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Today is the last part of my three part series on my personal awards for travel between mid-2012 and mid-2014.

Today’s six awards are overwhelmingly First Class awards on some of the nicest airlines in the world like Singapore, Cathay Pacific, Thai, and Malaysia Airlines.

My Bed in Malaysia Airlines First Class

Which of my most recent awards could you have booked?

12. August 2013 to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia Airlines First Class on an A380

Anatomy of an Award: None, this was booked as a long-since-dead mistake fare award that I promised not to reveal.

Trip Report: coming soon

Notable for: The price was 15k Avios and $439. The chicken satay before lunch was incredible!

Skills Involved: The main skill involved was networking. The person who tipped me off to the momentary mistake fare was someone active in the community who knew he could trust me not to post the deal on this site.

From time to time, I get tips for great limited time opportunities like this one that don’t show up on the blogs or forums from people who are sending the tips to their friends in the miles community.

How can you get similar emails? The easiest way is to meet people at upcoming live events like the Chicago Seminars or various Frequent Traveler Universities. The deals are mainly shared by email among people who have met in person.

13. September 2013 from Phuket to Vienna in Thai Airways First Class on an A380

Anatomy of an Award: First Class in a Thai A380 for 65k United Miles

Trip Report: Coming soon

Notable for: This is the second award I’ve booked for myself with hidden city ticketing techniques. Phuket to Vienna should be 80k United miles in First Class, but by adding a final segment from Vienna to Tel Aviv, the price drops to 65k miles, saving 15k precious United miles.

This award also illustrated a problem with’s award searching engine: it is bad at finding connections through non-hub cities like Paris. I worked around that with segment-by-segment searching and calling in.

Skills Involved:

14. September 2013 Seven Cities in Europe Using 24 Hour Layovers

Anatomy of an Award: How to See Seven Cities in Europe on One 12,500 Mile Award

Trip Report: none forthcoming, it will be intra-Europe economy

Notable for: I’m spending only 12,500 United miles to see seven cities in Europe, which is under 1,800 miles per destination!

This is an advanced use of the 24 hour layover trick to see more cities on one award.

Skills Involved:

  • The segment-by-segment searching was time consuming because I had to find takeoffs within 24 hours of the previous landing. An award like this lacks any elegance in planning. It simply require brute-force search techniques where you search certain routes day after day and change routings over and over until you find something that satisfies the rules.
  • I used wikipedia to figure out my routing options.
  • I used this list of Star Alliance partners to jog my memory of their hubs.

15. October 2013 to Honolulu for 12,500 Avios

See August 2012 award from Hawaii. This is identical.

16. February 2014 from New York to Singapore in Cathay Pacific First Class

Anatomy of an Award: Getting Extra First Class on Cathay Pacific

Trip Report: Coming in 2014

Notable for: This award is notable as being the first of three awards necessary to fly my dream around-the-world ultra-luxury itinerary.

It’s also notable in that I squeezed a second flight in Cathay Pacific First Class onto the award for no extra miles after a 23-hour layover in Hong Kong.

Skills Involved: One of the main skills I used was making use of the awesome information on FlyerTalk. Specifically I found a thread that details some intra-Asia flights with Cathay Pacific First Class.

Another skill was using to find operating aircrafts easily to make sure my intra-Asia flights did feature the correct First Class product.

The award also involved searching for award space to redeem my American Airlines miles.

17. March 2014 from Singapore to London in Singapore Suites

Anatomy of an Award: Booking Singapore Suites

Trip Report: Coming in 2014

Notable for: This is the most miles I’ve ever spent on a single flight at 91,375 KrisFlyer miles, which required a transfer of 92,000 Membership Rewards (plus $250 out of pocket!)

Because of the outlay and Tahsir’s trip report, I have higher expectations for this flight than any other.

Skills Involved: Booking this award required knowing the transfer partners of transferable points and which airlines release award space to their partners.

Singapore doesn’t release any Suites Class space to its partners, so I knew I needed Singapore miles. Singapore is a transfer partner of Membership Rewards and Starpoints. I used my own Membership Rewards and 27k from friends who transferred their Membership Rewards to my KrisFlyer account to get the miles I needed.


This third batch of awards featured several that a newbie would be unlikely to book–at least at the price I got.

  • The Thai First Class award had a trick to save 15k miles.
  • The Malaysia First Class Award was underpriced by 60k Avios, and I found out through this awesome community.
  • The seven-cities-in-Europe award was underpriced by 62,500 United miles if you expect each trip to cost 12,500 miles within Europe.
  • I saved myself 32,500 American Airlines miles by adding the Hong Kong to Singapore flight in Cathay Pacific First Class onto my existing award for zero extra miles.

Overall this third batch represents by far the nicest flying experiences–that’s a lot of A380 First/Suites Class–and some of the cleverest awards to stretch my miles farther.

But there’s no award among these six–or among the 17 I’ve discussed in this series–that’s outside of anyone’s ability to book on their own. After all, I did link to a post on each individual award booking that you can use to learn and replicate.

And that’s what I hope you’ll do: stretch the value of your miles by booking awards the ways that I have. Or if you don’t want to do that on your own, you can hire my Award Booking Service for as little as $111 per passenger.

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