flySFO From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0 Posted (1 year 5 months 2 weeks 2 hours ago) and read 2659 times:
I am planning a post-graduation RTW trip with two of my friends for this coming summer. We want to spend about two weeks in South Pacific / Asia, and another two weeks in Europe. Our current plan is to use the Star Alliance RTW "Starlite" fare, under 26,000 miles for ~$4500 after taxes and fees. This special fare restricts you to 5 stopovers, but we are actually getting in 7 by staying under 24 hours in Sydney, and combining Singapore and Phuket into one stop by buying our own one-way flight from Singapore to Phuket (Silk Air, etc.). Right now, our tentative itinerary is:
SFO - AKL (NZ 744*), 4-5 days in New Zealand
AKL - SYD (NZ 772), 1 night in Sydney
SYD - SIN (SQ A388), 1 night in Singapore, separate flight to Phuket, 3 days in Phuket
HKT - PEK via. BKK (TG A333, TG 744), 3-4 days in Beijing/China
PEK - NRT (NH 763), 4-5 days in Tokyo/Japan
NRT - FRA (NH 788), ~2 weeks going around Europe on our own
FRA - JFK (LH A388)
In the end, this comes in at 25,968 miles, 32 under the limit. We were planning on getting our own final leg JFK - SFO, estimating ~$200 for that.
*We had debated starting in LAX and flying NZ 777-300 but it sounds like the 10 across in economy is a bad idea.
1. I've heard contradicting reports on whether or not you can earn United miles for such a RTW fare, can anyone confirm/deny?
2. Is using an alliance RTW fare the best idea, or is there a reason to look at third-party RTW options i.e. AirTreks?
3. Overall thoughts on itinerary/airlines/aircraft/destinations?
Any and all thoughts, suggestions, and comments are appreciated!
TravelR From Australia, joined Sep 2010, 95 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2520 times:
You should be able to earn 100% mileage on the itinerary as mostly booked in H class for the Star Alliance special 26k fare. I think Star Alliance offer a good fare as have used the higher mileage RTW and worked well for the destinations I wanted. You might to get the ticket issued on NZ as they charge lower taxes as cannot calculate other airline's fuel surcharges as they usually include it on their own fares. You could do FRA/JFK on SQ instead as they offer a better product than LH as I had changed my flight from LH to SQ as soon as they put the A380 on that route.
Yes, you stipulate which carrier you want to issue your ticket during the booking process.
If you're booking through an agent make sure that they ticket with who you want it to be ticketed by. I'm still slightly pi**ed with the Flight Centre ticketing department for an incident a couple of years ago when they ticketed on SQ even though they were told to do it on UA stock. I told my agent I wanted it on UA, and he phoned their ticketing department while I was there and was assured it would be. Neither of us bothered to check.
I don't want to pry, but why bother even going to Sydney if only for one night? If you flew AKL-SIN that would save you some mileage and a stop which you could use to avoid paying another leg out of pocket.
I flew NZ as my last legs even though I started with SQ and issued them on NZ as I knew the taxes would be significantly lower. The only problem you may encounter is if the ticket needs to be re-issued in any way (re-routing) you may need to pay these extra taxes if the airline re-calculates this.
In regards to SQ vs LH, I think the service was very good on SQ SYD/SIN as well as their entertainment system that I really wanted to go SQ over LH due to this. I also liked how you could also choose seats upstairs with SQ in economy class which was nicer than sitting downstairs as less people. Not sure if SQ still operate this configuration as they have gone all business upstairs on some their A380 services.
However your call if you wish to try more carriers.
MEA-707 From Netherlands, joined Nov 1999, 4439 posts, RR: 34
Reply 7, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 2346 times:
I find these RTW fares usually not all that attractive.
I think if you make two separate trips, for instance an open jaw to AKL or SIN returning from NRT (enough affordable one ways or multi-stops between these two cities) and later to Europe you'll get more for your buck.
I just searched an open jaw on random dates; SFO-AKL returning NRT-SFO is doable for about $1200 with Delta/Virgin Australia.
I would just mess around a bit with booking engines and you'll find out there are so many more options besides RTW.
nobody has ever died from hard work, but why take the risk?
gabrielchew From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2005, 3598 posts, RR: 10
Reply 9, posted (1 year 5 months 1 week 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 2187 times:
Make sure that the open jaw doen't could as 2 separate stops (e.g. SIN and HKT).
I bought the *A RTW fare back in 2003....it was brilliant! IIRC it was around GBP 1400 inc tax ($2300), so much cheaper than what they are selling today, and I was allowed 15 stops (?) and up to 24 sectors up to 26k miles. I got it ticketed by NH on paper, and had the most enormous wad of tickets
My route was LHR-CPH-ORD-MSP-DEN-LAX-NRT...HIJ-HND...NRT-PEK...HKG-BKK-HAN...BKK-BWN-SIN-DXB-FRA-VIE-TSR-VIE-PRG-CPH-LHR
Whilst the * ticket does give lots of miles and flexibility, I don't think it represents a great deal with the current fares....i'm sure you can find individual flights for less (although you may need to alter your itinerary a bit.
China is offering a visa free transit when you spend less than 72 hours in either Beijing or Shanghai (but only within city limits, no hopping about) when going from one country to another via China. If you can organise your flight within 72 hours, you'll save having to buy a visa.
copter808 From United States of America, joined Dec 2000, 1246 posts, RR: 3
Reply 11, posted (1 year 4 months 4 weeks 1 day 4 hours ago) and read 1914 times:
I would sure spend more than 24 hours in SYD! Been there several times and have always loved it. You can get a transportation pass (don't remember what it's called) for about $45 which gives unlimited rides on the ferries, buses, and trains within the SYD area. Spend at least a day riding the ferries and viewing the harbor. Be sure to go all the way up to Parametta.
As some others have indicated, there may be cheaper ways to do the trip if you don't mind doing extra homework. For example last fall a friend of mine started planning a trip to Thailand. She found a $500+ trip ORD-MUC-BOM (LH), returning BOM-EWR-ORD (UA). Another $100 got her to BKK .
If you're really adventurous, why not try going part of the way by train? London to Singapore for example, spending time in the EU in the process.
fbgdavidson From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 3745 posts, RR: 27
Reply 14, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 1761 times:
Quoting gabrielchew (Reply 9): I bought the *A RTW fare back in 2003....it was brilliant! IIRC it was around GBP 1400 inc tax ($2300), so much cheaper than what they are selling today, and I was allowed 15 stops (?) and up to 24 sectors up to 26k miles. I got it ticketed by NH on paper, and had the most enormous wad of tickets
Hehe, I recall a similar thing when I used a OW Explorer ticket in 2008. It had to be handwritten at my local AA outstation because it was 19 sectors and the e-ticket limitations were for 16 sectors. The outstation (RIC) didn't have any paper stock so they had to get it flown in and there was only one member of staff who knew how to write the things. It took her 8 hours to do!
I managed to get just shy of 54,000 flown miles off that one ticket and plenty of trip report material too!
"My first job was selling doors, door to door, that's a tough job innit" - Bill Bailey
You might also consider purchasing a RTW fare that originates in another country. With a bit of advance planning (cheap one-way ticket or award ticket to origin, and throwaway segment at the end so you get back to your home country), you can often fly in business class for close to (or cheaper than) what a US-originating Y RTW fare costs. With just a bit of searching, I was able to find a CRTWSTAR1 fare originating from ADD for ~$7,500 usd, and I'm sure there are cheaper options out there. Depending on the point of origin, a CRTWSTAR1 fare can vary in cost by $5,000 or more.
Some common (in the past) cheap origination points for RTW fares include CAI, CGK and TPE. There used to be regularly updated spreadsheets available online that kept track of cheapest origination point for *A, OW and ST RTW fares, but I haven't seen those updated in a while.
You may want to ask your question in the Star Alliance forum on FlyerTalk. Lots of people over there with experience purchasing foreign-originating *A RTW fares.
flySFO From United States of America, joined Apr 2011, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 16, posted (1 year 4 months 3 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 1680 times:
Quoting whiskeyhotel (Reply 15): You might also consider purchasing a RTW fare that originates in another country.
The only way I got my current itinerary under 26,000 miles is by starting on US west coast, ending on US east coast (saving a couple thousand miles along the way). Unfortunately, starting in AKL would require traversing the US and there is no way to get under 26,000 miles.