Later this week jettfrogg will embark on yet another journey to a far and exotic locale. This time we are off on a weeklong trip around the world, with stops in Mongolia, Singapore, and Munich. A typical jettfrogg adventure.
When planning this trip, our goal was to maximize miles, visit interesting destinations, and eat a lot of exotic foods. The last few trips have taken us to Tibet, Nepal, India, Scotland, South Korea, and Japan. This time, after having read Jack Weatherford’s “Genghis Khan and the making of the modern world”, we decided to be like the great Khan himself and make Mongolia the centerpiece of our trip. It is not the easiest of destinations for frequent flier awards. Only a handful of airlines fly to its capitol Ulaanbaatar. But that is also a large part of its appeal.
One of the airlines that were high on our list to try was Korean Air, specifically first class on their A380. Luckily for us they fly to Ulaanbaatar from their hub in Inchon. Korean Air has fantastic award availability, and is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards. The whole flight JFK – ICN – ULN in first class is 80,000 miles and about $200 in taxes. Transferring miles from Chase to Korean Air is a breeze, even if the whole booking process reminded us of what bureaucracy in 1975 Soviet Russia must have been like. Here is an excellent step-by-step report from The Points Guy.
Having secured our flight to Mongolia, we now needed an “interesting” return leg. Our favorite frequent miles program is United Mileage Plus. They allow one-way flights from Asia to go either via the Pacific, or Europe. And being partners with Air China, who fly from ULN, we were able to use them for the return.
The flight on Air China will take us from ULN to PEK (Beijing). From there we could have just booked a direct to NYC (ORD for jettfrogg 2), but that is no way to maximize mileage use. Instead we are going to go the long way via Europe. Something to keep in mind is that on a one way ticket, United does not allow any stopovers. But they do allow connections of up to 24 hours. Our return “one way” flight will take us from Beijing to Singapore to Bangkok to Paris to Munich to Frankfurt to Washington DC to NY/Chicago. We will have a 20 hour connection in Singapore and a 23 hour connection in Munich, where we will partake in the granddaddy of all beer festivals. Oktoberfest!
For 67,500 United Miles and $150 in taxes, our return leg looks like this: PEK-SIN-BKK-CDG-MUC-FRA-IAD-NYC/ORD.