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Travelling round the world is an ambitious goal, and one that many people have.  I mean, there’s a whole book about it, right?  It’s something that is certainly on my travel bucket list, and I’d imagine on other people’s as well.

round-the-world-flights-delta-airplaneDelta Round the World flights

Delta Round the World flights were recently discontinued, and will not be offered after January 1, 2015

US Airways

The only information that I could find about a US Airways Round the World ticket came from Travel is Free, who said that it costs 200,000 / 300,000 / 400,000 miles in economy / business / first, and you get 6 stops, 10 segments, and must follow the same direction.  I could not find any official page on usairways.com mentioning this, so I am not sure if it is still active.  Even if it is, its days are numbered as US Airways and American complete their merger some time in 2015.

United Airlines Round the World award

Travelling round the world on United will set you back 200,000 miles in Economy, 350,000 in Business class, and 450,000 in First class.  You get 6 stops and 16 segments, and again, must follow one direction (however that’s defined).

round-the-world-flights-americanAmerican Airlines Round the World flights

American Airlines used to offer a pretty awesome flight award called an Explorer Award that allowed up to 16 segments for a very reasonable amount of miles – unfortunately, back in April, they eliminated the ability to book those overnight with no advance notice (the same time they eliminated the free stopover in the North American gateway city, which we used to help a family of 5 get to Berlin for free on miles)

Air Canada Book and Fly

Air Canada has a section on their award chart page for Round the World awards – they charge 200,000 / 300,000 / 400,000 miles and the terms are:

  • A maximum of five stopovers and one open jaw are permitted per reward on allowable routings.
  • A maximum of one stopover is permitted in any one city.
  • Travel must commence from and return to the same country, and return cannot go beyond the point of origin.
  • Must include one transatlantic and one transpacific crossing.

round-the-world-flights-lufthansa-logoLufthansa Round the World flights

Lufthansa also offers Round the World awards.

  • Economy Class: 180,000 miles
  • Business Class: 325,000 miles
  • First Class: 480,000 miles

The terms and conditions are:

  • A Round the World Flight Award ticket includes one Atlantic and one Pacific crossing.
  • A maximum of ten flight segments (maximum of nine connecting flights) is allowed.
  • There must be an interval of at least ten days between the start of the first intercontinental flight and the start of the last intercontinental flight.
  • A Round the World Flight Award ticket remains valid for twelve months once issued.
  • A maximum of seven stopovers is allowed.

Korean Air

With Delta eliminating their Round the World award tickets, Korean Air is a possibility for redeeming a Round the World ticket.  Korean Air’s SkyPass Round the World award ticket costs 140,000 miles in Economy and 220,000 miles in Business.

You get 3 stopovers, and you can do an additional stopover in each of 3 geographical areas:

  • Area 1: North/South America
  • Area 2 : Europe/Africa/Middle East
  • Area 3 : Asia/Oceania

You must also transit the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean one time each, and the original departure city cannot be used as a stopover to a final destination in the same country.  Korean says that you can not use Round the World tickets during “blackout” periods, and from what I’ve heard, those can be pretty tough to get around.

Distance-based charts

Some of the distance-based charts have sort of a defacto Round the World chart.  With ANA’s distance-based award chart, you get up to 50,000 miles flown for 200,000 redeemed miles in Economy Class (or 300,000 / 450,000 for Business and First).  50,000 miles can actually fly you around the world TWICE (depending on how you do it).  The only problem . I really enjoyed reading The Trip of a Million Lifetimes, a round the world trip which used an ANA award (as well as the now-defunct oneWorld explorer award).

With British Airways, they price the segments out each individually, so it really depends on your routing.  A simple ORD-LHR-NRT-ORD around the world would cost you 35,000 miles for each of the 3 segments, or 105,000 total.

Round the World trips that aren’t “Round the World” award tickets

Even without an actual “Round the World” ticket, you can get a lot of value from just regular award tickets.  Probably the best-known example is on a US Airways ticket to North Asia, which cost 60,000 miles in Economy (or 110,000 / 120,000 in Business or First).  Because US Airways doesn’t have any restrictions on routing, you can route via Europe one-way and turn this into a round the world flight.  You can even take your European destination as a stopover!

This flight is only 60,000 miles on US Air! (plus it makes the map look weird :-D )

This flight is only 60,000 miles on US Air! (plus it makes the map look weird 😀 )

Fuel surcharges

One thing to watch out for on these tickets (as with all award tickets) is fuel surcharges.  Especially if you’re buying special “Round the World Flights” tickets – after paying all those miles, the last thing that you want is to pay is a ton of extra cash on top of that.

Your usual suspects are the flights that you’re looking for – most of the US carriers, LOT Polish, Air New Zealand, etc.

Ever been around the world?  How was it?

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