Next up, a classic trip report that has been in the queue for too long.
In 2016, I had the chance for a cool trip around the world. The purpose was to sample new premium cabin products and hotels for the blog, but the timing of the trip was due to an AA award redemption devaluation.
Reviews will include:
- ANA 777 First Class Chicago to Tokyo
- Thai Airways 747-400 Business Class Tokyo to Bangkok
- China Southern 737-800 Economy Class Bangkok to Guangzhou
- Park Hyatt Guangzhou
- Explore Guangzhou with Cycle Canton
- JAL 767-300ER Economy Class Guangzhou to Tokyo
- Japan Airlines First Class Lounge Tokyo Narita
- JAL 777-300ER First Class Tokyo to Jakarta
- Grand Hyatt Jakarta
- Malaysia Airlines 737-800 Business Class Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur
- Malaysia Airlines A380 First Class Kuala Lumpur to London
- British Airways A320 Business Class London to Bilbao
- Iberia A319 Business Class Bilbao to Madrid
- Iberia Express A320 Business Class Madrid to Palama Malloca
- Park Hyatt Mallorca
How I Booked
First, I booked ANA first class from Chicago to Tokyo to Bangkok for 99,000 Avianca LifeMiles. Not a great deal, but not horrible either considering Aeroplan or United would have charged more and I bought the LifeMiles during a cheap promo. There are no fuel surcharges when booking with LifeMiles.
Why Bangkok? I had hoped that first class would open on the Tokyo to Bangkok flight…it never did. I spent just a couple hours in BKK before continuing to China.
The China Southern flight from Bangkok to Guangzhou ticket was paid, about $180. The JAL flight from Guangzhou back to Tokyo was 10K British Airways Avios + $25 in taxes.
Then, the fun really began. Tokyo to Jakarta to Kuala Lumpr to London to Bilbao to Madrid to Mallorca was 67,500 AA miles + $91. That was an incredible deal. The same itinerary today would ostensibly cost 90K miles, but is not bookable because AA now imposes segment limits (three) one one-way awards. When you think about it, though, two longhauls in first class for 90K miles is still a good deal. I should note here, also, however that JAL now uses a 787 to Jakarta with no first class.
I flew back to Germany after on Air Berlin, stayed for a few days, then flew to Beijing on Finnair.
Having just read recent trip reports on both ANA and JAL first class as flown Malaysia Airlines first class (A350), I can confidently say that these flight reviews, from mid-2016, are still relevant.
This was quite a crazy trip, as you can see. Spoiler alert: all flights were excellent, but one flight in particular just blew me away.