Quest Around The Globe: Too Much Cash, Not Enough Points

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The Quest Around the Globe was far from free. Compared to my $77,000 Trip Heard Round the World and my Tahiti Triumph Trip Report, this adventure was very expensive and I didn’t travel very far. I visited 7 countries by flying 25,000 miles. I spent $2,822 for air, hotels, and one train ride while burning 400,000 points. The retail price for this trip is around $28,000 so I can’t complain too much about a 90% discount. Indeed, the numbers would look a lot better if I included the points savings of my companion.

In terms of hotel redemptions, there’s nothing that impressive. Many of the reservations were cash + points which added up quickly. For other reservations, it didn’t make sense to use points so I just used cash. That didn’t help the bottom line either.

If I was analyzing this as a points nerd, I would say that this is not my best work. Since my objective is traveling not hoarding, I can confidently say that I am satisfied with how I pieced this trip together. I do have a few takeaways:

  • Club Carlson: I won’t cancel my Club Carlson cards. They came in handy across the globe even if the redemptions were not the greatest of all time.
  • First vs Business: Without question, it was worth spending a few thousand more points to fly SQ first instead of business. Two words: Grand Cuvee. Same goes for Etihad Business versus First. One word: Apartment.
  • Status: I requalified for Platinum with SPG and am getting closer to requalifiying for Hyatt Diamond. It was exhausting jumping around so much but I think it was worth it. (see Switching Hotels for Status: How Much Is Too Much?)
  • Local Hotels: In Cyprus there weren’t any points options available. The first two nights I stayed at the #4 hotel recommended by TripAdvisor. It was $146/night. That’s not terrible but without the comforts of 4PM checkout and the excellent service of the brand hotels, I don’t think it’s was worth it. The third night I stayed at a basic hotel for $49 and was perfectly satisfied. Going forward I’m either Chungking Mansions hostel or brand loyalist.

Here’s the nerdy Excel spreadsheet which details my calculations. I’ve already started on my New Year’s spreadsheet which will be much more impressive than this trip, at least on paper.

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