Going To London Via Asia And Australia And Asia?

Filed Under: Other Airlines, Travel

This year I’ve set the goal of reviewing as many new airline products as possible, and I’m quite proud of my progress towards that goal so far.

I’ve already reviewed Finnair business class and Air India first class, which are airlines I’ve been wanting to sample for a long time.

Finnair-Business-Class-A350 - 5
Finnair business class

I’ll shortly be reviewing Hainan Airlines business class, which I’m excited about, since they’re a Skytrax five star airline (whatever that means nowadays).

Hainan business class

And shortly after that I’ll be reviewing Oman Air, Iberia, LAN, and Air France business class, all of which I’m excited about as well.

Oman Air business class

Well, pretty soon I need to get to London for an Adele concert (I redeemed Starpoints for a ticket in SPG’s suite), and am trying to get creative with a routing there.

O2-Arena-Suite-SPG - 9
SPG Suite at the O2 Arena London

Sure, I could fly American business class, as award space is wide open. Sure I could fly Lufthansa first class, as I’m sure space will open within 15 days. But I’m trying to think a bit outside the box.

I’ve long wanted to try Garuda Indonesia’s first class product, which is also rather tough to book on miles. A few weeks ago I wrote about a pretty good first class fare they had available between Australia and London.

Photo courtesy my friend @kellydaoud

While London is my intended destination, stopping in Australia enroute isn’t exactly convenient. At the same time, I’d rather take advantage of the fare when I have a reason to be in London, rather than flying between Australia and London and then having to position on both ends as well.


So how would I get to Sydney? Well, China Eastern has business class award space from San Francisco to Shanghai to Sydney. San Francisco to Shanghai is operated by one of their new 777-300ERs, featuring reverse herringbone business class seats and Wi-Fi. And the connecting flight on an A330 also seems to offer reverse herringbone seats, which is awesome. I didn’t actually realize China Eastern has reverse herringbone seats on their A330, as it seems to be a recent development. I could book that ticket for 80,000 Delta SkyMiles one-way.


So… should I go to London via Asia and Australia and Asia, or is that absolutely crazy? Or is the answer to both of those questions yes?

  1. I wish you could review China Eastern’s F product, as the hard product is one of the top in the world. Garuda, of course, is a top F product all-around! Maybe even a review of Air France La Premiere from Jakarta to Singapore before it gets canceled next month? Or even Singapore to Paris?!

  2. 1000 times yes! Another easy way to tick another 2 off your New Years Resolutions list! That makes 9 out of the 16 already doesn’t it?!

  3. Now if US Airways was around – this routing would have been just another “normal” one within one award ticket! What say, good old days!

  4. So you would end up spending approx $7000 in the first two months of the year on travel (that you’ve mentioned on the blog, let alone other travel).
    I wish my mommy and daddy would bankroll me in the same way

  5. @ James — You keep bringing up this “mommy and daddy bankrolling” thing in your comments, which I find perplexing. Is your theory that I lose money on the blog after my travel expenses, or what? Spending money on reviewing new airlines is an investment in my business. Those reviews get tens of thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of views, and beyond that, reviews are how a lot of people who stick around find my blog. Not sure why you have such a hard time grasping that concept, but I’d love to understand.

  6. Should try some of the low cost carriers that run between Asia and Australia during a stopover in Sydney in their business class noting that its probably better that US Domestic First in most instances (not the transcons). Scoot is $500 from memory one way in their version of J that runs on their 787s.

  7. YES! Go for it Ben! Cannot wait for the reviews, I love what you do for a living, it fills my sad days with good reading.

  8. @ James – If PewDiePie makes millions per year from just people watching him on Youtube, why do you have a tough time grasping that a blog helps PointsPros get enough customers to keep the business running in addition to generating significant ad revenue? Get with the times unless you’re still stuck in your parents’ basement using dialup.

  9. Of course, yes and yes. You are on fire this first trimester. If you continue on this pace, by June you will have accomplished all your commitments to your readers. Then on the second half you can take Ford to Berchtesgaden, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore and Vancouver, just flying Lufthansa, Singapore, Cathay, Emirates, Etihad and American.
    Thanks a lot for the effort, you just need to come up with good titles for the TRs, like Chasing the Sun, A Royal (dis)HHonor or The last Aeroplan Hurrah.

  10. Hainan and Garuda will be extremely interesting and you will be providing info and content that is unique. I like that you are blazing many new trails in 2016, you really started it off right with the Air India and Finnair reports. Every other site is inundated with Qatar and Emirates trip reports these days and it winds up being the same info over and over and over and over……The character and personality of the Indian report was far more entertaining than a polished gold and lacquer uniformity of another Emirates review.

  11. This sounds like a great plan, I am already looking forward to the reviews!! You are really doing great this year, Lucky.

    My vote is for Business Class. Reading First reviews is fun, but Business is more relevant for most, really.

  12. I can’t even begin to express my joy at this itinerary!

    OMAAT has become my Real Housewives of Wherever. Though, I did get caught sneaking a peek at OMAAT while in a particularly dull though supposedly important business meeting.

    I bet there are many of us who are prostrate with curiosity about China Eastern’s first class on the 777. Any way you could fly first to PVG and then business to SYD?

  13. Yes, would love to see this combo! You’re doing a great job at reviewing new products this year, keep them coming, love the creative routings, since they give me something to talk about at the dinner table ^^

  14. Do it! I just flew China Eastern from PVG to YYZ in business class last month, and it was great. Brand new plane, great seat, surprisingly good food. Not to mention, pajamas in business class.

  15. You asked: “Should I go to London via Asia and Australia and Asia, or is that absolutely crazy? Or is the answer to both of those questions yes?”

    The answer to both questions is Yes, and when I see your constant travel and wild itineraries I wonder if you are not crazy also! 🙂

    Safe travels!

  16. @Imperator Can’t book first class on China Eastern or any other airline using Skypesos. Or with Flying Blue, unless you’re an AF elite. Korean Air is theoretically possible, but IIRC they don’t allow one-way awards. Hmm, now checking Garuda, they also don’t allow first-class awards, at least on MU. So a round-trip ticket booked through Korean Skypass looks like the only way using the three main transferable currencies.

  17. @dbeach

    I feel sort of silly. All of my business travel was, until January, exclusively on Skyteam carriers so I should have known Lucky wouldn’t be able to book MU first with Skymiles.

  18. While I’m a fan of going the long way round, a simpler way would be to try Aer Lingus business class SFO-DUB-LHR/LGW as I don’t believe you’ve tried their new business class product since it rolled out last year.

  19. CI via TPE is also an option gives you a chance to sample BR’s rival at TPE since you have flown BR several times

  20. Absolutely, do it! You’re the modern-day Magellan in that I appreciate the global expeditions you do for the love of flights. And I very much like the reason that pulls you back to London. Enjoy!

  21. @O – Likewise – I’d love to see a review of the new QF A330 J product! I’m considering flying it to Singapore at the end of the year, but haven’t found too many detailed reviews.

  22. I’ve had a chance to look at the MU 77W F and it looks quite good. I was on business class and it was also good in terms of the hard product, but the soft product…depends how much expectations you have 🙂

  23. Yes,yes yes but also…Air New Zealand you have never reviewed and they fly to Sydney via Auckland – though award seats are near impossible. And Air Canada via Vancouver is hardly aspirational (and I hear their new business class sucks). Or maybe South Africa via Johannesburg? I love how exciting you make this 😉

    Just do me this one favor Ben, don’t be so jet lagged you fall asleep during Adele!!!!!! That is the most important thing.

  24. Mark: If I remember correctly, Lucky flew and reviewed an Air New Zealand flight from London to Los Angeles.

  25. If you check GA from PER-CGK-AMS-LGW is cheaper.. Only $2400 in F.

    As for MU …. Please please please fly F… Not J… Can you redeem KE miles to fly MU F LAX-PVG (has to be done round trip but you can use return leg for the future). Unlike other Chinese carriers I think MU FAs are rather stylish. Nice uniform. F seats on 777-300ER looks good!

    There are lots of people out there who love to fly F either with miles or buy cash.. So a review will be beneficial for the reader.

  26. Speaking of GA, if you’re flying after Mar 31, the airline is switching to Heathrow with five weekly CGK-SIN-LHR-CGK service, but it will only go on sale in mid February.

  27. Lucky, can you help check out on this.
    Asia Miles (CX) has a partnership with MU, that will end on 1 May 2016.
    (China Eastern Airlines will no longer be an airline partner of Asia Miles effective from 1 May 2016.)

    In the website of Asia Miles, MU is listed to be eligible for 1-way or return awards in F, J and Y.

    Perhaps it is indeed possible to redeem MU in F class via Asia Miles.

    Do check it out and update us, as well as if flights on MU must be booked by 1 May 2016 with 1 year validity, or it must be booked and flown by 1 May 2016.

    If MU F award is bookable, let’s do that first, and review the J product later (or perhaps we can do a F & J mixed award).

    Finally, I must say the blog is back in the right direction, after a slight regression after the rolling stone article.

    The flight and lounge reviews of Finnair J, AI F are great, and the planned upcoming flights in Hainan, Oman, etc, are exciting.

    Looking forward to this itinerary as well.

  28. Wowza. So finally you are going to review Garuda’s flagship B77W. I’ve seen a glimpse of an awesomeness in Nick’s report. Hope that you’ll get the same impression in the full route, Ben!

    Anyway, Garuda has installed new business seat in their newest A333, from what I heard it will be deployed for Jakarta/Bali to Sydney route.

    All the way, man. I admire your dedication and determination. All in all, hoped that this will be materialized 🙂

  29. my vote goes for Garuda F. I forget if that route allows you to overnight in CGK or AMS, as I heard the ground service for GA F is really good in both CGK and AMS. Good luck!
    I flew J in China Eastern and saw first class in 77W and it reminded me of SQ suites. Not really a double bed but a lot of space nonetheless.
    Another option I think is to fly Fiji Air in business class from usa to sydney via Fiji.
    Hmm since you have growing readership in Australia, perhaps try flying the transcontinental flight SYD-PER to try Virgin Australia’s new J product on its A330s? Then fly to LGW from PER via Garuda.

  30. Lucky, Nice follow through on upping your game and reviewing all these different products. Your sight really encourages me to try some of these strategies and techniques. My girlfriend and I just got back from Thailand on CX F. We booked last minute per some of your reads (using AA points) and really had a great time getting there as well as being there. Appreciate the professional job you do.

    If your going to use Delta points to go to Australia, why not do Virgin Australia LAX to SYD. Usually very good last minute availability, and the price is going up next fall – so now is the time to take advantage.

  31. I travel to Japan a lot for leisure. For times when I am paying for the ticket, a Round the World fare (RTW) is certainly the way to go. For First class, the savings is about 40% of the price of a JFK-NRT-JFK ticket. As a result, I often go to Europe via Asia. Another advantage is that there is a lot less jet lag if you keep flying west. Of course you will have to pay for a few hotel nights in Europe. So of course, I recommend going to Europe via Asia.

  32. So, Lucky, does the craze end in London, or are you going to fly back on Vietnam’s 787 to SGN then Vietnam’s A350 to CDG then Icelandair to the US via Reykjavik (or something)?

  33. Looks fantastic, my kind of trip 🙂
    Only thing I’d change is PVG-SYD to QF to check out their really great A330 J product.

  34. I’m doing something similar in order to get to Australia at Christmas. Flying East Coast to London to Shanghai to Sydney. And back through Dubai and London. All in business or first. It’s 240k instead of 365k from LAX to Sydney in business. I’m excited to fly the Qantas 380 in first!

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