Help me plan a oneworld RTW

Discussion in 'oneworld' started by Mike Reed, Jul 25, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Short version:
    • 3 travelers, all adults. Possibly one lap infant
    • Three weeks duration (could stretch to more if needed)
    • Business class (or First)
    • Using miles
    • Would prefer ~6 stops of ~3 days each, would consider to 5-day stops and two shorter stops if it made sense for "fifth night free" starwood redemptions
    • Starting in Austin, TX. Want to include, at a minimum
      • a SE Asia stop (Singapore? HKG?)
      • an India stop (Delhi, most likely)
      • a mid-east stop (Dubai? Amman?)
      • and at least one (maybe more) Europe stops (open, but trying to avoid London and BA)
    • Don't care which direction (westbound or eastbound) but westbound (US-SE Asia-India-MidEast-Europe-US) would likely be best to fight jet lag
    • Starwood properties in each city for hotel redemption
    I have read about OW RTW fares, not sure if mileage-based or continent-based will be the best option. I also ave 200K US Air miles I can book *A hops with if needed, but trying to wrap this into something I can buy with AA miles. I'd personally love to experience multiple OW airlines, but no specific airline is a requirement on any route, other than avoiding TPAC/TATL YQ to the degree possible.

    The goal of the trip? Introduce my daughter to a taste of several foreign cities and cultures before she heads to college and starts thinking about overseas studies, jobs, etc. Just enough to get her feet wet, but not in-depth in any particular one. She's likely looking at photojournalism as a career/major, and is active in several groups that have humanitarian causes as part of their mission, so I could easily see her in a world travel role in the future.

    I'm open to ANY thoughts, and would absolutely love advice on creating/booking OW awards and considering the differences between them. This will be my first RTW award ever.
     
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  2. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Great project, and should be of interest to others! :)
    I'll have it on my watch list.
     
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  3. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Just to clarify, there are no continent-based Explorer awards. They're mileage-based only. OW Explorer revenue tickets are continent-based and have entirely different rules and regulations than the awards.

    I've booked several Explorer awards, for myself and others. They're not too hard once you get the and of them, but you do have to stick to the rather convoluted rules.

    Are you simply looking for routing suggestions?
     
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  4. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Couldnt you book AA Explorer award? Far cheaper than doing it piece by piece.


    AUS - LAX - HKG - DPS - KUL - DEL - AMM - TXL - HEL - JFK - AUS // 24888 miles traveled; so 150k/230k for Bus/First

    I've never done it, but it just seems that finding space will be the most difficult part for this.
     
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  5. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    I'm pretty sure his OP is stating exactly that - "help me book a oneworld rtw". ;)
     
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  6. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    In that case I think you'd be the expert in that
     
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  7. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    Meant to ask for the same clarification from OP. It's ok, some agents don't know either! I booked a 220k in J this week, first agent I got attempted to tell me I couldn't cross the same ocean twice, which is a rule of the OW Explorer revenue tickets, but not of the AA Explorer ticket. My award is east, then west, then east, crossing the Atlantic twice and the Pacific twice, over 49k miles BIS, all perfectly legal. I agree, the rules are somewhat convoluted, e.g. I had to book the first two legs based purely on having to connect at one large airport instead of stopping over, as I wanted to stopover at the same airport later. There is very limited award space on the date I wanted to make the connection due to limited space on the much longer following international leg, so the routing begins rather strangely considering I live in MA as I have to go through the only airport that had a J award seat valid for a <4 hour connection. I'm also SPG Plat so I have a pretty good idea of what SPG hotels are where (I'll be at the St. Regis in SIN next month, just as an example). I've booked three Explorer awards myself but had to cancel the first two due to some serious local uprisings on a couple of the destinations. This one should stick though :D.
     
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  8. viguera
    Original Member

    viguera Gold Member

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    Subscribed, because I'm planning the exact same thing. My timeline will push me to OW as well, since I have the bulk of the miles with US and chances are I won't be booking before they leave *A.

    I'm scared about the 3 seats that I need though, although I hear that sometimes you can find 2 seats and the third "magically" appear, but obviously with this sort of enterprise you need certainty after you start booking things.
     
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  9. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    If you're flexible enough with flights and dates, you can generally find 3 J seats on enough flights to put together a solid routing.

    If you're looking for 3 F seats, you might just need a miracle though to put together a decent routing ;).
     
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  10. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    They do happen to be my favorite...!
     
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  11. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    Okay. That's a good start. I'm definitely going to use miles for this.

    In part. Also routing/booking tips and tricks, especially where other airlines come into play. I've got an EF subscription that I'll use to start piecing out what's available... my 330-day window should open in August.

    First question: Can I even think about booking if the window for the LAST flight isn't open? In other words, can I start booking, then add or change up to a point? We're going to look for something in July next year... and expand out from there if we have to.

    I'm imagining this is what my challenge will be, too - availability. From what I understand I can voluntarily downgrade to coach on segments if needed and get waitlisted for business class. Right?

    That's what I'm hoping to do.

    Currently thinking something like AUS-LAX-HKG-SIN-DEL-DXB-FRA-BCN-NYC-AUS @ 23072 mi with stops in HKG, SIN, DEL, DXB, FRA (or TXL) and BCN.
     
  12. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    Main issue here is that no legs of SIN-DEL-DXB-FRA have direct Oneworld service. With the Explorer award you can only use Oneworld partners. One simple workaround may be to substitute KUL for SIN, and take a cheap Air Asia flight from KUL to SIN and back. Connecting to FRA via AMM from DXB will help as well. Depending on your timeframe, if you can wait until QR joins Oneworld, and their award availability is decent enough, that would greatly add to your routing options.
     
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  13. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    I could connect back through, though, right? AUS-LAX-HKG-SIN-HKG-DEL-DOH-DXB-doh?-FRA

    Is there a good shorthand for which points I intend to stop at that would help the discussion here?
     
  14. DestinationDavid
    Original Member

    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    You'll need more than EF for this type of booking. Some carriers do not release availability to EF (CX being one of them). You should invest in BA/CX/QF FF accounts and use their systems to find space. Each carriers' system has its quirks (QF doesn't show MH availability accurately, or at all in some cases), so hop around depending on what you need.


    Yes and no. Once you ticket the reservation, your routings and carriers are locked in. No changes can be made. You can make date changes though. On occasion I've booked dates that were not what I wanted in the hopes that space on my desired dates would open. As long as the carrier and routing remain the same, you can change the date when space opens. Keep in mind that you only have a year of travel time available from the date you TICKET your reservation (not the date you start travel).

    As TheBOSman notes, you need to use OW carriers. You also need to count each leg and the distance traveled. So if you are trying to fly SIN-DXB you need to count the connection in KUL/HKG/SYD to accurately tabulate your mileage.

    I don't usually link to my blog but I wrote a guide on booking these awards. It might help to read through it as it addresses a lot of the basics (not the complex stuff though) of booking these awards: LINK.
     
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  15. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    You can make two connections in the same city as well as one stop over. Anything over that makes the award invalid.

    So this is legal:

    ORD-HKG-KUL(stop)-HKG-NRT(stop)-HKG(stop)-LHR


    This is not:

    ORD-HKG-KUL(stop)-HKG-PEK(stop)-HKG-SGN(stop)
     
  16. MSYgirl

    MSYgirl Gold Member

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    I don't have experience in the RTW arena to be of any help, but I just wanted to say what an awesome trip it sounds like you are taking (and what a lucky girl to have a dad like you!). I'm looking forward to booking my own RTW one day. I could do it sooner if you would be willing to adopt me, just sayin'. :D
     
  17. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    Well, I would pick the stopover points you want first. This is more about where YOU want to go, you just need to make the routing rules of the Explorer award work around this best as possible. You have a max of 16 segments, and it seems you'll be well under that here. You can connect back through any point, as an example from my award, it contains two connections through SYD and then a stopover. One connection is LAX-xSYD-ZQN, then ZQN-xSYD-DRW, these are in two different directions. Then, my stopover is DRW-SYD, followed by SYD-DFW. As long as you stay within the mileage limit of the award, you can go in any direction you want at any time.
     
  18. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Started reading your "rules". It's a great summary, though might take me awhile to fully absorb.
    One area that still puzzles me is breaking up a single explorer award into several manageable trips with stays at your home location in between. If I understand the rules correctly, returning to your home airport more than once would violate the stopover limit, right?
     
  19. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Westbound's better for night people and Eastbound for morning people. I'm definitely a westbounder.

    Just finished SFO-AKL-WLG-MEL-BKK-JNB-CPT-JNB-LHR-SFO. Sadly had to give up EZE, but I was bound to make only five of six continents anyway, so Europe won over South America this trip.

    Obviously this was a *A trip: NZ, TG, SA, and UA.
     
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  20. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think so. I've read a few things about this type. The trick that I've read is to come back "home" but it's not your home airport. (SFO instead of LAX). Then fly back to sfo to continue the trip a few months later
     
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  21. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Correct, so I stop over at other domestic US locations that tend to have cheap flights to my home. I'm ORD-based so flights to BOS/NYC/WAS tend to be very reasonable. So I'll stop over at ORD once, stop over at BOS the next time and buy a revenue ticket for $120 BOS-ORD-BOS. Next time I do JFK and again buy a cheap revenue ticket JFK-ORD-JFK. So for the award I'm in BOS/JFK, but in reality I've gone back to ORD and am living my life and working for the three months between legs.
     
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  22. Mike Reed

    Mike Reed Gold Member

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    This includes any transit through that airport, yes? So if I started at AUS and connected through DFW to somewhere (even though DFW wasn't the stop, just the connection), then through DFW to SAT (to not come back to AUS), I'd have burned my "twice through DFW" unless I STOPPED in DFW at some other point, yes?

    Good to know... as I can connect back to AUS from LAX, ORD, DFW, and JFK... and to SAT from ORD and DFW.

    That leads to another question: what about "direct" flights. Ex, AUS-ABQ is "direct" through DFW - same flight number. Does that count against me as a connection through DFW, even though it's not, really, by the way the flight would credit if a revenue flight?
     
  23. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Good question actually. I've never seen or encountered that issue, but others have.

    Based on their experiences, direct/through flights are treated as a single segment and the mileage is calculated without the stop as long as you ticket it as the direct flight and not individual segments.
     
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  24. mattsteg
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    mattsteg Gold Member

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    Nice thread. I don't have much to contribute, but with AA and US merging, if explorer awards remain in place at the merged airline I can definitely see putting together something similar.
     
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  25. TheBOSman

    TheBOSman Silver Member

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    It doesn't count as a connection as you aren't "connecting", i.e. changing flight numbers. As far as the routing is concerned, the stop on the direct flight doesn't exist. Not to keep beating my award up, but it actually has three direct flights in it. With 15 segments and an internal OJ as the 16th, the agent and the ticketing desk didn't blink an eye at the 3 direct flights and extra takeoffs/landings in it, even if it probably does have a record for most takeoffs and landings on one ticket since the 16-segment limit was instituted :eek: :D.
     
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