I remain deeply unsatisfied with the indifference US Airways has shown to booking Lufthansa award space I wrote about last week, but US Airways miles remain highly valuable, particularly when compared to partner Star Alliance carriers. For that reason, I still recommend picking up the US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard before the current 40K offer is pulled–those points just helped me book a massive trip.
My brother and I have wanted to explore Cambodia for some time and the opening of the new Park Hyatt in Siem Reap provided the perfect impetus to finally make the trip. But flying on award tickets opens up many doors never available on a revenue ticket without breaking the bank and I had two other objectives in mind.
First, and perhaps more important that Cambodia itself, was spending some time in Frankfurt to start the trip. Second, I wanted to take advantage of one of the sweet spots on US Airways’ award chart and fly from North America to North Asia in business class for 90K miles. In doing so, I wanted to route via Europe on the outbound and inbound to try four new business longhaul products that I have yet to sample.
The stars aligned and with a little legwork I was able to assemble an 11-segment, 26,920-mile itinerary that includes longhauls on LOT Polish, EVA, Austrian, and Brussels. Take a look at my routing:
- LAX-ORD on United (757-200 with lie-flat business class seating)
- ORD-WAW on LOT (787-8 with lie-flat business class seating)
- WAW-FRA on LOT (E-175 in business)
- FRA-AMS on Lufthansa (A321 in business)
- AMS-BKK on EVA (777-300 with lie-flat business class seating)
- BKK-TPE on EVA (777-300 with lie-flat business class seating)
- TPE-PEK on Air China (A330-300 angled lie-flat business class seating)
- PEK-VIE on Austrian (767 with lie-flat business class seating)
- VIE-BRU on Austrian (A320 in business)
- BRU-JFK on Brussels (A330-300 with lie-flat business class seating)
- JFK-LAX on United (757-200 with lie-flat business class seating)
Though I got away with one extra segment than is usually permitted (or three, depending on who you talk to), the routing was and is perfectly valid, falling under the maximum permitted mileage (MPM) via the Atlantic to Tapei.
The sign-up bonus for the US Airways Dividend Miles MasterCard from Barclays provided 30K miles and I purchased 30K more from US Airways with a 100% bonus for $1050.00 plus tax. Thus for about $1200 and $200 in taxes/fees, I booked a trip that retails for more than $20,000 if segments are booked separately. US Airways is not currently running a 100% purchased mile bonus, but it has every other month for years now, so I suspect we will see a new promotion in October. Even if you have to pay full price for the purchased miles, you are still getting a much better deal than buying the ticket outright, particularly if wish to stop in Europe.
That’s one tremendous deal. I’ll be hitting some other places as well during my three weeks away and used a combination of points and one purchased ticket for travel within SE Asia.
To me, this is what aspirational travel is all about and I look forward to each flight on this itinerary. As an aside, if you need help constructing an itinerary like this, our Award Expert team would love to help.