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Old Apr 26, 17, 5:56 pm   #1
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Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: SNA, VCE
Programs: AA Lifetime Platinum, Hyatt Plat, Marriott Gold, United
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Around The World on Miles and Points!

My wife and I just completed a 27 night trip around the globe, flying First and Business and staying at 4 or 5 * hotels using points and miles for 90% of the expenses. This amazing trip would never have been possible without the information and advice I found in this and other valuable forums; thank you to everyone who contributed!

The details:
LAX-HKG -JNB Cathay Pacific First Class booked through Alaska using miles earned through sign up bonuses and business spend. Booked one J and one F seat 330 days out, checked JAL website for F availability and was able to find and upgrade the J ticket to F 11 days out. We were the only two people in First Class cabin for a 16 hour flight; Krug and caviar to start the trip!

Four nights Hyatt Regency Hong Kong on free stopover allowed by CX ticket. Club level rooms booked using combination Hyatt and UR points.
JNB-HDS South Africa Airlines paid with Barclay’s Arrival Plus and fully reimbursed by sign up bonus.

Klaserie River Sands Camp three nights game lodge safari. The only segment paid out of pocket, and completely worth it.

HDS-CPT
South Africa Airlines paid with Arrival Plus, fully reimbursed.
Five nights African Pride 15 on Orange, Protea Hotel affiliated with Marriott, used free night from Marriott Business card plus four nights booked with combined Marriott and SPG points. Marriott Gold status earned through AMEX Platinum enabled an upgrade to a Table Mountain view Suite.

CPT-JNB-ADD-SEZ
South Africa and Ethiopian Air Business Class booked using Aeroplan miles earned from TD Aeroplan Visa sign up bonus and additional MR points transferred in.

Four nights Hilton Northolm Seychelles Resor
t booked using two free nights from Citi Hilton Reserve bonus plus points from Citi Hilton and AMEX Honors sign up bonuses. Upgraded to Ocean Front Villa with Hilton Gold status earned through AMEX Plat.

Ferry from Mahe Island to La Digue Business Class, paid with BofA Travel Rewards and fully reimbursed.

Two nights La Digue Holiday Resort, paid with BofA Travel Rewards and fully reimbursed. Ferry back to Mahe Island for next flight, same.

SEZ-CDG Air Seychelles Business Class. I had originally booked flights through IST on Turkish, but found this non-stop overnight flight that could be booked through Etihad Guest Miles. Etihad had just become a transfer partner for AMEX MR and was offering a 25% bonus for transfers, allowing me to cancel the Turkish flights and book Air Seychelles.

Four nights Park Hyatt Vendome , Paris booked using two free nights from Chase Hyatt Visa sign up bonus, plus UR points transferred to Hyatt. Upgraded to Balcony King with Explorist Status gained through Hyatt Platinum/Mlife Gold/Hyatt Explorist Tier status match.

CDG-LHR-SAN British Air First Class booked with AA miles. Painful Fuel Surcharges ($850 total, ) of this redemption offset by looking up cash price of the tickets ($16,430.) Alternative routes using IB or Finnish to save surcharges involved several stops and two days, so direct flights were worth the fees in this case.

What I learned on this trip: be flexible and research every possible way of getting where and what you want, then keep looking even after you book. I have been churning and burning since 1993, so this was not my first rodeo, but you can always learn more and better ways to redeem if you keep looking and asking.
Already stockpiling miles/points in several different programs for the next trip!
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Old Apr 27, 17, 2:18 am   #2
  
Join Date: Sep 2011
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Wow that is quite impressive, are you going to post more about the holiday?
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Old Apr 27, 17, 5:25 pm   #3
  
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outstanding and very impressed !
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Old Apr 28, 17, 5:50 pm   #4
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Originally Posted by wtcmor View Post
Wow that is quite impressive, are you going to post more about the holiday?
I am happy to answer any questions about specific places/flights/redemptions. I just thought the original post was pretty long and I wasn't sure which parts people would be interested in....it was an epic trip and there is a lot to talk about.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 8:03 am   #5
  
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Originally Posted by Soulag View Post
I am happy to answer any questions about specific places/flights/redemptions. I just thought the original post was pretty long and I wasn't sure which parts people would be interested in....it was an epic trip and there is a lot to talk about.
I think people would be quite interested with all parts of this journey. I am looking forward to reading of your experience on Air Seychelles.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 9:01 am   #6
  
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Please post a detailed pictures and comments! It's easy to go from trip report to brag report otherwise
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Old Apr 29, 17, 9:41 am   #7
  
Join Date: Jul 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulag View Post
I am happy to answer any questions about specific places/flights/redemptions. I just thought the original post was pretty long and I wasn't sure which parts people would be interested in....it was an epic trip and there is a lot to talk about.
I am sure that many of us would love to read more about your trip.
Your first post is such a tease.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 12:58 pm   #8
  
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Originally Posted by roadwarrier View Post
I am sure that many of us would love to read more about your trip.
Your first post is such a tease.
Indeed. Photos in particular would be welcome.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 3:27 pm   #9
  
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Mrs. jmj9905 and I are going to South Africa for the first time in Sept. Would love to hear about your sfari experiences.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 6:52 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by Vaterland View Post
I think people would be quite interested with all parts of this journey. I am looking forward to reading of your experience on Air Seychelles.
Air Seychelles was interesting; the lounge in Mahe was okay, with basic food and beverages available self serve, but the best part was the shower in a private room off the bathroom that allowed to us to wash the heat and humidity off before changing for the flight to Paris.

The hard product was a bit outdated; angle flat seats in a 2x2x2 layout in Business which made sleeping a little difficult, food was forgettable (I have literally forgotten what they served for dinner.) . Service was spotty, as the head steward was very friendly and helpful but the other FA's seemed a little undertrained.
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Old Apr 29, 17, 9:24 pm   #11
  
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Pics please? Highly interested just book Cathay to JNB and EY return.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 2:38 pm   #12
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Originally Posted by jmj9905 View Post
Mrs. jmj9905 and I are going to South Africa for the first time in Sept. Would love to hear about your sfari experiences.
We chose the Klaserie Game Reserve because it is a private reserve with an unfenced border with Krugur Park and only a couple of lodges that have traversing rights. While the game sightings were less predictable (we never saw any lions in six game drives!), when we did find something interesting, like a herd of elephants feasting on the trees all around us, or a pack of wild dogs on a hunt, we were the only vehicle on site, and could stay with the animals as long as we wanted.

The Klaserie Sands River Camp was perfect, on a watering hole with an infinity pool overlooking it, and only five rooms.
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Old Apr 30, 17, 6:46 pm   #13
  
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This sounds like an incredible journey, I only wish there was an actual trip report with it.
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Old May 1, 17, 3:12 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by NoLaGent View Post
This sounds like an incredible journey, I only wish there was an actual trip report with it.
Sorry, still busy catching up at work from taking a month off, and haven't gathered all the photos in one place yet; more to come!
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Old May 3, 17, 10:02 pm   #15
  
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I'm looking to fly MEL/SYD - HKG(CX J) and HKG-SFO(CX F). Do they allow mixed cabin awards? How many AS miles did it cost you to book the initial mixed cabin flights?
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