Here we go again with another round of Covid cancellations. It has been 5 months since the 'shut down' began in the US, and I don't even know what else to say anymore about how poorly this country has handled the pandemic, as compared to the rest of the world (including many 'third-world' countries).
For the next 4 weeks, I was supposed to be traveling back to Malaysia, spend 2 weeks home, attend a wedding, then meet up with hubby for a week-long trip in Japan. Obviously, all these are not happening. When I published this post in March, I was still hopeful that things would get better by now but obviously nope. The borders for most countries are still closed and international travel is still very much restricted. As of now, we have already cancelled/postponed two planned trips. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the world will figure out a way to get back to some sort of normalcy over the next few months. Or else, 2020 will officially be the "cancelled" year.
We have just returned from our Hawaii trip and it is going to take some time before I finish editing all the photos and posting the trip reports. In the meantime, I wanted to share how we planned for this trip using points and miles to reduce our costs significantly. Long story short, the entire planning process took about 10 months with multiple changes in between, which explains this lengthy post.
After booking the flights for our 'Asia Hopper' trip, our next task was to sort out the accommodation for 1-week in Taiwan and 1-night in Hong Kong.
IHG hasn't been on my radar in the past as I've always preferred SPG (now Marriott) when I travel for work. It wasn't until last year when I started planning for our New Zealand trip that I started looking more into IHG and was able to score 6 free hotel nights in New Zealand for 108,000 IHG points.
Travel Is Free posted a few posts about IHG earlier this year and this post got me checking my Q2/Q3 2019 IHG Accelerate promotion and my offer was actually really good...complete 6 offers and earn 105,000! P.S. I'm glad to see Drew back in the blog-sphere again as his posts are always intriguing and interesting. =)
Here's my offer:
In October 2016, United changed its lucrative award stopover rules and replaced it with the 'Excursionist Perk'. Fortunately, we were able to take advantage of the old stopover rules and pieced together a Round-the-World trip right before United made the change.
While it's unfortunate that all good things must come to an end, the Excursionist perk is still quite a valuable perk for award redemption with United miles. After all, it still gives you a FREE stopover, which is not an option for many other airlines.
Back in January, I used United's Excursionist perk to book our September trip to Malaysia with a stopover in Taiwan. Our flight route looks like this...
After our trip to Iceland this past summer, our second trip of the year brought us to the South Pacific. Iceland and New Zealand...two expensive "lands" within a year, what were we thinking?! Surprisingly, the total "all-in" cost for the both of us was less than ONE round-trip economy flight ticket from the US to New Zealand. =) Read on to find out where we went, what we did, and how much we spent.
Total distance of 18,151 miles (29,211 km). Nowhere close to the RTW trip last year, but I doubt we'll ever beat that.
Tokyo was our longest stop during our 2017 Round-the-World trip. As we all know, Tokyo is an expensive city, and spending 7 nights in Tokyo would cost a lot of $$$. However, we were able stay 7-nights at a 4-star hotel in Tokyo for $0. Thanks to Marriott's awesome 7-night travel package (which has devalued big time after Aug 17, 2018).
January 2021 December 2019