Flight Planning for Asia

After deciding which countries to visit, it’s time to find and book the flights. The countries we are visiting this time around are South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, and Macau. Since I’m the one in charge of picking airlines and flights, I got right on it and started looking for flights to those countries. I decided that the flight path for us was going to be JFK (New York) -> ICN (Seoul) -> NRT (Tokyo) -> HKG (Hong Kong) -> JFK (New York).

For our flight to Seoul, South Korea, we decided (with a little persuasion from me) to splurge and fly first class on Korean Air using miles. A one way first class flight costs 80,000 (Korean Air) SKYPASS miles and about $136 in taxes. At the time, neither one of us had a SKYPASS account. But knowing that SKYPASS is a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards, I created a SKYPASS account for both of us so that we can transfer points from our Ultimate Rewards accounts to our SKYPASS accounts.

Points transfer from Ultimate Rewards to SKYPASS at a 1:1 ratio, so it costs each of us 80,000 points. Ultimate Rewards points can be traded in for cash at a rate of 1 cent per point. So 80,000 points can be cashed in for $800. But I like to take advantage of the transfer capability to get better value out of these points. If you paid for these tickets with money, they would cost about $10,000 each!

Another advantage of using miles to book this flight is that Korean Air gives you one free stopover when booking with miles. So this covered our flight to Tokyo as well. So we will be flying from New York to Seoul and Seoul to Tokyo in the first class cabin. This will be the very first time we are flying first class on any airline, so we are very excited about our upcoming flight. We will be aboard an Airbus A380 for our 14 hour flight to Seoul. It’s a very large double decker aircraft with a lounge and bar area, and it’s supposed to be the best aircraft to fly first class on. I can’t wait to check it out.

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