Vietnam/Cambodia – Flight Arrangements

One of the reasons I’m lucky enough to do this trip is because I have earned millions of frequent flyer miles and hotel points over the years.  And, over the past few years, I have redeemed over 2 million miles (a post for another time) since award miles only go down in value over the course of time.  But, even if one has lots of miles, you always look for the opportunity to score amazing redemption deals.

For a trip to Asia, Business or First Class is almost a necessity and the best use of miles.  While I’m a loyal Delta flyer and do most of my travel there, I’ve been able to accumulate some miles on United and US Air over the past couple of years, mostly through promotions with a few actual flights thrown in.  Both of these carriers are members of the Star Alliance which has a great international roster of partner airlines with strong service to Asia.

However, I have very little experience with Star Alliance and the idea of booking my own award tickets for a trip like this was intimidating even for a seasoned traveler.  So, I used a service run by Gary Leff and Steve Belkin at  Gary is the “guru” of frequent flyers and blogs at View from the Wing.  Basically, you tell them what miles you have with various airline programs and with credit card programs and give them the parameters of your trip and they do all of the leg work.  How much does this cost?  $150.

This is some of the best money I have ever spent!  They were absolutely fantastic and were able to book me around the world, literally, for 120,000 US Air miles plus taxes and fuel charges.  Did I mention that the flights (except for the short regional jets) are in business class?  These flights would have easily been over $10,000 if purchased.  That is getting good value from your award miles!

I mentioned that I’m flying around the world.  Here is the itinerary:

  • Outbound – Lexington, KY to Chicago to San Francisco to Taipai, Tawain to Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Return – Phnom Penh, Cambodia to Bangkok to Frankfurt, Germany to Chicago to Lexington

I’ll be flying a combination of United, EVA Airlines, Thai Airlines.  Notice that none of the flights are actually on US Air.  These are all Star Alliance partners and this shows the strength of airline alliance programs.

In my next post, I’ll talk about making my hotel reservations for the trip.


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