Taking the Long Way: Itinerary Planning as a Miles & Points Enthusiast

My husband loves me, but he may not get me all the time. When planning our honeymoon in 2018, I went through about twenty iterations of itineraries, the destinations and journey changing each time. My first several versions included a full week of flying – a literal week of bouncing around the world on planes – because few things make me happier than being in the air trying new products.

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I swear he loves me. Even when I make him fly around the Pacific just to get on this one flight.

Lance talked me down from some of the crazier ideas – for example, my idea to go to both the Maldives and French Polynesia was split into two different trips – but I still managed to get him on board for three days of flying.

Yup – to get to a destination that is a nonstop flight away, I took Lance on a 21,000 mile journey circling the entire Pacific Ocean. NBD.

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The routing for our entire trip! Via Great Circle Mapper

Irrational rationale

Many times, my trip planning will revolve around a specific flight I want to try; for me, the journey is just as important as the destination. For our honeymoon, everything I was planning revolved around one central priority: flying the new Singapore Suites.

SQ Suites had been on my luxury travel bucket list since its original debut in 2012 when it made noise for the ability to turn two conjoining suites into a double bed suite. However, it had taken so long for me to figure out an itinerary in which I could include it that Singapore announced an entirely redesigned product in 2017, flying for the first time in December of the same year – just months before I started planning our Summer 2018 honeymoon. The redesign was so incredible that I was going to stop at nothing to fly it!

Unfortunately, the routes and flights serviced by this product are very limited; at the time I booked, it was only flying between Singapore (SIN) and Sydney (SYD) and only available at the standard award level (I’ll cover that in more detail on another post).

So despite our destination being French Polynesia – serviced by an incredibly easy, no-fuss eight hour nonstop flight from LAX via not just one, but two carriers – I needed to work a SIN-SYD flight into our itinerary.

As luck would have it, a few months before our trip, SQ started servicing Hong Kong (HKG) with the revamped Suites product as well. I was able to add an HKG-SIN segment on at no additional cost in miles (same award chart zone) and a nominal award change fee. With two segments booked in the new Suites, around the Pacific we went!

Flight 1: LAX-TPE

I’d long wanted to fly EVA Air’s 77W business class product. While it sports a pretty standard reverse herringbone configuration, the soft product is what supposedly sets EVA Air apart from its competition; many consider it better than some first class offerings! I was also missing a Rimowa amenity kit in my collection so I figured I could knock out two birds with one stone.

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La Grande Dame: this first class champagne is served in EVA’s business class!

A LAX-TPE EVA flight was therefore the logical first step in our itinerary (though I never ended up getting the Rimowa amenity kit!). EVA is a Star Alliance member so I booked this using 80,000 United MileagePlus miles and fees totaled $5.60 each.

Flight 2: TPE-HKG

We spent a night in Taipei, using our Hyatt credit card annual free night certificate to stay at the category 4 Grand Hyatt Taipei. We spent the evening eating at the original Din Tai Fung and checking out Taipei’s famous night markets!

The next morning, we boarded a super quick hop TPE-HKG. We booked this in economy on Cathay using 4,500 British Airways Avios and $31.96 in fees each. The cash fare was around $280 so BA’s distance-based awards made this redemption a cheap one.

Flights 3 & 4: HKG-SIN-SYD

Onto Suites we went, starting with our HKG-SIN segment!

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We were quick to take advantage of the double bed in Singapore Suites!

Because the HKG-SIN and SIN-SYD flights didn’t align in timing, to fit both segments into our itinerary, we spent a night in Singapore. We were there for around 22 hours and fit a ton of tourist essentials into that time.

We headed back to the airport to enjoy the SQ Private Room lounge (Dom and all) and soon thereafter boarded our SIN-SYD flight. It was amazing and these two flights deserve a post of their own!

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The Singapore Private Room lounge in SIN

For this part of our itinerary, we used 150,000 Singapore Krisflyer miles and paid $40.55 in fees each. (P.s. If you’ve seen my TikTok on booking Singapore Suites, I quote slightly higher fees there as that’s what I’m seeing being charged now.) It pained me to do so, but we had to book these at the standard award cost as Singapore was not making saver redemptions available at the time.

Flights 5 & 6 (and eventually 7): SYD-AKL-PPT-LAX

With the main event behind us, the next two flights en route to our destination were uneventful (with the exception of Lance leaving his custom-made wedding band – which he had only owned for 16 days at this point – by the sink in a SYD bathroom).

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It only took him 16 days…

We flew SYD-AKL on Air New Zealand with quick layover in AKL, and flew onward AKL-PPT with Air Tahiti Nui. I booked this as a cash fare with Air Tahiti Nui for the full SYD-AKL-PPT-LAX itinerary; our time in French Polynesia was technically structured as an extended stopover on a flight between Sydney and Los Angeles. Pricing was more favorable that way and we saved a few hundred dollars over any other potential combination of bookings. At the end of our trip, we took the final PPT-LAX leg as our return home (quick and easy!).

At last – after six flights covering 16,700 miles through seven airports to arrive at a destination serviced by a nonstop covering just 4,100 miles (less than a quarter of the distance of our route) – we made it to Tahiti. Adding on our return flight PPT-LAX, our journey totaled almost 21,000 miles!

It’s such a fun story to tell and was worth every mile. When people don’t truly grasp or understand my avgeekiness or enthusiasm for the miles and points world, recounting this itinerary is a quick way to clue them in. A person doesn’t cover that amount of unnecessary ground without a deep passion for the hobby!

What’s the craziest itinerary you’ve ever flown?

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