The vast majority of our flights were purchased with United Airlines’ frequent flyer miles. We took advantage of a product called the Round the World Fare with the Star Alliance. The Star Alliance is made up of United Airlines plus its international airline partners.
In order to purchase a Round the World fare, you have to meet certain requirements. Ifyou are using frequent flyer miles, you have to adhere to additional rules. The requirements change, but in general:
- Maximum of 6 stopovers, not including the return to your starting point
- Maximum of 15 legs (This is your actual number of connecting flights.)
- Travel in the same global direction (For example, you fly east to west or west to east. There is some allowance for backtracking through a connecting city, as long as the city is in the same zone.)
- Travel must start and end in the country of origin
The flights can be booked 11 months from your end date, meaning I booked our flights on September 17, 2012. Since that time, I’ve had to make a total of 100+ changes on the four tickets. (Think dominoes: if you disturb one, the rest come toppling down!) Because of Neerav’s frequent flyer status (1K), the changes were free. We did pay for airport taxes.
The Round the World Fare is a good option if you’re able to plan ahead. It’s also a good way to get to those far-off places (like Tahiti or Katmandu… literally) that would otherwise cost a small fortune on a separate trip.