Want a Round-the-World Trip for $89? Here’s How!

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Did you know that you can fly around the world by applying for just 3 credit cards and paying $89 in annual fees?

By applying for 2 Citi American Airlines cards and the Barclaycard US Airways card, you’ll earn 150,000 miles (plus extra from meeting minimum spending requirements).  And that’s more than enough for a round-the-world trip!

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

3 Cards Get You a Round-the-World Trip!

Depending on your routing, you might even have miles left over!  I’ll show you how to do it.

How Does It Work?

If you don’t mind flying coach class, 150,000 miles is more than enough to fly around the world on American Airlines.  By piecing together 1-way award tickets, you can create your own round-the-world itinerary on American Airlines, their partner airlines, and members of the oneworld alliance.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

You Can Fly Around the World for 150,000 Miles on American Airlines and Their Partners

And you can get the miles almost all at once by applying for just 3 credit cards and meeting minimum spending requirements.  And you’ll only pay ONE annual fee of $89.

But 1 of these cards won’t be around for much longer!

Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard

Link:   Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite™ MasterCard®

Link:   My Review of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select Card

You’ll get 50,000 miles with the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard after you spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months.  The $95 annual fee is waived for the 1st 12 months.  It also gives you:

  • Group 1 boarding and 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 4 companions on the same reservation
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases like food and drink
  • 10% rebate on redeemed miles, up to 10,000 miles per year
  • 2 points per $1 you spend on American Airlines and US Airways
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else

CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard

Link:   CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®

Link:   My Review of the CitiBusiness AAdvantage Card

Link:   How to Fill Out a Business Credit Card Application

The CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard is a business card, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply!  Many folks qualify for business cards even if they don’t think they have a business, or are just starting a new business.

The sign-up bonus is 50,000 American Airlines miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the 1st 3 months of opening your account.  The $95 annual fee is waived for the 1st year.

And you’ll also get:

  • Priority boarding and 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 4 companions on the same reservation
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases like food and drink
  • 5% rebate on earned miles when you renew your card each year
  • 2 points per $1 you spend on American Airlines
  • 2 points per $1 you spend on office supplies, telecommunications, and car rentals
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else
Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Earn 2 Miles per $1 You Spend at Office Supply Stores

Note:   Citi does not let you apply for more than 1 credit card per day, or more than 2 in a week.  So to be safe, wait at least 8 days between applying for each Citi card.

Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Link:   Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard

Link:   My Review of the Barclaycard US Airways Premier Card

The Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard will be discontinued soon, because US Airways and American Airlines are merging.  Existing cardholders will have their card converted to a new Barclaycard AAdvantage Aviator card, but it won’t be open to new applicants.

For a limited time, this card gets you 50,000 US Airways miles (which will become American Airlines miles in the 2nd quarter of 2015) after you make your 1st purchase and pay the $89 annual fee.  And you’ll get:

  • 1 Admirals Club lounge pass or US Airways Club lounge pass gets you complimentary alcohol, drinks, snacks (after meeting minimum spending requirements)
  • Priority boarding and 1 free checked bag for yourself and up to 4 companions on the same reservation
  • 25% discount on in-flight purchases like food and drink
  • A companion certificate for up to 2 guests
  • 2 points per $1 you spend on US Airways and American Airlines
  • 1 point per $1 you spend on everything else
Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Your US Airways Miles Will Soon Become American Airlines Miles

Note:   Barclaycard now restricts folks to just 1 or 2 new cards per year.  So if you’ve gotten a lot of their cards already, it might be trickier to get this one.

What to Do When You Have Your Miles

Link:   Book American Airlines Award Flights Like a Pro

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

Link:   American Airlines Partner Award Chart

Once you’ve received the 150,000 mile sign-up bonuses from these 3 cards (plus at least another 6,000 miles from meeting minimum spending on the Citi cards), it’s time to plan a round-the-world trip!

Note:   This assumes your US Airways miles have converted to American Airlines miles.  This should happen in the 2nd quarter of 2015.  You could use your US Airways miles before the conversion, but US Airways does not allow 1-way award tickets so it might complicate things!

Before you start, have a look at my series on how to book tickets using American Airlines miles.  It includes some good tips on finding available award seats.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Where Would You Go on a Round-the-World Trip?

Because you’ll be booking your flights as a series of 1-ways, there’s no minimum or maximum stopover required in the cities you want to visit.  And your routing is really up to your imagination, as long as you can find award seats!

Let’s look at an example routing in coach class.  

1.   North America to Europe for 30,000  American Airlines Miles

You could fly from the US to Europe on American Airlines or partner airlines like British Airways, Finnair, Air Berlin, or Iberia for 30,000 miles.  And if you fly during off-peak season (October 15 to May 15), it only costs 20,000 miles.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

It Costs 30,000 Miles (20,000 Miles Off-Peak) to Fly to Europe With American Airlines Miles

Note:  British Airways adds high fuel surcharges to their award tickets, so you’ll save money if you fly on American Airlines or other partners.

2.   Europe to India, Maldives, or the Middle East for 20,000 American Airlines Miles

From Europe, you could fly to India, Maldives, or the Middle East for 20,000 miles.  While American Airlines doesn’t fly these routes, you could look for award seats on partners like Jet Airways, British Airways, Etihad, or Qatar Airways.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Fly From Europe to the Middle East, Maldives, or India for 20,000 Miles

Note:   Some partner award ticket reservations can’t be made online.  You’ll have to call American Airlines AAdvantage at 800-882-8880 to book.

3.   India, Maldives, or the Middle East to Asia for 22,500 American Airlines Miles

You could fly onwards to Asia for just 22,500 miles.  The price is the same whether you fly to North or South Asia.

Again, you’ll have to book award seats on partner airlines like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, Qatar Airways, or Japan Airlines.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

You Could Fly to Japan for only 22,500 Miles

Note:   American Airlines divides Asia into 2 zones.  Zone 1 includes Japan, Korea, and Mongolia.  Zone 2 is the rest of Asia, including Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia.  In this case, you’ll pay the same number of miles wherever you go.

4.  Asia to South Pacific for 25,000 to 30,000 American Airlines Miles

When flying to the South Pacific (which includes Fiji, French Polynesia, Tahiti, Australia and New Zealand) you’ll need 25,000 American Airlines miles if you’re coming from Asia Zone 2.  Or 30,000 miles if you’re departing from Asia Zone 1.

You could look for award seats on partner airlines like Qantas, Cathay Pacific, Air Tahiti Nui, or Japan Airlines.

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

We Had a 2nd Honeymoon in French Polynesia, and You Could Too

Here’s the trip report from our 2nd honeymoon in paradise!

5.   South Pacific to North America for 37,500 American Airlines Miles

Finally, to get back to North America, you’ll pay 37,500 miles.

That seems like a lot, but consider this could be a journey as long as ~16 hours (Sydney, Australia, to Dallas on Qantas is currently the world’s longest non-stop flight).  That said, for a flight that long I might consider splurging on Business Class (62,500 miles)!

Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Returning to the US From the South Pacific Could Be a Very Long Flight!

You could book award tickets on American Airlines or partners like Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines, or Qantas.

Adding It All Up

This is just a sample routing, and you could choose something completely different.  For example, you might consider including South America or Africa as part of your trip instead of the India, Maldives, or the Middle East.

In summary, here’s what we’ve spent on our round-the-world example:

  • North America to Europe:   20,000 to 30,000 miles
  • Europe to India, Maldives, or Middle East:   20,000 miles
  • India, Maldives, or Middle East to Asia:   22,500 miles
  • Asia to South Pacific:   25,000 to 30,000 miles
  • South Pacific to North America:   37,500 miles
Want A Round The World Trip For 89 Heres How

Will This Be You After Your Round-the-World Adventure?

In the best case scenario, you’ll pay 125,000 miles, plus taxes and fees.  This assumes an off-peak award flight to Europe (20,000 American Airlines miles), and a flight from Asia Zone 2 to the South Pacific (25,000 miles).

But if you’re flying in peak season (and go from more expensive Asia Zone 1 to the South Pacific), you’ll need 140,000 miles for this routing.  That’s still a fantastic deal from signing-up for 3 credit cards!

In either case, you’d still have miles left over!

Bottom Line

You could take a trip of a lifetime by applying for 3 credit cards and spending $89 for an annual fee.

You’ll get 150,000 miles from the sign-up bonuses on the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard, CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard, and the Barclaycard US Airways Premier World MasterCard.  And you’ll only pay $89 in annual fees the 1st year.

Then, you can put together enough 1-way flights on American Airlines and their partners to fly all the way around the world.  The routing you choose is up to you (as long as you can find available award seats!).

Remember, you’ll have to wait until the 2nd quarter of 2015 for your US Airways miles to be converted to American Airlines miles.

Where will you go on your round-the-world trip?

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Editorial Disclaimer: Neither the responses below nor the editorial content on this page are provided or commissioned by the bank advertisers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertisers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the bank advertisers. It is not the bank advertisers’ responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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17 responses to “Want a Round-the-World Trip for $89? Here’s How!

  1. Great article! This would be so awesome to do. Coordinate it with some hotel cards and you’re around the world for very little. We’re going to use about 150k AA for a hawaii trip in 2015 for 4 people. Not too bad but around the world sounds so much better 🙂

  2. W/ regards to the Barclays card, do you think it is worth while to call them BEFORE you apply to see if there is going to be a problem…??? A friend of mine got the Arrival Plus card in OCT and wants to get the USAirways card before it goes away…Thoughts, experiences…???

  3. Very good to know. I actually got the Barclaycard US Airways card last year, then (foolishly) missed out on miles because I didn’t meet the minimum spend within the first few months.

    Just to clarify…

    – Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard: must spend spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months
    – CitiBusiness AAdvantage World MasterCard: must spend $3,000 in the 1st 3 months

    So you’ll need to spend $2,000/mo. on these cards for 3 months to get the bonus. Right?

    But with the Barclays US Airways Premier World MasterCard: you don’t need to spend anything except one purchase and the $89 annual fee. Then you get 50,000 US Airways miles.

    Maybe I’m alone here, but I’m not going to spend $2,000/mo. on these new cards.

    So I’m interested in the Barclays US Airways Premier World card… Do I just immediately pay $89 for the first year, make my first purchase, and I get 50,000 US Airways miles?

    Thanks, Daraius and Emily
    -Zach

  4. I have the Barclay card and tried to get another one, no go. Was told that I already had that product. Tried to get the Citi Platinum card, no go. Was told that I had 2 of the Citi AA Exec cards, one closed now, and they would not allow any one to have another sign up bonus of this level. I’m not sure I should HUCA on either at this point.

    If anyone else has better luck with the recon calls I’d like to know what you did to pull it off. TIA!

  5. What a great idea!!! I am already planning the trip for 2016…

  6. Hi Daraius & Emily,

    Thanks for this great post.
    I have citi advantage card and got 50K bonus. Will apply for Citi business and will get another 50K bonus miles. So, definitely a good deal for me.

    Regarding US airways miles, when they convert to AA miles, how the conversion would take place? Won’t I need to specify my AAdvantage number?
    Or is that something I will need to “transfer” from US airways to AA?

    Thanks
    Hemang

  7. I read in the T&C for the US Airways card, “This offer may not be available if you already have or have had a US Airways Visa or MasterCard credit card.” I have had the card twice. 1st card, no annual fee and 35K bonus miles opened Feb of 2013, closed Dec 2013. Second card with an annual fee of $89 (which I got them to waive by calling and spending at least $89) opened April 2014, closed Dec 2014. Do you think I can get it one more time before it goes away? Is it considered a different product now that the bonus is 50K instead of 40K?

  8. I was just denied the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard. I currently have the Citi AAdvantage executive card. Guessing that is the reason.

  9. Nice article, showing a way to pull this off still exists, but I continue to miss the OneWorld Explorer award that AA nuked back in early April 2014. That one was a true gem! I still hold out hope that they’ll possibly re-institute something alone those lines, even with a different redemption chart. If not, this is a viable backup plan.

  10. Incorrect information. Shame on you, Darius. Round the world for $89 dollars? $64 is the CORRECTION. If you don’t initially sign up for Paperless statements, you will see a banner that will credit you $25 just for doing so. And if you already signed up, no worries, unsubscribe and log out and whallla, the banner is there!
    SHAME ON YOU, DARIUS for giving your readers “too good information to be true” when really is “even better information to be true” Yet it is! haha 😉

  11. I’m considering applying for the US Airways card again, but curious if I can get the bonus again as well? I downgraded the card to Barclay Arrival back in March 2014. Would anyone know if would qualify for the bonus again?

    • @IADFlyer – I wouldn’t call.

      @Zach – That’s correct. You pay the fee for the 1st year, make a purchase and get the 50K US Air miles.

      @Hemang – You’ll have to link your account early next year with your AA account.

      @Gail @Chad – With Barclays, you usually get the bonus if you recei e the card.

      @DavidAAd – LOL!

  12. Hi Daraius,

    Been a long-time follower and beneficiary of your wonderful blog! I learnt how to use the two-browser trick on your site which allowed me to get 100,000 AA miles which I later used for my honeymoon trip.

    I have a question for you. Since I already benefitted from the two browser trick (earned 50,000 miles from Citi AA Amex and 50,000 Citi AA Visa), will I still get the miles if I applied and qualified for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard? I applied and was approved for the two Citi cards back in June 2012. I cancelled the Visa about a year later but still have the Amex card.

    Also, I am assuming my having applied for the Citi cards has no impact on my ability to get the 50,000 miles on the Barclaycard, correct?

    Thanks in advance for your help with this. I am thinking of applying soon!

    Best,

    Tausif

  13. Can you currently transfer US Air miles to AA?

  14. Hey Darius,

    I’m about to possibly apply for the Barclay US Airways card for the 50k miles that will become AA miles and also the $99 companion pass. My question is, if I got approved in the next few days, I would still get the companion pass right? You said new ones wouldn’t be issued after 2014, but does that include the one that comes as a sign up bonus with a new card? Thanks.

    • @Tausif Salim – It should be possible since you were last approved 2 years ago and the Citi cards shouldn’t impact the Barclays card

      @Curtis – Not currently, but you will be able to in the next few months. You can book AA flights with US Air miles.

      @Ben Keeney – I believe so.

  15. Hi!! I love this site. I’m trying to get to Abu Dhabi in April for a wedding. I’m kicking myself because I missed out on that airfare deal last week
    My husband and I would still like to go, but those current ticket prices are pretty steep, especially for a trip that’ll only last a few days.

    I’m new to the whole travel rewards from credit cards thing but would something like this work for us?
    Should we each apply for all the cards? Or would one of us having the rewards suffice? Should the flightu be booked as one way?

    p.s. we both have credit scores above 700…