Things have been very busy here in YWWville. I’m in escrow on a condo, work is hectic, and I just finished up the Jewish High Holy Days. I hope to wrap up my trip reports from Germany this weekend, because next week I head off on a ten day adventure to East Asia.
The impetus for this trip was my friend from high school, who was living in Abu Dhabi, moving to Seoul with her husband. I’ve never been to that part of the world, so why not. Initially I planned on spending about a week in Korea, and then 4 days in Taiwan – not the closest place, but a place that’s supposed to be pretty and nice weather in October. For the outbound travel, I used United miles to book business class tickets on United and Asiana (though I made a mistake on that I’ll talk about later that I had to fix). I used my British Airways Avios points before their recent devaluation to book a business class flight from Seoul to Taipei on Cathay Pacific. And for the return, I used my AA miles to book a business class flight from Taipei to Hong Kong on Cathay, connecting to an AA flight from Hong Kong to Dallas, then back to DC.
I kept watching availability for the return flight, and ended up snagging Japan Airlines first class — TPE-NRT-LAX, connecting to American LAX-DCA. Since AA doesn’t charge a change fee as long as your origin and destination don’t change, it was definitely worth it to try a true First Class product. But then my condo situation developed and I decided I should really come back a few days earlier for both sanity and budget reasons. Lo and behold, there was award availability in Cathay First Class from Hong Kong to Chicago, so I was able to book TPE-HKG (Business), HKG-ORD (First), ORD-DCA (Coach, boo) two days earlier.
So my “final” itinerary is as follows:
United First IAD-SFO
Asiana Business SFO-ICN
Imperial Palace Hotel Seoul (2 nights), Four Points by Sheraton Seoul Namsan (1 night)
Hilton Gyeongju (2 nights)
Holiday Inn Seoul Eujiro (1 night)
Cathay Pacific Business ICN-TPE
The Landis Hotel, Taipei (2 nights)
Cathay Pacific Business TPE-HKG, Cathay First HKG-ORD, AA Coach ORD-DCA
I don’t have much pre-planned but a DMZ Tour in Seoul, so if you have any tips please let me know!