25,000 Mile RTW Trip Including Iraq Booked!

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I’ve been missing in action, but for a good reason. I have been working on another epic round-the-world trip, the last being in 2019 before the world ended (see Booked! ANA RTW: 22,000 Miles in Glorious Business). Once again, I am using ANA miles to make this business class dream come true.

Here is a comparison of the past and present:

Miles Required 

  • 2019: The 22,000-mile flight required 125,000 ANA points.
  • 2022: I am flying just under 25,000 miles. This requires 145k ANA points.

How to Get ANA Miles 

I transferred 145k MR’s, and in one day the miles were reflected in my account. Note that ANA miles expire after 3 years from issuance and cannot be extended.

Fuel Surcharges 

If there’s one drawback to ANA, it’s that you have to pay fuel surcharges depending on which airline you fly. The way to check how much fuel surcharges will be is to search on the Matrix.

YQ or YR denotes fuel surcharges.
YQ or YR denotes fuel surcharges.

In the ‘el cheapo’ days, I would be outraged if I had to pay one dollar in fuel surcharges and would try to use my Barclays Arrival card to offset such charges. Today, I don’t care and don’t have the time or desire to MS my way to a few hundred in savings (see I’m Done with Manufactured Spending).

  • 2019: The fuel surcharges came out to $1022. Que desastre!
  • 2022: The fuel surcharges came out to $1602.13 Que mierda!

Routing Rules 

Via God Save the Points, here are the rules with my comments in bold from this time and last time:

  • You must choose to fly east-west or west-east — you are NOT allowed to backtrack:
    • 2019: ANA allowed to fly to Beirut via Istanbul and then to Shanghai via Istanbul. Initially, I thought it was absolutely not allowed to go backwards. From what I’ve read and with my experience, you just can’t backtrack from one continent to another.
    • 2022: I went from Lithuania to Iraq, to Turkey, onto Tunisia, back to Istanbul, then to Georgia, back to Istanbul, then to Qatar, then to Egypt, before finally going to Thailand. Somehow that’s not backtracking.
  • You must cross both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans — only once each as per the rule above:
    • 2019: Easily done.
    • 2022: Basically impossible. Thanks to Covid there are no flights on Air China; there’s no availability on Asiana; United had no saver awards; and ANA from Japan was impossible because tourists aren’t allowed into Japan to transit from HND to NRT. The only flight I found was NRT to MEX but could not find a flight that arrived on time.
  • Include up to 12 segments and include 4 ground transfer segments.
    • 2019: I could only get to 10. Obviously, direct flights are your best bet.
    • 2022: I hit 12 but it wasn’t by choice. All roads lead to Istanbul.
  • Up to 8 stopovers are allowed. If you have all the time in the world, take the stopovers. I do not but am still satisfied with the routing.
    • Up to 3 in Europe
    • Up to 4 in Japan
  • Your trip must span at least 10 days from the date of your first international departure. I would love to see someone do this in 11 days.
  • Flights may be operated by ANA or Star Alliance partners.
    • 2019: From what I read, you cannot fly Etihad and book flights with Star Alliance Partners. Juneyao Air, an airline based out of Shanghai, is a United partner but not a Star Alliance partner.
    • 2022: An ANA round the world ticket is basically a tour of Turkish Airlines, for better or worse.
  • Your itinerary must touch all three zones, what ANA calls “Areas”, and return to the one from which you started the trip.
    • 2019: As you’ll see from my GCMAP, I had to fly from New York and return to New York. I tried to fly from Puerto Rico and return to New York but was told that Puerto Rico is not part of the United States. That’s interesting to learn.
    • 2022: I tried to start in PR and end in Latin America but could not find availability.

Where I’m Going 

Airlines 

  • LOT (JFK-WAW): I’ve never flown LOT before. That’s exciting minus the reviews saying it’s not the greatest.
  • Singapore (Didn’t work): I found availability on SQ business and put tickets on hold. I called back to make other changes and they said that the agent said that I could not fly SQ in business because the airline doesn’t release award space for business. I don’t know what would have happened had I booked that itinerary instead of putting it on hold and did not bother to try.
  • EgyptAir (DOH-CAI-BKK): This was the best way to plan for Algeria and get to SE Asia. I flew EgyptAir in economy and it wasn’t bad (see EgyptAir: Warning Economy Class Review), but like LOT, I don’t hear great things.
  • United (HND-LAX): I’ve been out of the game so long that I did not know that United eliminated their ‘saver’ business column. Thanks to Live And Let’s Fly, I learned that ‘JN’ isn’t saver and that I need to find ‘I’ to get old-school pricing that is bookable on partner airlines.
Thanks to JN, there will be no GUM for ‘I’.
  • Turkish: Everything else.

Booking 

It’s easy, almost too easy, to book an ANA RTW ticket. Unlike most ticketing centers, the ANA representatives want you to feed them the flight numbers. And if something is not available, you don’t have to hang up and call back after you’ve figured it out. They help you find something else.

2019: TPOL’s TIP: You have 72 hours to put your ticket on hold, but ANA will not guarantee that tickets will actually be there when you’re ready to book (see Award Booking OCD = Fortnite Addiction).

2022: TPOL’s TIP: They said 24 hours was the maximum they would put the itinerary on hold, but then they put it on hold for 72 after I called back. Best to book as soon as possible regardless.

Total Mileage Flown 

  • 2019: I wanted to get as close to 22k miles as possible. GCMAP says I topped out at 21,589, but ANA said I was at 21,879. I’ll go with ANA’s official mileage in measuring how close I came to squeezing every mile in business.
  • 2022: GCMAP says 24,275. I’m slipping on my efficiency.

Map

I’ve saved the best for last, the map.

  • 2019
  • 2022

Both are glorious.

Airlines Spreadsheet 

  • 2019
  • 2022: You’ll have to wait till this is over.

Overall

  • 2019: Devaluation? I Laugh in the Face of Devaluation, and am happy to say that I still do. Maybe this points game will come to an end one day, but at this rate, I think I’ll be dead before that happens. #pointsnewdeal #tpol2020 #tpol2024
  • 2022: I’m happy to get back on the road again. #duckcovid #nomaskonplanes

And One More Thing 

I booked this for two people. #dynomite #youvestillgotit

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