Posted 06 August 2016 - 09:50 AM
Personally to me it comes down to planning as far ahead as possible for miles tickets (like before the 330 day window opens).
As for remote tropical locations halfway around the world If at all possible not going to go in coach unless going in a day or two in advance and can sleep (me = coach >6-10 hrs results in needing a message and a days sleep). So for business or first class awards preparation is a must.
For me traveling isn't only the destination but the journey there as that can be a experience unto itself.
I used to frequent (still do just not as much) flyertalk & mile point boards for info and to keep up on this. Mainly now for the trip reports to live vicariously through others adventures.
There are a lot of blogs I get updates on that keep me in the loop on deals etc.
I had a subscription to expert flyer which gives you info on what fair buckets are available (paid, upgrades and award). This will help you plan before calling the airline as the call center staff may not be the best at searching for award or even partner flights.
As an example when I looked at the Maldives I actually could book a mileage ticket for the 10 day trip that would be a around the world trip in business for 160k AA miles. Alas I can't go as dates conflict with a class necessary for my paramedic license renewal.
Here is the routing
IAH - LAX on AA Canadaair 900CR9 first class
4pm departure 6pm arrival
5hour layover in LAX - can visit various lounges, or go do some plane spotting from In-N-Out Burger.
LAX - HKG on Cathay Pacific Boeing 777-300 Intl Business Class
16hr layover in HKG which is enough time to go visit the city and get some local cuisine before heading back for the next flight
Could have also done the Cathay Pacific LAX-HKG via Tokyo but this would force a 23hr layover in HKG and 6 HR in Tokyo.
HKG-MLE on Cathay Pacific Airbus A330-300 Intl Business Class. Departs near midnight and arrives 5am in male. This flight was chosen as on a wide body jet with intl business class seats vs regional business which is like domestic first class you see in the states. So on this overnight flight I can sleep comfortably and arrive refreshed and ready to go with my body clock in pretty good shape.
I built in a buffer day on the front just in case something happened.
10 days of world class diving with a schedule of dive eat dive dive dive sleep ... Repeat.
MLE-AUH (Abu daubi) on Ethiad Airways 737-900 day time flight.
Being one to travel new airlines, routes etc is a good option as going east or west from the Maldives is within a couple hundred miles of each other.
AUH-ORD on Airbus A380-800 intl business class.
I chose this flight because I have yet to fly on a 380 and its on the bucket list so new plane and new route checked off all at once.
ORD-DFW AA 777-300 intl first class seat / domestic service. This route is on of the few domestic routes in the US American uses a internationally configured aircraft. Then with American removing the international first class cabin except from certain routes (mainly to London, Tokyo and now Hong Kong and soon Sydney) it's nice as haven't been in a American 777 first cabin in over 5 years. When I used to travel extensively I used to purposely take this route so I could be on the 777 as the business cabin was sold as coach. This flight would be a first on a American 777-300 and the new first class configuration.
DFW-IAH AA 737 first class an hour flight but comfortable and does the job. As in my travels around the US have spent a fair amount of time aboard 737 and no complaints
The coup de grace on all of this is if you bought this ticket on your own even in a discount business fare it would still be between 23-29k which makes those miles worth 14-19cents a piece.
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Traveling the World, Diving, and Photography, on my days off from saving lives as a Paramedic