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In March of this year, my wife and I took a trip around the world, flying (almost) the whole way in first class cabins.  I’ve written about almost all of the individual legs before, but wanted to have a spot to highlight the entire trip together

Planning my First Class RTW trip

I first started planning a Round the World (RTW) trip back in September 2015.  It took awhile to finally get all the award space, but with some luck of Japan Airlines first class space opening up, we ended up with the following itinerary

  • 67,500 American AAdvantage miles to fly CVG-ORD-NRT-HKG (19 hour layover)-SIN on American, Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific (red)
  • 100,000 Alaska miles to fly SIN-DXB (stopover)-JFK on Emirates First Class (blue)
  • 4,500 British Airways Avios to fly JFK-CVG (green)

Total price in miles was 172,000 miles, though literally ALL 3 of those prices have since devalued, which just goes to show that you need to jump on any good deals before they’re gone.

JAL First Class from Chicago to Japan

Upon arrival early in the morning at CVG, we stopped at one of the worst airport lounges out there – the Club at CVG.  Our first flight of the day was nothing special – a regional jet to Chicago.  After a brief stop at the AA Flagship Lounge in Chicago and both of the ORD Admiral’s Clubs, we boarded for a first class flight on Japan Airlines from Chicago to Tokyo


We only had a layover of a few hours in Tokyo, so we didn’t get to leave the airport, but we did visit the Japan Airlines first class lounge in Tokyo Narita airport

JAL and Cathay Pacific Business Class from Japan to Singapore (via Hong Kong)

Although we had booked the itinerary as first class (paying 67,500 American miles pre-devaluation), the planes that Japan Airlines and Cathay Pacific used to fly from Tokyo to Singapore only had business class, so we flew in Japan Airlines Business Class from Tokyo to Hong Kong.

We had about a 19 hour overnight layover in Hong Kong.  We snagged an amazing upgrade at the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui hotel


and then took a brief walking tour around the Tsim Sha Tsui area of Hong Kong

and then sampled every Cathay Pacific business class lounge in HKG before continuing on Cathay Pacific business class from Hong Kong to Singapore.

3 days in Singapore (and Malaysia)

During our time in Singapore, we stayed at the Conrad Centennial Singapore – using our 2 free nights from the Citi Hilton Reserve card.


While in Singapore we crossed the border from Singapore to Malaysia and then crossed the border back from Malaysia to Singapore, staying overnight at the Doubletree Johor Bahru

(SEE ALSO: [REVIEW] Doubletree Johor Bahru: How is this only a Category 2 hotel!?!)

We had a great time in Singapore (and I still owe a post on the things we did there) – here are 6 amazing pictures from our time in Singapore


Emirates First Class from Singapore to Dubai

At the end of our journeys in Singapore, we visited the Emirates lounge in the Singapore airport before boarding our Emirates First Class flight from Singapore to Dubai.  That flight was “only” on a 777, so it didn’t have the onboard shower that you get in Emirates First Class on a double-decker A380.

Carolyn on Emirates First Class

Carolyn on Emirates First Class

In Dubai, we had a disappointing stay at the Radisson Dubai Deira Creek.

Emirates First Class from Dubai to New York

Because our flight from Dubai to New York left at 2 a.m., we didn’t get a hotel for our last night in Dubai.  We arrived at the Dubai airport in the evening, but ran into a problem trying to check-in to our flight

(SEE ALSO: Don’t you DARE try to check in at 6 pm)

We eventually made our way to the completely and totally Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai Airport, where we stayed for a few hours.


Then it was time to board our double-decker A380 plane for our Emirates First Class flight from Dubai to New York


Of course I had to try the onboard shower


This is the post where I got several comments about wearing a T-shirt in first class, leading me to ask: Should you dress up when flying first class?  That post generated some of the angriest comments I’ve ever gotten on a post!

We traveled around the world in first class cabins on a round the world flight for pennies on the dollar using airline miles

This was am amazing trip and given the recent devaluations to flying first class using American and Alaska miles, it’s probably not one that I’ll get back to taking any time soon.

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