Mexico, USA, Asia and Europe - Tina's Hop around the world

Tina has a bunch of places to visit and a bucketload of points in various programs. She got in touch with me through the Travel Hacking Cartel and their new Booking Concierge Service to find out if and how she can make this work.

If you want to join the Travel Hacking Cartel to learn the best ways to earn and spend points and miles, you can start a free trial here.

If you want to hire A Whistle & A Light for your very own personal Flight Search Concierge, get in touch with us here.

Trip Breakdown

Trip 1 - California to Seattle

SJC,OAK or SFO to SEA - 17th Nov +/- 3 Days
SEA to SJC,OAK,SFO - 1st Dec +/- 3 days

Trip 2 - California to Mexico to Michigan to Sri Lanka to India

SJC, OAK or SFO to SJD - 12th Dec
SJD to (DTW or FNT)12/19 could stay a couple days longer depending on cost
(DTW or FNT) to DEL (one way) with a layover in CMB for 7-14 days
depart DTW/FNT 1/1/16 (give or take a couple days) Need to arrive in India (DEL) by 1/14/16

Trip 3 - India to Germany to Hungary & back to India

DEL to NUE… depart 4/12/16 return 5/17/16(give or take a couple of days)
NUE to BUD between 4/28-4/30

Budget & Points Inventory

Delta Skymiles - 18,633
American Airlines AAdvantage - 57,661
Alaska Miles - 15,281
United - 550
Barclaycard arrival+ - 21,264
Hawaiian airlines - 35,471 (will have 70k+ 11/1/2015)
Southwest Airlines - 2,706

Cash Budget - $2000

The 5 we can focus on are Delta, AA, Alaska, Hawaiian and maybe Barclaycard. The rest are not quite enough for us to use unless you use the Travel Hacking Cartel to find out how to gain more points in those programs

Miles & Points Strategy

Since this is such a complicated trip, you may need to break down each piece into its individual stopovers as such:

  • Nth Cali - Seattle-Nth Cali - 17th Dec
  • Nth Cali - Mexico
  • Mexico - Michigan
  • Michigan - Sri Lanka
  • Sri Lanka - India
  • India - Germany
  • Germany-Hungary-Germany
  • Germany-India

Program Award Charts

A Quick Note About Routing Rules

Whenever you are doing a trip like this it pays to lookup the award program's routing rules as you may be able to snag a Stopover or an Open Jaw Ticket to see two destinations on one award.

In our case really only Alaska provides stopover opportunities and we don't have quite enough to make the best use of that anyway unfortunately. It pays to be aware of the Routing Rules in general though.

Below we will go over some possible ways to use your miles for this trip.

Nth Cali - Seattle - Nth Cali (17 Nov - 1 Dec)

Alaska is 25k miles so probably a little steep and over your budget.

You could try using Hawaiian Miles for 30,000 miles on American Airlines. Gotta book over the phone

15k miles on Delta Return

However It looks like Delta is your best bet.

  • You could get a Roundtrip for as little as 15,000 miles from SFO

My suggestion though is to get a one way to Seattle for 7,500 miles and come back on Alaska. See the next section, Nth Cali to Mexico for those details.

7,500 miles one way to Seattle

Nth Cali - Mexico (Dec 12)

Since you are already in Seattle and Alaska offers an amazing stopover option for one way tickets, you can actually get Seattle back to San Francisco on Dec 1st then from San Fran on to Cabo on the 11th all on the one ticket for the same amount of miles. See images below for how to search this on the Alaska Multi City tool.

How to search and add a stopover on Alaska

17.5k miles for two destinations on one award.

Maybe try earning just a couple more Alaska Miles (Rocketmiles is a good way?) and using those? Otherwise you might have to use the American miles which would be valuable to get you to Asia/India.

Alternatively, if you chose to skip this whole first trip above and just wanted to go from SFO to Mexico, you have the following options.

AA

OAK-PDX-SAN-SJD (AS) = 17.5k miles
SFO-PHX-SJD (AA) = 17.5k miles
SJC-PHX-SJD = ""
SFO-DFW-SJD = ""

Alaska

STS-LAX-SJD (AS) = 17.5k miles +$26 **(Note this is from Santa Rosa)
SJC-PHX-SJD (AA) = 17.5k miles +$26

You would also need more Alaska Miles to do this.

Delta

OAK-LAX-SJD (DL,AS) = 17.5k miles + $26

 

Mexico-Michigan (19 Dec)

Alaska flights route to DTW via SEA, FNT and they route through Lansing (LAN) via SEA and MSP. Not great. 25k miles and up one way anyway

BarclayCard

You can redeem Barclay points to get a rebate on travel expenses at 100 points = $1. There is a flight on Momondo showing One way SJD-FNT on Dec 19 for $234 USD. Redeeming your barclay points for that would make the flight only cost you $20?

AA

14-15-16 Dec = 17.5k miles
24/25 Dec = 17.5k miles

Delta

19,20,21 Dec = 17.5k miles + $60

Michigan - Sri Lanka (Jan 1)

AA doesn't let you have stopovers on award tickets so you will have to just fly to Sri Lanka then onwards from there. They are showing good availability right now if you search for the gateway connection on British Airways. So to find the gateway connection means to find a route that flies from where you are to where you are going using FlightConnections or AA's Route Map and then use BA Executive Club to search availability from the last connection city in North America. In this case it would be Chicago (ORD).  Would be best to call up to book that award.

ORD-PEK-CMB - Availability. 35k miles with AAdvantage. Call AA and add DTW-ORD then tell them these flight numbers and dates to book whole thing.

AA

35,000 mles
DTW-ORD-PEK-CMB January 3rd
Search availability on BA Exec Club

Leaving Nth America connecting in Asia 2 landing in Asia 2 means it prices out as 2 region award and all for 35,000. Not bad,

Sri Lanka - India (Jan 14)

You could fly this leg on your AA Miles. Asia 2 to Middle East = 22,500 miles one way and a one way flight is available on your dates with Sri Lankan Air. You have juuuust enough points to get both this and the Trip over with American Airlines miles.

Asia 2 (Sri Lanka) to India is 22,500. Annoying because they are so close but still good.

Good Old BA shows us there are flights available right now.

India - Germany - India (Apr 17 - May 19)

Quick Points Check

So we have burned a bunch of miles to get around which is amazing. Doing all those things with cash would have cost a LOT of money. If you followed the above suggestions, here is what your points balance would be at.

Delta Skymiles - 11,000
American Airlines AAdvantage - 100
Alaska Miles - 0
Hawaiian airlines - 70,000
Southwest Airlines - 2,706

Options Left

Hawaiian Airlines Partners with Virgin Atlantic which could fly you Delhi to London for 80,000 Hawaiian Miles round trip, but that only gets you to London not Germany?

Only options left really then are paid flights. Looks like there are some for around $800 on Google Flights?

Not too bad?

Germany - Hungary - Germany (Apr 28-30)

Super  cheap flights available from Germany to Hungary Round Trip! Check out Google Flights and don't forget to credit your miles to a program you are already in! (Germanwings, Lufthansa and Swiss all can go to United).

No Delta or Hawaiian partners operate that flight so you couldn't use them unfortunately.

Super cheap intra-europe flights

Summary

  • Nth Cali - Seattle-Nth Cali
    • SFO-SEA
      • Nov 17th
      • 7,500 Delta Miles ($6 fees)
      • Search and book on Delta
  • Nth Cali - Mexico
    • SEA-SFO, SFO-SJD
      • Dec 1st, Dec 11th
      • 17,500 Alaska Miles (Need to earn 2,000 more) (~$40 in fees)
      • Search and book on Alaska Multi-City
  • Mexico - Michigan
    • SJD-FNT
      • Dec 19
      • $234 (-$211 rebate from Barclaycard) = $23.00
      • Book on Momondo, rebate through Barclaycard
  • Michigan - Sri Lanka
    • DTW-ORD-PEK-CMB
      • Jan 3
      • 35,000 AA miles (Maybe around $200 in fees?)
      • Search on BA and book over the phone with AA
  • Sri Lanka - India
    • CMB-DEL
      • Jan 13
      • 22,500 AA Miles (Maybe $100 in fees?)
      • Search on BA and book over the phone with AA
  • India - Germany
    • DEL-NUE-DEL
      • Apr 17-May 19
      • $808
      • Google flights or other Online Travel Agent
  • Germany-Hungary-Germany
    • NUE-BUD
      • Apr 28-May 1
      • $191
      • Google flights or other Online Travel Agent

GRAND TOTAL - Points and CasH

Delta Skymiles = 7,500
AAdvantage = 57,500
Alaska = 17,500
Barclaycard = 211,000
Cash = ~$1500

If you have any tips, suggestions, questions or concerns, please feel free to add them in the comments section below.

Happy Travel Hacking folks!

Matt