We’re back with another trip booking and insight into our booking process and thoughts!
Our addiction with Asia and Australia brought us back across the Pacific this coming August. Europe was highly considered but there are not many flight deals or good redemptions to Europe at the moment so we decided to go west!
Leg 1: San Diego, California to Seoul, South Korea
Japan and South Korea were on the list for the first leg and unfortunately, we booked too late and lost a great award flight from Chicago to Tokyo on ANA in First Class. Even though we lost out on this, we were still able to find decent availability to South Korea.
Using the United Award Portal, we found availability in Business Class on Asiana Airlines on their new flagship Airbus A350-900. This required 80,000 miles and $5.60 USD to book. This was transferred from Chase at a. 1:1 points transfer ratio. Looking at this flight in cash, it costs $4,000 USD one way and with points, it costs $1,600 (Chase points valued at 2.1 cents according to TPG). That’s a nice savings for the long, 12.5 hour flight.
Leg 2: Seoul, South Korea to Brisbane, Australia
I have a crazy love for Australia and after already visiting Sydney and Melbourne, I had to check off another major city, Brisbane.
I recently signed up for the Delta American Express Platinum card which was offering a 70,000 miles welcome bonus. After hitting that, I decided to see what availability the SkyTeam Alliance had outside the US. I was in luck.
After much perusing, I found a great option to Brisbane on China Airlines. As part of the SkyTeam Alliance, I was able to fly Business Class from Seoul to Taipei then Taipei to Brisbane. I also have a full afternoon layover so I’ll probably spend a partial day in Taipei which is a plus.
This redemption costed 75,000 miles which I had in my Delta miles account after meeting my welcome bonus and miles from spending $3,000 in the first 3 months. The additional 56,700 Korean Won converts to $47.70 USD.
The Delta points values the flight at $900 while the cash price is currently $1,500 USD.
Leg 3: Brisbane, Australia to San Diego, California
This last leg was a special treat and bonus. I received a targeted email from Alaska Airlines talking about double miles on Qantas between Australia and the US. This was a strong motivator since it is double miles for my Alaska Mileage Plan. My search began for the best options and my hands were tied. The cheapest option one way included a stop in Honolulu then LA before making my way to San Diego. This would have costed $530 USD.
Although the Qantas option wasn’t the cheapest, the double miles were and this flight will be key in me keeping my MVP status on Alaska so I decided the $300 extra to fly Qantas would be worth it. The flight costs 1,159 AUD which after fees, converts to $825 USD. I’ll be in economy but don’t mind it since I’ll be taking home 14,200 miles (7,100 miles one way doubled) towards my Alaska Mileage plan.
We’ll be on the road for 8 days with 2.5 days in Seoul, 0.5 days in Taipei, and 3 days in Brisbane. We’ll be playing golf in all locations and soaking up the local life.
This trip around the Pacific Rim totals up to $878 USD with two points redemptions. In total, 6 flights with 3 of the 6 being in Business Class on new airlines for Traveling Tee Times!
We are excited to be heading on the trip and look forward to your recommendations for our next trip and places to visit in Seoul and Brisbane!