The Premium Experience: Planning

I already knew that I wanted to visit South Korea when I was still on my Hong Kong/ Taiwan Trip back in 2012. Any K-Pop or K-Drama fan would tell that they want to visit South Korea and I was no exception. I added Japan later on when my friend mentioned that she wanted to visit. But for this trip, I really wanted to travel in the “premium cabins”.

I had the following points and miles:

130,000 United miles
12,000 Korean Air miles
12,000 SPG points

I also have 2 free Hyatt nights from the CHASE Hyatt Credit Card.

I booked my itinerary back in June 2013, long before the United devaluation. I used 127,500 United miles for the following itinerary:

LAX-ICN-NRT, KIX-ICN-LAX

I booked:

LAX- ICN in OZ (Asiana) 203 Business Smartium Class
ICN- NRT in OZ (Asiana) 102 Business Class
KIX- ICN in OZ (Asiana) 115 Business Class
ICN- LAX in OZ (Asiana) 202 First Class

I also used 12,000 Korean Air miles to book a round trip in Prestige Class from GMP (Seoul)-CJU (Jeju)-GMP (Seoul).

So my final itinerary looked like this:

LAX-ICN-NRT, KIX-ICN, GMP-CJU-GMP, ICN-LAX

The final cost of this itinerary cost:

127,500 United miles + $150
12,000 Korean Air miles + $29

I used my 2 free Hyatt nights for 2 nights at The Park Hyatt Seoul. I also used 12,000 SPG points to book a night at The Westin Chosun, Seoul. The whole trip was 13 days so the rest of the nights, we were going to stay in hostels. Hostels in Japan and South Korea are quite cheap and most private rooms in the hostels are not much more expensive than dormitory beds. Our 13 night lodging only set me back $300!

The budget for this 2 week trip was $3000USD.

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