Everyone is asking me “Why are you going to Thailand?  How did you pick THAT place?”

Well, the answer is pretty simple.  I saw a picture of limestone karsts jutting out of the Andaman Sea and thought it was beautiful!

“I WANT TO GO THERE!”

And so it began…

James Bond Island

James Bond Island

I’d been hoarding miles and points for a couple of years now.  I know the airline award charts change and evolve every so often but there are always “sweet spots”.  Sweet spots are airline routes that are priced at a really good deal on the award charts.  I’d already waited too long and missed taking advantage of USAirways sweet spot pricing to Asia (which was the best price to get to Asia).    Now that they had merged with American Airlines, I knew that sooner or later the AA  award chart would be changing. It was time to splurge and use some miles for a trip to Asia before the award chart devaluations.

My search began on British Airways website.  It’s a good place to search for award flights on all AA partners.  I’ve heard so much about how much everyone loves Cathay Pacific business and first class, so that’s what I was looking for.  I managed to snag a business class flight on Cathay one way and a first class/business class combo on Japan airlines the other way.

The price for two tickets:  $245.00

Plus I had to give up 245,000 AA miles.

(67,500 miles one way from Chicago to Bangkok in First Class per person)

(55,000 miles one way from Siem Reap to Chicago in Business class per person.)

The $245.00 covers taxes and fees.  I asked the AA reservation agent what the price of the tickets would have been if we had paid cash for them….  “$15,016…per ticket for a total of $30,032!!”   I could NEVER afford to pay cash for that….and that is why I am a travel hacker.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

I’m excited to take my first overseas flights and my first premium cabin international flights!  Stay tuned for trip reports and pics!