4 tricks for an extreme low cost Round-the-World trip using 50,000 Miles and $357

Posted on April 9, 2015 by in American Airlines AAdvantage, Best use of Cathay Pacific / Asia Miles, TOP Travel Destinations, United Mileage Plus


Do you have 50,000 United MileagePlus miles (United is a 1:1 Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner) and $357? If so, let me show you how to build a travel-hacking round-the-world trip.

Trick #1 – Fly WOW air to Reykjavik, Iceland

WOW air continues to file one-way flights sub-$200 (one-way) during summer from Boston and Baltimore.


I checked yesterday and found a number of dates with such fares.


Reykjavik is a charming place to visit and the Blue Lagoon is a once-in-a-lifetime sight.

Also, Norwegian has a good number of flights from the West Coast & East Coast to Northern Europe for under $200 one-way.

WOW air and Norwegian both have a number of cheap flights within Europe that you can take advantage of to see more of Europe.

Alternatively, you can use 15,000 United MileagePlus miles to go anywhere in Europe (e.g. the Azores).


Trick #2 – Use 15,000 United MileagePlus miles from anywhere in Europe (incl. Iceland) to Novosibirsk


Novosibirsk is as far east as Star Alliance and 15,000 United MileagePlus miles can take you from Europe. It’s in the middle of Siberia!

If you would like to stay there, you need to apply for a Russian visa. Right now, a 3-year visa can be had for just under $200.

However, if you are just transiting under 24 hours, you won’t need a visa.

Trick #3 – Use the ruble crisis to your advantage and fly from Novosibirsk to Hong Kong for just $157


S7 sells direct flights to Hong Kong for just $157 one-way. Alternatively, you can use Avios for this route. S7 has excellent availability!

Trick #4 – Use the AA Award Chart to your advantage

In winter, American Airlines charges just 25,000 miles for the one-way in economy from Japan, South Korea or Mongolia. This price is good on Japan Airlines to anywhere in America from Japan or South Korea.

From Hong Kong, it is an easy 7,500 – 10,000 Avios redemption to Japan with Dragonair, Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific.

On the other hand, you can use 40,000 United MileagePlus miles direct from Hong Kong.



So here is what we would plan on spending on such a trip:

– WOW air (or Norwegian) < $200
– (Optional – WOW air within Europe – under $100 round-trip to many destinations)
15,000 United MileagePlus to Novosibirsk
$157 to Hong Kong
10,000 Avios to Japan
25,000 AAdvantage miles to the US

That’s just 50,000 miles and $357 for a trip around the world with lots of places to see!

While you are in these places, you can do any number of side trips using a combination of cash and miles.

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