United Club San Francisco, International Terminal
United Business Class San Francisco to Seoul
Asiana Airlines Business Class Lounge Seoul
Korean Air Lounge and Singapore SilverKris Lounge Seoul
Singapore Business Class Seoul to Singapore
Ambassador Transit Lounge Singapore
Singapore SilverKris Lounge Singapore
Changi Airport Free Singapore Tour
Singapore Business Class Singapore to Colombo
Lotus and Araliya Lounges Colombo
Qatar Airways Business Class Colombo to Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Premium Terminal Doha
Qatar Airways First Class Doha to Dubai
Emirates First Class Lounge Dubai
Emirates First Class Dubai to London Heathrow
British Airways Concorde Room London Heathrow
British Airways Galleries First Lounge and Club World Lounge London Heathrow
British Airways First Class London Heathrow to San Francisco
The two most frequent questions I’ve received after this trip have been 1) “Why did you do it?” and 2) “Was it worth it?”
My answers: 1) Why not? and 2) Yes (I think).
To be clear, this trip was not cheap. I did not do it for miles. Out of pocket cost was roughly $2,500 and 60,000 United miles. Assuming that all of my miles post correctly, I recouped roughly 13k American miles, 3k US Airways miles, 20k BA Avios (for inoperable entertainment system), and 8k Ultimate Rewards points. So all told, I’d say the trip cost a little under $3000. Not a small chunk of change.
[As an aside, if you’re looking to achieve AA Platinum status, you could pay $240 and sign up for a Platinum status challenge before (or immediately after) an ex-CMB fare, and this trip alone would give you enough points to meet the 10,000 point requirement since you’re flying paid first (assuming that you stick mostly to BA and Qantas). If your challenge starts on or after June 16th, you get status through the current year, all of the following year, plus the first two months of the next year. I would’ve signed up if this trip had happened a month later. (Actually, I’m not 100% positive on that date, so I’d double check that, but I think it’s either June 16th or July 16th…)]
I definitely don’t regret going on this trip. Yes, it was a lot of money to spend on a 4-day trip, but studies say that people underinvest in experiences if they’re trying to maximize happiness. And I’d much rather travel now than when I’m retired.
On the flip side, having access to these peak experiences can diminish your enjoyment of otherwise good experiences (as may have happened to me at the British Airways Concorde Room after experiencing the Emirates First Class Lounge in Dubai), and a lot of enjoyment can be derived from the anticipation of an upcoming event (so it would have been better if I had planned this trip a long time ago and had time to relish the upcoming event).
Ultimately, it’s hard to rationalize flying around the world in premium cabins, but it was definitely a unique experience that’ll last me a long time. It’s also heightened my excitement and anticipation of future trips–both in coach and in first–that I have planned, so I think I’ll have a lasting happiness boost from the experience. And hey, now I can say that I’ve flown around the world in 100 hours, which is completely unnecessary and inane, but brings a smile to my face every time.