Around The World In 80 Hours: Introduction

As I outlined a few weeks ago, I was facing a bit of a dilemma as to how to get to Chicago for an event I needed to attend. I had waited a bit too long to book my flights, and revenue fares were crazy at that point. Coincidentally, US Airways was running a 100% bonus on purchased miles at the same time, which was essentially a way to pick up US Airways miles for ~1.1 cents each. That meant I could book a ticket to North Asia in business class for ~$1,000, while a roundtrip ticket to Chicago would have cost me over $500.

The single best redemption value on US Airways’ award chart, in my opinion, is for travel between the US and North Asia. They charge just 90,000 miles in business class, and you can even route via Europe and have a stopover there if you’d like. Check out this post for details on how to book one of these awards.

Anyway, one of my primary goals with this blog is to review as many premium cabin products as possible, so prior to booking this trip I asked you guys which products you most wanted to read about.

In the end I managed to book a routing which would allow me to sample four new products, including:

  • The US Airways Envoy Suite, which is really where the concept of a reverse herringbone seat in business class started (in the meantime I’ve flown the more advanced reverse herringbone products offered by American, Cathay Pacific, and EVA).
  • Air China business class on their new 777-300ER aircraft, which features fully flat business class seats. Given how much award space they release on some routes, a trip report on them is way overdue.
  • ANA 787 regional business class. I’ve done plenty of flying in their regional business class, though this would be my first 787 flight ever.
  • EVA Air is a new member of the Star Alliance and has a phenomenal longhaul business class product, as I discovered on my flight on them from Taipei to San Francisco back in July. However, what I’ve really wanted to sample is their Hello Kitty service, which they recently launched to the US.

The booking process was quite easy, and in the end my itinerary looked as follows (as you can see I have an open jaw between Chicago and Los Angeles, no stopover, and my destination is Tokyo):

10/13 US2070 Chicago to Charlotte departing 12:10PM arriving 3:06PM
10/13 US786 Charlotte to Paris departing 4:50PM arriving 6:55AM (+1 day)
10/14 CA934 Paris to Beijing departing 8:20PM arriving 12:25PM (+1 day)
10/15 NH906 Beijing to Tokyo departing 2:45PM arriving 7:15PM
10/16 BR2197 Tokyo to Taipei departing 2:15PM arriving 4:50PM
10/16 BR16 Taipei to Los Angeles departing 11:55PM arriving 8:40PM


The ticket cost 90,000 US Airways Dividend Miles, plus $122.60 in taxes.

So as you’ve probably noticed, in the end I didn’t totally accomplish my goal of avoiding the outrageous airfare between Seattle and Chicago. However, I did cut it in half since I only had to purchase a one-way ticket from Seattle to Chicago. On the tail end of the trip my travel terminated in Los Angeles, and I spent a few days there with friends before continuing home. So I realized from the start I wouldn’t actually save money going this route, but couldn’t turn down the opportunity to review four new products, especially given how little I paid for the US Airways miles.

There’s no doubt by anyone else’s standards this trip is “crazy,” especially since I wasn’t actually going anywhere. I booked a day room at the Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in hopes of being able to get some work done, and booked a night at the Hilton Tokyo Narita. I had a commitment the following week, so sadly couldn’t stretch my trip much further, and at the end of the day my blog is a lot more about the journey than the destination (there are much better destination resources out there I could never compete with), so I was still accomplishing my “core” goal for the blog.

Anyway, flying around the world in 80 hours (even in flat beds the entire way) was surprisingly exhausting,  and in great contrast to my past “quick” round the world trips, I hardly slept at all. But more to come on that later.

For anyone that can’t wait for the installments, I shared my initial thoughts on the individual segments “live” during the trip. You can find them here:

Thanks for reading, and as always, any questions/comments are welcome!

US Airways Envoy Suite A330

Air China Business Class 777-300ER

ANA 787 wing

EVA Air Hello Kitty A330

Filed Under: ANA, Awards
  1. ok, i think it’s safe to say you can skip all the other parts and just post directly about your hello kitty flights! 😉

  2. “The ticket cost 90,000 US Airways Dividend Miles, plus $122.60 in taxes.”

    Wait, was TPE to LAX free? I think I’m missing something, sorry. In my defense that happens a lot… 🙂

  3. @ TravelinWilly — Sorry, why would TPE-LAX be free? That’s the cost for the full “round the world” trip.

  4. @Lucky – See, I’m exhibit A for “Why multitasking during a month-end makes for lazy reading.” I didn’t realize that the TPE-LAX etc. portion was the “return” from the N. Asia outbound.

    Ignore all future comments of mine until after the first of November, please.

    Back to work for me.

  5. @ Jay — In addition to the destination you’re allowed one stopover OR one open jaw over 24 hours. So you could stop in one city other than the destination (like Paris or Beijing) for two days, but then you couldn’t have an open jaw.

  6. I think I saw you with your lady friend in Taipei at the EVA lounge. I think I was also behind you and your friend on the escalator way down from the 2nd floor towards the gates.

    Planning to put together my review of TPE-SFO in their EVA Royal Laurel class, but after being spoilt in CX First Class from SFO-HKG, it’s a tough spot for EVA! It’s my first two international award flights ever!

    Thought the EVA Infinity lounge in TPE was their earnest attempt at mimicking Virgin’s own nightclub-like lounges that didn’t quite make it.

  7. Have you ever thought about entering your name in the Guinness World Records?
    I doubt there is anybody out there who has ever done this !

  8. Lucky, could you help to compare the seat width and comfort between US Envoy and EVA air? EVA air is tight for me.

  9. Sorry, still not grasping how/why US Air did not insist this should really be an around-the-world booking. I get the 90k business award US-Europe-North Asia. Got it. Are you not charged for ATW just because of the open jaw at the end?

  10. Agree Jorge and not get paid heavily for this is beyond my ken. There is a programme that’s been around for a time called “Outlook” and many variants and OS systems. These programs allow me to route through PPT or HNL back to Oz for lunch or dinner and over night and continue on. Visa versa to Europe. This takes planing and schedulung. When you have to do ATW trips west is best, travel with the sun and in daylight, no wonder you were shot on this routing.

  11. @ JH — I’ll cover that in more detail in the individual installments. Generally I found the EVA seat to be more comfortable than the US seat, so if you found the EVA seat to be too tight I’d stay away from the US Envoy Suite.

  12. @ Greg — Because this is a roundtrip to North Asia, routed one way via the Atlantic and one way via the Pacific. Aeroplan, United, US Airways all allow this on a roundtrip award between those regions, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary.

  13. @Greg – I shared your confusion yesterday (Scroll up), until I figured it out. It certainly wasn’t explicit.

  14. Hello Lucky – Does it matter if you have the stop-over/open jaw on the way to Asia or on the return? For example would IAH-SJC-NRT-ZRH (open jaw) BRU-JFK-IAH be a valid routing for this type of award?


  15. Also since Star Alliance doesn’t seem to have a strong presence at JFK, could I take the last segment from EWR-IAH instead, or does this count as another open jaw?


  16. @ KG — So technically your open jaw has to be at your turnaround point, which in this case is Asia. So technically the open jaw should be either in the US or in Asia. In practice that’s not always enforced though.

    JFK/EWR are considered co-terminal for these purposes, so that should be fine.

  17. Hi Lucky,

    How many stop-overs can I have for open jaw ticket on an US Airways award from the US to Asia via Europe? For example, would this routing:JFK-VIE(stopover)-CDG-PEK-TEI(stopover)-LAX a valid one for the 90K business award?

  18. @ Andrew — You can have either one stopover OR one open jaw, though not both. So you can either stop in Vienna enroute to your final destination OR fly out of New York and return to Los Angeles. But you can’t do both per the rules.

  19. Thanks Lucky. I thought you have a stop-over in Tokyo (from the trip that you wrote in this article) but it looks like you stayed in Toyko less than 24 hrs so that is considered a layover right?

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