TPG Reader Hall of Fame: Around the world in 100 days and business class
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:
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 3 Free Night Awards (each free night award has a redemption value up to 50,000 bonus points, that’s a value of up to 150,000 total points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. Plus, earn 10X total points on up to $2,500 in combined purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations within the first 6 months from 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. Plus, earn up to $200 in statement credits for eligible purchases at U.S. restaurants within the first six months of card membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold Credit Card– Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
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.
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.
Flights and hotels aside, Anne-Marie and her husband had some truly incredible experiences. Some of their best memories?
Hot air ballooning over Bagan:
Mario Kart racing in Tokyo:
And gorilla trekking in Congo:
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.
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