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Updated July 2023
Round-the-world flights refer to a series of flights that circumnavigate the globe, starting and ending in roughly the same location, all booked under a single airline ticket. The specific regulations for round-the-world tickets vary depending on the airline, airline alliance, or mileage program responsible for issuing the ticket.
The cost of round-the-world flight tickets is generally determined by the number of continents traveled, regardless of the number of stops or distance covered. However, some round-the-world tickets are priced based on the total flight distance.
In general, round-the-world tickets offer significantly more flexibility compared to regular airline tickets. Some round-the-world tickets even allow for free changes as long as the overall travel itinerary remains the same. Additionally, when purchasing a cash-based round-the-world ticket, you typically earn airline miles.
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Which airlines offer around the world flights?
Airlines offer around-the-world tickets through alliances like Star Alliance and Oneworld (SkyTeam has suspended its pass). These tickets offer flexibility but have specific requirements. Some loyalty programs provide mileage tickets as an alternative for booking around-the-world trips.
For an overview of the requirements for round-the-world tickets from different airline alliances and information on booking through loyalty programs, please consult the sections below.
With the around-the-world tickets offered by the Oneworld Alliance, travelers gain unparalleled access to a vast array of destinations encompassing 170 territories, all with a single ticket. Some of the airlines partnered with the Oneworld Alliance include:
American Airlines (AA), Alaska Airlines (AS), Royal Air Maroc (AT), Finnair (AY), British Airways (BA), Cathay Pacific (CX), Iberia Airlines (IB), Japan Airlines (JL), Malaysia Airlines (MH), Japan Transocean Air (NU), Qantas Airways (QF), Qatar Airways (QR), Royal Jordanian (RJ), SriLankan Airlines (UL).
The alliance offers the following three types of multi-city multi-airline tickets.
- Oneworld Explorer: The price of this around-the-world ticket is based on the number of continents the traveler visits
- Global Explorer: This is a distance-based around-the-world ticket
- Circle Pacific: This ticket is not a complete around-the-world option and is limited to continents bordering the Pacific Ocean
Given below are some of the requirements for the Oneworld Alliance around the world flight ticket passengers:
- the starting and ending locations of the itinerary must be the same city
- the total number of flights should not exceed 16
- the itinerary must include flights to at least 3 continents
- backtracking is not allowed
- the duration of the trip should be within 12 months
- the itinerary must include crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean
Asia Miles is the mileage program of Cathay Pacific airline within the Oneworld Alliance. While they don’t offer traditional around-the-world tickets, you can create an extraordinary global journey using their Oneworld Multi-Carrier Award chart. The flexibility of this program allows you to backtrack and end your trip at a different point, unlike typical around-the-world tickets.
Award pricing depends on the class of service and distance traveled. It’s important to note that flying at least one leg on Cathay Pacific is required to exceed the limitation of two airlines. Premium economy awards are not available, and the journey must be within 50,000 points.
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Travelers with a substantial balance of Qantas frequent flyer points can utilize them to book a Classic Flight Reward itinerary, covering up to 35,000 miles by combining two or more Oneworld partners. For this itinerary, you’ll need to redeem 132,400 points for economy class or 318,000 points for business class, in addition to taxes and fees.
Availability can be checked and the ticket can be purchased through the multi-city search tool on the Qantas website. In case of any issues with online issuance, contacting Qantas at 800-227-4220 is advised for ticket issuance.
Star Alliance, as the largest global airline alliance, is an exceptional choice for travelers seeking around-the-world flight tickets. The alliance comprises 26 member airlines, connecting an impressive 1,300 destinations across 190 countries.
Similar to the Oneworld Alliance, Star Alliance offers round-the-world flight tickets that allow for up to 16 flights, including:
Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, ANA, Asiana Airlines, Austrian, Avianca, Brussels Airlines, Copa Airlines, Croatia Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, EVA AIR, EGYPTAIR, LOT Polish Airlines, Lufthansa, Scandinavian Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, South African Airways, SWISS, TAP Air Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines and United, within a span of one year from the departure date. Generally, these tickets require travelers to follow a specific travel direction.
In addition to the round-the-world tickets, Star Alliance also offers the option to book a Circle Pacific ticket, which covers a significant part of the globe without completing a full around-the-world itinerary.
Here are the requirements for passengers of Star Alliance’s round-the-world flight ticket:
- up to 16 flights are allowed
- the starting departure city must be the same as the last arrival city
- passengers can travel for up to a year
- the itinerary must include crossing both the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean once
- the itinerary must have a minimum of 2 stops and a maximum of 15 stops in total
Given below are some of the loyalty programmes offered by Star Alliance for their round the world flight tickets.
ANA Mileage Club
The ANA (All Nippon Airways) offers highly regarded mileage tickets for around-the-world travel. These tickets allow travelers to book up to 12 flights and make up to 8 stopovers from the starting point to the final destination. The cost of the ticket depends on the distance traveled and the chosen class of service, which includes Economy, Business, or First class.
To provide an idea of fare pricing, an itinerary covering 0 to 1,000 miles would cost around 30,000 miles in Economy class, 55,000 miles in Business class, and 70,000 miles in First class. However, there are certain restrictions to keep in mind when using the ANA Mileage Club program:
- a limit of one crossing of the Atlantic Ocean and one crossing of the Pacific Ocean
- backtracking is not permitted
- the full journey must span at least 10 days
- travelers must return to the same country they departed from.
For more information about the ANA Mileage Club program, please visit the ANA website.
Singapore KrisFlyer Miles
Many travelers choose to use Singapore KrisFlyer miles for booking around-the-world tickets. This option is highly popular and allows you to fly with Star Alliance partner airlines, visiting 7 cities served by these airlines.
The mileage requirements for the round-the-world ticket are as follows: 200,000 miles for economy class, 280,000 miles for business class, and 405,000 miles for first class. To book a Round-the-World ticket, you will need to contact Singapore Airlines at 833-727-0118 or complete a form. However, please be aware that there is now a reservation fee of USD 250 associated with booking the round-the-world ticket.
For more information about Singapore KrisFlyer miles, please visit the Singapore Airlines website.
Around the world flight ticket costs
The pricing of an around-the-world flight ticket varies depending on the selected flight class and the total distance covered in a single-ticket booking. Here are a few examples to give you an estimate.
*All prices are for flights departing June 2023; they are accurate at the time of writing.
Athens – Cairo – Hong Kong – Seoul – Mexico City – Athens: USD 3,107.53
Berlin – Dubai – Singapore – Seoul – Mexico City – Amsterdam – Berlin: USD 4,248.22
Athens – Cairo – Hong Kong – Chicago – Brasilia – Athens: USD 2,762.54
Berlin – Istanbul – Singapore – Seoul – New York – Berlin: USD 3,222.79
Tips while booking around the world flight tickets
Here are some tips for booking around-the-world flight tickets to help you minimize costs and enhance your purchasing experience:
- plan your travel schedule in advance, including specific dates and destinations
- try to avoid making frequent changes to your trip dates to maintain consistency
- focus on major cities for your round-the-world ticket and use cash or miles for short-haul flights as needed
- consider alternative modes of transportation between cities to maximize your experience and reduce expenses
- explore far-flung destinations and include long-haul flights to make the most of your journey
- consider starting your trip from a different city that offers more affordable flight fares
- keep your destinations and travel dates flexible to take advantage of potential cost savings
- use frequent flyer miles to redeem award tickets and enhance your overall itinerary
- opt for a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees to avoid unnecessary charges when making international purchases
- try to make use of AI-powered tools provided by the around-the-world ticket provider, such as Oneworld Alliances’ booking tool
By following these tips, you can make the most of your around-the-world flight ticket booking while keeping costs under control and maximizing your travel experience.