Points & Miles RTW Awards

The cheapest around the world business class award ticket

Ever since I read the book Around the World in Eighty Days, I loved the concept of traveling in one direction experiencing different cultures and food. All to end up finding my way home if I just keep going in one direction. However, today it won’t take 80 days, and one could fly across the world in comfort in a day and a half.

For people that know me, I love SkyTeam airlines. Maybe it’s because they are the outcast that actually have some fantastic airlines with a rich history and wonderful business class products.

Till Febuary 14th 2019, American Express Membership Rewards points are able to transfer to Aeromexico with a 1:2 ratio. That’s 25% extra points.

Before I never thought twice about transferring my valuable Membership Rewards points to Aeromexico Club Premier. However, Sebastian from LoyaltyLobby wrote about the 25% transfer bonus from Amex Membership Rewards points to Aeromexico and Aeromexico’s around the world redemptions.

The cheapest* RTW award

While it’s partly clickbait, right now it’s the cheapest* round the world award redemption if you want to fly everywhere around the world in business class. Aeromexico’s RTW award requires 352,000 miles for business class, but because of the Amex Membership Rewards points transfer promo, the this RTW award is only 176,000 points.

For only 176,000 points transferred from Amex (during the transfer promotion to Aeromexico), you could redeem for a RTW award which is:

  • Up to 15 stopovers (3 required, 5 max per continent)
  • Unlimited segments
  • Unlimited distance

That means you can do crazy distances like 42,713 miles (68,739 km) itineraries like this one below all in business class for only 176,000 points!

The itinerary you see above has 14 stopovers with room for 1 more stopover if you wish.

Using Detroit as the origin the stopover cities can be Los Angeles, Sydney, Taipei, Bali, Chengdu, Bangkok, Nairobi, Beirut, Bucharest, Prague, Rome, Paris, Buenos Aires, and Lima.

Delta One Suites (aka business class) is available on all of their A350s and some 777s

You may notice there are 18 segments with 2 connection cities. Those 2 connection cities actually backtrack, which is against the rules for stopovers. However, in the example above, those cities are used for connecting between two stopover cities so you could backtrack. Since Aeromexico doesn’t have a hard defined rule about backtracking for connection cities, some agents will ignore the one direction rule if you are only connecting to allow backtracking for connecting.

Like always, if one agent says no to backtracking for connections, you should hang up and call back. #HUCA

Here are the official rules for Aeromexico RTW awards:

-The trip in question must involve travel in the same direction, namely, eastwards or westwards.
-Seats are subject to availability and confirmation by participating carriers.
-Applies only to flights operated by SkyTeamâ„¢ airlines.
-Travel must begin and return to the same country.
-A minimum of three stopovers is required, with a maximum of 15 stopovers permitted during a trip, with a maximum of five stopovers per continent.
-For the purpose of SkyTeamâ„¢ Go Round the World Passes, a stopover means any city on the itinerary in which passengers wish to remain more than 24 hours before continuing travel.
-The cities of origin and final destination do not count as stopovers.
-Flights between stopovers must either be scheduled for direct or immediate connections.
-Travel may originate in any city in the world, as long as the flight is operated by a SkyTeamâ„¢ airline.
-Pass applies to following travel regions: North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, Oceania (Australia) and Asia.
-Passengers may remain at each stopover as long as they wish, provided tickets are still valid.
-Class of service: Economy and Business Class/Clase Premier. All flights must be booked in the same class: Economy or Business.
-Valid for one year after ticket issue date.

Aeromexico Club Premier
China Airlines business class seat available on all their A350s and long-haul 777s

Of course, my example itinerary isn’t for everyone, but it’s very customizable as you could go anywhere in one direction.

*However, it’s only the cheapest if you go far and have many stopovers. For total itineraries of less than 29,000 miles in distance and 8 stopovers or less, there might be a better option.

Compared to ANA‘s RTW award

As you read above, Aeromexico’s RTW award is crazy good if you go far and visit many places. In reality, most people wouldn’t go crazy and visit that many destinations in one trip. (I for one would)

If the total itinerary distance is less than 29,000 miles, ANA will win the cheapest RTW award. In reality, ANA’s RTW award chart is actually really nice. If you know how ground transfers work and backtracking, you could go pretty far.

Anything in the red box is cheaper than Aeromexico’s RTW award. You can have up to 8 stopovers, 12 segments, and 4 ground transfers. ANA allows mixed cabins, while Aeromexico doesn’t. ANA ground transfers do not count towards distance. Here is ANA’s RTW award chart:

One could visit quite a few continents at a time within 29,000 miles like North America, Europe, Asia, and Ocieana. (Note that ORD is used as a connection city, so it doesn’t count as a stopover.)

25,714 mi

Sadly, if you want to add another continent like South America along with North America, Europe, Asia, and Ocieana, it would cost you more ANA miles since the total itinerary distance is more significant than 29,000 miles.

34,292 mi

The good thing about ANA’s RTW awards is that they are very easy to manipulate the distance and backtracking. ANA doesn’t count ground transfers as part of the distance in one zone. Plus, ANA allows backtracking in the same zone. So, you could fly Beijing PEK – Hong Kong HKG – Tokyo Narita NRT since they are in the same zone and agents allow this type of backtracking.

I might do a full write up explaining what’s possible with ANA RTW awards, but in the mean time Point Me to the Plane wrote a decent article explaining ANA RTW awards if you want to learn more.

Final word

In the end, both Aeromexico and ANA RTW awards are great programs for redeeming that round the world trip you always wanted. I would personally use both of them in different situations since they are entirely different programs with pros and cons becasue of their rules and the aliance itself.

Aeromexico is great if you want to visit many places with no limit to the distance you fly. While ANA is great if you fancy ground transfers, mixed cabins, and need to backtrack to another city within the same zone.

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