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Round-the-World Awards That You Can Still Book

Oct. 06, 2015
10 min read
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Round-the-World Awards That You Can Still Book
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From maximizing stopovers and open jaws to making the most of a single credit card, there are many ways to extend your redemptions and enjoy some incredible travel experiences. One particularly lucrative method of doing this is by booking a "round-the-world" award and literally circumnavigating the globe, visiting numerous destinations along the way. TPG Senior Points & Miles Correspondent Nick Ewen walks through the currently available options.

Avios can get you on short-haul American flights for cheap
American was one carrier that discontinued its round-the-world award tickets in recent years.

Unfortunately, round-the-world awards have been dropping like flies as of late. American got rid of its Oneworld Explorer awards back in April 2014 (without notice, I might add), and Delta then ended Round-the-World award tickets using SkyMiles last October.

However, there are still some options for booking this type of ticket. Today I want to go through those programs that still allow you to redeem miles and fly around the world.

What is a round-the-world award ticket?

First, let's start with a quick overview of these tickets. Generally speaking, they allow you to redeem a set amount of miles to literally travel around the world. Since no single airline has an extensive enough route network to make this feasible, you typically need to utilize partners of the carrier whose miles you are redeeming. Most allow you to make several stops along the way, extending the value of your miles by allowing you to visit multiple cities for far less than the price of booking award tickets to each individual destination.

That being said, most of these tickets have some restrictions that make them challenging to redeem:

  • You generally must find award inventory at the low level (though ExpertFlyer does allow you to set alerts for many carriers).
  • You typically can't backtrack.
  • You may be limited on the number of total segments.

Despite these restrictions, it may make sense to take advantage of a round-the-world award if you want to visit several locations. Here's a rundown of the programs that still allow these redemptions.

AeroMexico's Club Premier program allows up to 15 stopovers when traveling on SkyTeam airlines around the world.


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One of the more obscure ways to redeem miles (or in this case, kilometers) to fly around the world is through AeroMexico's Club Premier program. Here are the mileage requirements for the SkyTeam Go Round the World Ticket:

  • Economy: 224,000 km
  • Business: 352,000 km

Here are the additional restrictions:

  • You must travel in the same direction throughout the itinerary (east or west).
  • You can only travel on SkyTeam airlines.
  • You must begin and return to the same country (though the cities can be different).
  • You must have a minimum of three stopovers but can have up to 15 (with a maximum of five per continent).
  • You must book these awards over the phone.

Even though these mileage requirements are quite high, you can visit up to 15 different cities on the trip! This is far and away the most generous round-the-world award option out there.

Earning AeroMexico Miles: AeroMexico partners with both Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, allowing you to convert points earned on cards like the Amex EveryDay Preferred Credit Card to Club Premier kilometers at a 1:1 ratio.

Korean's mileage requirements for traveling around the world are relatively low.

Korean Air

Despite having a less-than-streamlined process for making award reservations, Korean Air's SkyPass program does offer you to ability to redeem your miles for a trip around the world. Unfortunately, this option is not available for first-class redemptions. Here are the mileage requirements for these awards:

  • Economy: 140,000 miles
  • Business: 220,000 miles

Here are the additional restrictions:

  • You can't book segments during blackout dates of the corresponding SkyTeam airline.
  • The original departure city can't be used as a stopover city en route to a different final destination.
  • You are allowed three transfers (connecting flights) on the itinerary plus two additional transfers in each Area (see below).
  • You are allowed three stopovers plus an additional stopover in each area, giving you a total of up to six stopovers.
  • Reservations can only be made in a ticketing office or through the airline's service center.

For the purpose of transfers and stopovers, Korean breaks the globe into three areas: Area 1 consists of North and South America, Area 2 consists of Europe/Africa/Middle East and Area 3 consists of Asia/Oceania. You will have to pay some fuel surcharges on Korean flights and certain partner flights, but they shouldn't break the bank.

Earning Korean Miles: Korean SkyPass partners with Ultimate Rewards, allowing you to transfer points earned on cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card at a 1:1 ratio. The program was also recently added as an SPG transfer partner, giving you even more ways to boost your account balance.

Round-the-world rewards were (fortunately) unharmed with the recently announced Aeroplan devaluation.



Aeroplan, the spun-off loyalty program of Air Canada, allows you to redeem miles for an Around the World Reward (these awards were fortunately not impacted by the upcoming devaluation). Here are the mileage requirements:

  • Economy: 200,000 miles
  • Premium Economy: 250,000 miles
  • Business: 300,000 miles
  • First: 400,000 miles

Here are the additional restrictions:

  • You're allowed a maximum of five stopovers and one open jaw.
  • You can only have one stopover in a given city.
  • You must start and end in the same country.
  • Your return flight cannot go past the point of origin.
  • Awards must include one transatlantic and one transpacific crossing.
  • You must book these rewards over the phone.

Aeroplan does add fuel surcharges on many Star Alliance award tickets, so you'll likely wind up paying a decent amount of fees for these redemptions.

Earning Aeroplan Miles: Aeroplan partners with both Membership Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest, giving you many ways to boost your account balance. The program also regularly offers bonuses for converting points from these and other loyalty currencies, so keep your eyes peeled for those!

You can enjoy Lufthansa first class and other top Star Alliance products when you book a round-the-world award ticket with Miles & More.


The Miles & More program still allows you to redeem miles to travel around the world on Star Alliance carriers. Here are the mileage requirements:

  • Economy: 180,000 miles
  • Business: 325,000 miles
  • First: 480,000 miles

Here are the additional restrictions:

  • The ticket must include one Atlantic and one Pacific crossing.
  • The ticket can have a maximum of 10 segments (nine connecting flights).
  • You must allow at least 10 days between the departure of the first intercontinental flight and the the departure of the last intercontinental flight.
  • You are allowed a maximum of seven stopovers.
  • These tickets must be booked over the phone.

Unfortunately, Lufthansa does add fuel surcharges to award tickets and with multiple segments on various Star Alliance carriers, you'll wind up paying some hefty fees for these flights. Still, if you can find availability, it can offer you some terrific value.

Earning Lufthansa miles: You could open the Miles & More Premier World MasterCard, which is currently offering 20,000 award miles after your first purchase. Miles & More also partners with Starwood Preferred Guest, allowing you to transfer Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio.

If you redeem KrisFlyer miles for a first class round-the-world ticket, try to get at least one segment in Suites Class on the carrier's A380!


While most of you probably know Singapore Airlines from the carrier's luxurious premium-class products, the KrisFlyer program does offer some tremendous value in allowing you to book Round The World Awards. Here are the mileage requirements:

  • Economy: 180,000 miles
  • Business: 240,000 miles
  • First: 360,000 miles

You can visit up to seven cities on these awards, though the program does apply fuel surcharges on certain partners.

Earning KrisFlyer Miles: Singapore is one of the only airlines that partners with all four of the major transferable point currencies out there: Membership Rewards, Ultimate Rewards, ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest. This gives you a ton of options for transferring points earned on cards like the Citi Premier® Card or American Express Premier Rewards Gold Card to the KrisFlyer program. With all these options, the redemption thresholds might be closer than you think!


Despite significant devaluations during the past few years, the United MileagePlus program still offers round-the-world Awards. Here are the mileage requirements:

  • Economy: 200,000 miles
  • Business: 350,000 miles
  • First: 450,000 miles

You're allowed up to five stopovers and 15 segments on these awards. Nevertheless, this can be a nice way to save some miles (now that partner redemptions are through the roof!).

ANA is one carrier that allows quasi-round-the-world award tickets, though you'll be charged based on the total distance of your itinerary.

Other Options

In addition to these published (and formal) options for booking round-the-world trips, remember that many other airlines allow you to create awards that effectively take you around the world. My favorite from the past was US Airways Dividend Miles. I redeemed 90,000 miles for a business-class ticket to North Asia with a stopover in Europe (a strategy also employed by TPG Special Contributor Eric Rosen, though the rate was up to 110,000 miles by then). Most airlines won't allow this type of routing anymore, but there are still distance-based programs that charge you mileage amounts based on how far you travel:

Bottom Line

Redeeming miles for a round-the-world trip may not be for everyone, but if you want to visit several destinations and really extend the value of your miles, this can be a great option. Just be sure to do your due diligence, since these tickets carry a variety of rules and restrictions.

What are your experiences with booking round-the-world award tickets?