Sunday, April 26, 2009
A year after the last big Japan trip, a few people had come up with some plans for the summer of 2009. Kim had an opportunity to learn acupuncture in China, and Daniel was going to Bali for a pharmacy conference. I thought, hey, why not try to make a trip to both China and Bali. I already made some new friends from a business trip to Indonesia earlier, so I could get some pointers from them for Bali. In the end, it was only Kim and her boyfriend, Dan, would be the only ones going to China and Bali, but anyways, we all had our own separate itinerary. I had racked up a lot of American Airlines miles, and wanted to put it to work. Anyways, the cost of flying to Beijing, then to Bali, and back home to L.A. would be 100k miles, 70k for an asian roundtrip, and 30k for a one way (It would cost almost $3k if I purchased it). I noticed on the itinerary that there were layovers in Tokyo and Hong Kong, and asked if I could spend a few days there. The answer was no, not on this type of travel, you can not have stop overs. However, I was then pointed to something called One World Award, where One World is a group of airlines around the globe, where I can travel to as many destinations using a fixed amount of credit/miles. The way it works is that I can visit as many destinations that the One World Alliance flies to, and the cost depends on the distance it takes to fly to all those destinations. For example, a Zone 6 award allows you to travel between 14k-20k actual miles, for a single cost. A mile over 20k, then you need a zone 7. So using the One World Itinerary generator, I was able to create an itinerary which is about 19,900 miles (tried to get as close to 20k without going over) in actual distance, and it only cost 100k miles. This allowed me to visit Tokyo, Oita, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Jakarta, for just 100k miles, the cost of visiting just Beijing and Jakarta on a normal award. As I went to book this, the final segment did not have anymore reward flights available....but this was only on economy. If I booked Business class, which cost an additional 30k miles(the price of a domestic ticket), I can have business class ALL the way. And this was available, and so it was done. My plans were set, and I was ready for a memorable East Asian trip.