Thursday, March 20, 2008

Change of plans

After fiddling around a bunch with the Star Alliance RTW Mileage Calculator, I came across the realization that I would not be able to make it to Lima, Peru. Apparently the Star Alliance has issues with coverage in South America and this is one of the problems. To get to Lima, I would have had to fly to Toronto, Canada and take Air Canada.

In case you haven't caught on yet, RTW = Round the World.

Lima happens to be one of my must-see locations, and therefore I decided to seriously consider OneWorld. OneWorld happens to be American Airlines (AA) and its partners. This turned out to be good for 2 reasons:

1. I happen to be an AA Gold member this year, so it will help me get better seats on every flight.
2. OneWorld's RTW fare does not count the maximum number of miles you can fly. They happen to calculate by number of total flight segments, and they allow 20 total. This sounds like a lot I know, especially because Star Alliance only allowed 15 destinations, but you have to remember that flying from India to Egypt with a stopover is considered 2 flight segments. So the trick is to only book nonstop flights wherever possible. This is how you get the most bang for the buck.

There is another caveat to OneWorld's calculations: You can only fly 4 segments max in each continent. So whereas before I was planning to check out Vietnam, I've decided I'm not going to anymore, because Thailand, Japan, Korea, and China are more important to me. Vietnam also required a VISA so that helps ease the stress a little bit as well.

I booked Barcelona instead of South Africa, because flights from Cairo to Cape Town were impossible unless I felt like giving up 2 segments and flying halfway around the world for a connection. I also have no problems skipping the crime in South Africa as well.

I have to fly into Hong Kong right now because there were no flights available to Shanghai or Beijing during the late summer, probably due to the Olympics.

I also added Chile because I could. I tried to add Morocco but the flights didn't work out.

So while I haven't booked the final itinerary yet, here's what I've now planned out:
New Zealand
Puerto Rico


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