TPG Reader Hall of Fame: Around the world in 100 days and business class

Oct 11, 2019

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Today’s story comes to you courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon, whose incredible trip around the world took her and her husband to a whopping 25 countries over the course of 103 days. All this was made possible by Korean’s SKYPASS Round-the-World ticket, a couple of travel rewards credit card welcome bonuses and the generous perks offered by premium travel credit cards.

Let’s see how they did it:

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

As mentioned above, Anne-Marie and her husband used Korean Air’s Round-the-World ticket — which provides up to six stopovers (or nine transfers consisting of less than 24 hours) — to snag business-class seats for just 220,000 SKYPASS miles each. Check out this itinerary:

  • Atlanta (ATL) to Madrid (MAD)
  • Amsterdam (AMS) to Nairobi (NBO)
  • Nairobi (NBO) to Dubai (DXB)
  • Dubai (DXB) to Moscow (SVO)
  • Moscow (SVO) to Bangkok (BKK)
  • Hanoi (HAN) to Tokyo (HND)
  • Tokyo (HND) to Seoul (ICN)
  • Seoul (ICN) to Washington, D.C. (IAD)

As the ticket is limited in terms of stopovers, Anne-Marie and her husband used other points and miles to create connections on short-haul itineraries, which enabled them to visit tons of countries in between their hub flights. While they used the sign-up bonuses from the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and the Chase Sapphire Reserve to acquire the points necessary, Korean is sadly no longer a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Luckily for us, Marriott does remain a transfer partner of Korean, at an effective ratio of 2.4:1. Points from Marriott transfer at a 3:1 ratio, and you’ll enjoy a 5,000-mile bonus for every 60,000 points you transfer, so 60,000 Marriott points = 25,000 SKYPASS miles. If you need to build your stash of Marriott Rewards, you can use the following cards to do so:

  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card – Earn 75,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® CardEarn 125,000 bonus Marriott Bonvoy points after you use your new card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first three months. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership. Offer ends 5/12/2021.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card– 30,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening

Related: Best ways to earn points with the Marriott Bonvoy program

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

For hotel stays, Anne-Marie and her husband used a variety of techniques to lower costs while sacrificing nothing in terms of luxury. Hotel highlights include the Hanging Gardens in Bali, booked using the Citi Prestige® Credit Card’s fourth-night-free benefit. The information for the Citi Prestige has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

They also used the Chase Ultimate Rewards Travel Portal to book the Andronis in Santorini, redeeming Ultimate Rewards at a rate of 1.5 cents each and saving themselves over $1,000:

Even better, some bookings, like the ones made via American Express’s Fine Hotels & Resorts program (available to cardholders of The Platinum Card® from American Express and The Business Platinum Card® from American Express), resulted in an upgraded room. Such was the case with the Hilton Ramses Cairo.

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

Flights and hotels aside, Anne-Marie and her husband had some truly incredible experiences. Some of their best memories?

Hot air ballooning over Bagan:

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

Mario Kart racing in Tokyo:

Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon
(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

And gorilla trekking in Congo:

(Photo courtesy of Anne-Marie Sheldon.)

It’s clear that Anne-Marie and her husband are no strangers to the points and miles game. A variety of high-end credit cards meant that every dollar saved stretched their journey further — and with a Round-the-World ticket priced at just 220k SKYPASS miles, they managed to swing business-class tickets across four continents and a hundred days.

Thanks for the inspiration, guys!

Featured photo courtesy of Hanging Gardens Bali.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points


CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

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More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
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