-SFO); on the second route you could fly on Qantas between Singapore and London, thereby satisfying the second non-BA requirement.

    So this would burn through most of your miles - 280,000 BA miles (200K RTW plus 80K South America) and 130,000 AA miles for the RTW plus 100K US miles for South America.

    There may well be more clever ways of accomplishing your itinerary without having to buy more miles, but I don't see it at the moment.
    Scottrick and MaryDarling like this.
  2. MaryDarling Silver Member

    This entire reply was very, very helpful in helping me figure out the pieces of such a trip might come together. For someone new to the game, all the various restrictions/condtions/routings can get overwhelming quite quickly, especially for something complicated! Thank you for taking the time to think about this and explain a method for achieving our goals. I truly appreciate the time and effort you invested!

    So my next question is this --can a Companion Award be used on a RTW ticket? I realize it means paying the BA fuel surcharges, and it may not be the best use of the award, but I'm just curious whether it could be used. If so, I'd then be paying the surcharge but saving myself 200K miles, which might be worth doing.

    Again, thanks so much for your help.
    • Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

    Actually, the first thing I thought of when I saw the OPs title was: "Start walking. Rinse and repeat." But your answer results in a quicker return to Point A. :D

    My guess is that it has to be a RT. The companion award should come with some T&C.

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