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

Oct 11, 2019

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.

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 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card- Earn 75,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 in purchases within the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases made on your new card at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first three months from 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.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.