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:

  • 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
  The information for the Citi AAdvantage Platinum and CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum has been collected independently by Million Mile Secrets. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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:

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?

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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