Husband Creates Travel Masterpiece: Around The World In First Class For $383.45!

Husband stops by my apartment in the sky on Etihad Airways A380 First Class Suites

Husband stops by my apartment in the sky on Etihad Airways A380 First Class Suites

I imagine most husbands’ idea of some time away means a few days at the beach? Couple days at a cabin?

I’m not really sure, as I’m very late to the marriage game and Miles Chasing Mad Scientist Husband is my entire husband sample.

Beyond family, MCMSH’s passion is collecting frequent flyer miles without flying  and cashing them in to travel the world First Class on the fanciest planes, fanciest airlines, which he likes to point out upfront are not going to be US-based carriers.

So, buckle your seat belts.

Here’s the 12-day, around-the-world trip we just took.

Flight map of our 12-day, First Class journey.

Flight map of our 12-day, First Class journey.

Just the facts:

12 flights, 5 airlines, 2 boat rides.

31,754 miles flown.

6 countries.

Would’ve cost $87,532 for two if MCMSH was the type to pay cash or had that kind of disposable income. Neither of which will probably ever be true.

Instead he paid a whopping total of $383.45 per person!

Yep, flew around the world first class for less than it would’ve cost us to fly to California in Coach.

MCMSCH preferred currency is miles. For this trip, he burned 624,000 American Advantage Miles, 90,000 Chase Ultimate Reward miles, and the minimal cash for taxes and fees.

Wanna see more?

Keep in mind, flying direct is not on top of the list priorities for MCMSH. And he insists this can actually be done even more cheaply if you want to fly on what he calls “crappy” planes.

We flew Atlanta-Charlotte-DC.

From Dulles, we boarded Etihad Airways’ Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner.

We each had our own fully enclosed suite.

Plenty of room to relax. That divider in between seats can go up if you don't know your travel partner.

Plenty of room to relax. That divider in between seats can go up if you don’t know your travel partner.

All meals cooked to order by on board chef.

All meals cooked to order by on board chef

Head cabin manager flight attendant fluffing my pillow and turning my seat into a lie-flat bed.

Head cabin manager flight attendant fluffing my pillow and turning my seat into a lie-flat bed.

Husband complained when we landed in Abu Dhabi 13 1/2 hours later. “Flight wasn’t long enough,” he bummed, to enjoy all the fun stuff on board!”

Plenty of fun ahead.  Spent the night in Abu Dhabi, flew out next day to Male, the capital city of of The Maldives, a nation of 1,192 islands spread over 35,000 in the middle of the Indian Ocean. I think  MCMSH picked one of the most remote. From Male, we had another hour flight in a tiny plane and across the dark, choppy ocean in this tiny boat.

Making our way in the back of this tiny speed boat on a dark, choppy ocean was my least favorite moment of the trip.

Making our way in the back of this tiny speed boat on a dark, choppy ocean was my least favorite moment of the trip.

But it led to this:

arrival hyatt

That crystal clear water is the ocean!

The Park Hyatt Maldives.

This resort was the original inspiration of the trip. MCMSH earned us four free nights by signing us up for the Chase Hyatt Visa. (See ** below for MCMSH’s rec on best way to sign up for this card.)

He wanted to spend those nights at one of the most expensive properties in the world.

Expensive with reason.

Check out our over-the-water villa:

over water vila

Resort takes up the entire tiny island. No need to go anywhere, just step down off the ladder of your deck for the best snorkeling ever.

World class snorkeling with incredible coral reefs all t yourself.

World class snorkeling with incredible coral reefs all t yourself.

After 4 days in the Maldives it was time to get back on that darn boat.

We soon would not be smiling, as the little boat broke down in the middle of the ocean and we had to wait for another one to come to our rescue.

We soon would not be smiling, as the little boat broke down in the middle of the ocean and we had to wait for another one to come to our rescue.

Male-Doha-Abu Dhabi, where Husband revealed the trip’s big surprise. He’d planned the whole thing, but waited until the middle of the night, just outside the Etihad First Class Lounge to tell me where in the world we were headed next.

I now know one of the big reasons, MCMSH picked our next destination–Etihad had just started flying their A380 First Apartments on the Abu Dhabi-Sydney Route.

Husband in his apartment which includes a recliner chair and separate bed.

Husband in his apartment which includes a recliner chair and separate bed.

Flight attendant kindly made up my bed before we took off so that I could go to sleep right after take off. Fluffy mattress pad, fancy jammies and slippers they provide made for an amazing night's sleep!

Flight attendant kindly made up my bed before we took off so that I could go to sleep right after take off. Fluffy mattress pad, fancy jammies and slippers they provide made for an amazing night’s sleep!

Once I woke up, I could order anything I wanted off the four page menu.

Apartment sets up so that you can invite a friend over to share a meal.

You know I love you because I'm willing to post this

You know I love you because I’m willing to post this “Aaack, I just woke up!” pic to show you how cool it is to dine at 36,000 feet. Should’ve closed that one window so we weren’t backlit.

Freshening up using personal apt.'s personal vanity.

Freshening up using personal apt.’s personal vanity.

Saying,

Saying, “Hello!” to old friend and CNN anchor, Natalie Allen, who popped up on my flat screen TV.

Did I mention, there’s a shower on board!

Etihad First Class ticket includes getting picked up at the airport in Sydney by Mercedes limo with driver.

DSC_0470

And taken to our hotel, which was the incredible Park Hyatt Sydney right on the Harbor! Again, MCMSH cashed in points for a free stay.

So glad Husband picked Sydney!

We both fell in love with this amazing city!

We both fell in love with this amazing city!

Winter for them Down Under, but mild temps meant perfect day to hit world famous Bondi Beach.

Winter for them Down Under, but mild temps meant perfect day to hit world famous Bondi Beach.

We let the heartier folks do laps at the Iceberg Club pool filled with frigid Pacific Ocean water.

We let the heartier folks do laps at the Iceberg Club pool filled with frigid Pacific Ocean water.

My one job before this trip was to give MCMSH a list of names and email of friends I have living around the world. He used the info to set up dinner with Bruce and Teresa who have been living in Sydney since we were next door neighbors in Phoenix 20-years ago.

friends dinner

Time to leave all too soon. That means not going home direct.

And finally ride home, the next day from Seoul to Atlanta.

Korean Air First Class A380 Kosmo Suites. KA will not let you use SkyMiles to go First, only Biz. So MCMSH set up Korean Air accounts for us to grab these seats.

Korean Air First Class A380 Kosmo Suites. KA will not let you use SkyMiles to go First, only Biz. So MCMSH set up Korean Air accounts for us to grab these seats.

Complain about airplane food? Without a doubt Korean Air First Class had the best food of any airline we flew over the trip. Only complaints here–they don’t stop feeding you! 3 meals over 14 hours.  First meal alone, was 7-courses of fine dining.

Carrot-lentil puree soup, served with heated spoon, of course.

Carrot-lentil puree soup, served with heated spoon, of course.

salad bar close up

Custom salad featuring walnuts, marinated pears, 3 kinds of dressing.

For one of my three main courses, I chose traditional Korean Bibimbap. Over the top delicious. Much more traditional offerings on the menu, as well, for the less adventurous.

For one of my three main courses, I chose traditional Korean Bibimbap. Over the top delicious. Much more traditional offerings on the menu, as well, for the less adventurous.

Happy, but so full, I'm going to burst!

Happy, but so full, I’m going to burst!

By the way, does it look like I’m wearing a lot of the same clothes in many of the shots? One of the rules of traveling with MCMSH–everyone goes with carry on luggage only!  Just in case, he gets wind of an even better flight we can catch, he doesn’t want us beholden to already checked luggage. This means squishing 12 days of clothes into one small suitcase and one backpack. That includes making space for my “Big Girl Camera,” laptop, and bag of electric converters to fit in an of the six countries we passed through over the 12 days. So, yeah, fashion takes a hit.

((For the credit card that gets you the free nights at any Hyatt property in the world. MCMSH recs that you got to Hyatt.com. Start process to book a room. Select city, dates, room type. That will take you to the “Complete Your Reservation” Page. At the bottom of that page, you’ll see an ad for the same card I mentioned above. This time, though, it has a “Get a $50 Statement Credit.” Click through there to apply. MCMSH says this is the best offer out there for this card. Once you’ve applied, you can cancel that fake reservation you were making. If you and your partner, spouse, or friend each get a card, you suddenly have 4 nights paid at any Hyatt property in the world, including Park Hyatt which are nicest hotels. Yep, this is the brain I live with.)

Comments

comments

6 comments

  • Wow! Absolutely amazing. (Not to mention decadent!) And to think, I get all excited when I use a handful of 50-cent-off coupons, coupled with double-coupon deals, and do it on senior discount day. Your husband’s “hobby” is much more exciting than stamp-collecting…

  • Sarah

    I would be interested to know how many miles he flew or how much in fares his company paid for him to earn that many miles. Airplane miles don’t come cheap!

  • Really good question, Sarah. Thing is–he earns these miles without flying. Purposely, has taken a job where he doesn’t have to fly and be out of town because wants to sleep in his own bed and be home with the kids. The answer is, he/we earn the miles by how we spend our money as a family. Simplified answer is every & I mean every spend we do is through credit cards that provide multiple miles. If I were to spend cash on anything, well, might be grounds for divorce. Cards that give multiples for groceries, gas, dining, etc. You can multiply your multiples by spending online, as well. Example: a simple $100 purchase at Old Navy: pay cash in store/no points. Use card like most folks use, get 1 point her dollar. Instead, I’ll let the kids pick out the clothes, go to an office supply store (Whaaaat???) and buy an Old Navy gift card using my Chase Ink Bold card which gives 5x multiple for every dollar you spend in an office supply store. Take that gift card home and get to Old Navy website through the Chase shopping portal which now is gifting an additional 5x miles. That same $100 purchase has now turned into 1000 miles. That alone might not sound like much, but when you do it for everything you spend for family of four, really starts to add up. Is it exhausting? Does it rule everything we do in spending money as a family? Is Husband nuts and obsessed? Yes, yes, and yes. Can drive the girls and I crazy, but when you see how you can make the money you have to spend anyway work for you, it’s hard not to play along. Not for everyone, no doubt! And of course, based on idea that we carry no credit card debt and pay everything off every month.

  • Janet Glass Dekle

    How very cool! I traveled solo around the world in 1989-90 on a one way ticket during the Gulf War. Wish I had a partner in crime to share it with.

  • Ken Kuykendall

    Daryn…. Unbelievable trip!! Sounded great!

    Hope we can you see and Mad Husband before long!

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Husband Creates Travel Masterpiece: Around The World In First Class For $383.45!

by DarynKagan time to read: 6 min
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