To date, I have redeemed over 2.5 million miles and points on a multitude of programs. But my latest redemption just might be my best one yet.
You see, I needed to fly from Venice to Manila this November for our wedding. At first, I was going to purchase a revenue ticket since I figured that I can use my miles for something else. After talking to Rac, we finally decided that this latest redemption can be my wedding gift for myself. I’ve been booking so many flights and trips for other people and figured that I can splurge on my self this time around.
I looked up availability on United.com and ANA.com since I was planning to use my United Mileage Plus miles. I quickly found First Class availability on Thai Airways with their A380 aircraft in their Frankfurt to Bangkok route! I was pumped to see this as those seats normally cost upwards of $4000 each way. After finding availability on the other segments, I was set. All this for 80k United miles one-way which was a bit steep but figured what the heck.
I was so focused on using my United miles that I didn’t even check US Airways. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that they only charge 110k miles for this flight roundtrip! So for 30k miles more, I can fly both ways in style. The only problem was I was short on US Airways miles, I only had 67k. As they say, if there’s a will, there’s a way. I posted on Flyertalk’s trading section if anyone had US Airways miles they were willing to part with as I had plenty of points scattered in different programs. Within hours, I found a trading partner who was willing to give me the miles I needed in exchange for some American Express Membership Rewards points and Hilton Honors points. After a quick call to the guy, we finalized the deal and I finally had 110k US miles!
Now that I was flying roundtrip, I had the chance to try out multiple First Class products. I asked around Flyertalk for suggestions and got great responses. After a day’s worth of research, I finally found availabilities on all my legs. With my newest itinerary, I was going to be flying with 5 different carriers, all in premium cabins! I’m a huge aviation geek and being able to try out 5 different airlines in Business/First Class in one award trip was amazing value for me.
The first flight is with Brussel Airlines from Venice to Brussels. Next is a Lufthansa flight from Brussels to Frankfurt where I have a stopover for two days to catch up with my friend Dan, who is stationed there. After the quick stop, I will be trying out Asiana First Class in their 747 from Frankfurt to Incheon. I have read very good reviews about this product and can’t wait to try it out. Also, I will have access to the Asiana First Class lounge there. The last leg is from Incheon to Manila, also on Asiana Airlines. For the return, I will be flying from Manila to Bangkok with Thai Airways. I will have plenty of time there to experience the world-famous Thai First Class Lounge where I am entitled to use their Spa and get a free massage! This is definitely a perfect way to start my way back to Italy. I then board their A380 to Frankfurt on their First Class Suites. For those of you who didn’t know, the A380 is the biggest commercial airline in the sky and Thai has them. I have flown on A380’s in business class with Korean Air and China Southern but this is my first First Class with this plane. Different airlines have equipped this plane with some of the most impressive things in the air. These planes can be equipped with showers, bars, duty-free stores, suites, etc. It’s easily my favorite plane in the air. Most importantly, I am looking forward to the catering in this flight as I can book my meals online and have the chef make them for me. Let’s not forget all the Dom Perignon champagne and caviar that I can have which makes me that much more excited for this flight! Once in Frankfurt, I then fly to Zurich and then on to Venice on Swiss Airlines.
All in all, this flight award redemption has to be my best one yet. This whole trip prices out at over $12,000 and I am only paying $240 in taxes! It never fails to amaze me what Travel Hacking can do. Can’t wait to start my journey!