Getting Together Miles for RTW Tickets
(Note: The article was updated in January 2019. Although Delta no longer offers RTW tickets as of 2019, many other airlines still do. Start with United. Yet plan in the same way as this post describes.)
After reading many blogs about RTW (Around the World) tickets, I started taking inventory of my various miles and points around my travel-sphere so that I could get the miles together for free Round the World (RTW) tickets.
SkyTeam Worked for Me
Over time, I had gathered almost 125,000 points on Delta. Most of these miles came from flat-out, butt-in-seat travel. I added to my account with hotel stay points and Hertz points, but other than that, my Delta Sky Miles came about by good old-fashioned travel. My husband had about 50,000 miles in his account, and my daughter had about 15,000 miles in her account.
Since my miles are on Delta, I decided to go with the Delta Sky Team RTW ticket. One ticket costs 180,000 points (as of 7/1/13), so I would need 360,000 miles for two tickets. I resigned myself that I would buy the third ticket so that all three of us (my husband, my 11-yr old, and me) could go. So, combined we had 180,000–enough for one ticket.
American Express Rounded Us Out
Next, I turned to my American Express Rewards points, which is the only other place I had a bucket of points. There, I had 180,000 points I had gathered over about ten years of corporate travel. I do have points scattered in a variety of places–at www.Points.com I found I could trade and barter. But by the time I looked at the fees to trade or barter, it didn’t make financial sense to nickel and dime my way to more points via bartering.
Before I moved all my points around and paid the crazy Delta fees to transfer points between three accounts and to move the American Express points, I wanted to make sure I could, in fact, book the tickets. Being a bit skeptical that I was about to get two RTW tickets for “free,” I figured there might be a catch. Next up, my first call to Delta.