Hotels Reviews Trips

Check out my Mom’s $125k Surprise 75th Birthday Trip Around the World Video.

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My YouTube Channel is forging ahead!

If you missed it, earlier this year my family went on an EPIC!!!!!!! trip to celebrate my Mom’s Birthday. It wasn’t just any birthday, it was her 75th, and that meant we couldn’t just take any old trip. My dad and I schemed around and decided we would take her a crazy trip around the world hitting up the places she’s always wanted to go. Check out the video highlights, and below for the collection of reviews I published earlier in the year. IT WAS AMAZING!!!




Afternoon Tea


Total value:  $125-130k+                  Paid:  $4500-$5000 +/-

Total value of Flights =  Roughly $110-115k

  • Mom and Dad
    • $42,500k each
    • Paid $1000 +/-
  • Zach + Miles
    • $27-30k
    • $1000

Total value of hotels: Roughly  $13-14k

  • Paid – roughly $2700

Points used ( for everyone):

In total:

  • IHG = 670K
  • Marriott Rewards: 310K
  • Alaska = 190k
  • Singapore Air = 278k
  • Hilton = 60k
  • AA = 160k

The Flights:

  • Cathay Pacific First Class from Boston to Hong Kong and on to Beijing
    • 70k Alaska + $50
  • Cathay Pacific Business Class from Boston to Hong Kong and on to Beijing
    • 50k Alaska Mileage Plan +$50
  • Singapore Suites from Beijing to Singapore + Singapore First Class from Singapore to Dubai
    • 97,500 + $19 ( My mom’s was 15% off the points as it was booked pre-deval)
    • $100 stopover fee in Singapore
  • KLM Businesss Class from Singapore to Bali roundtrip
    • $400
  • Abu Dhabi To London in Etihad First Class Apartments + BA Club world from London to Nice, France
    • 62,000 American Airlines + $93
  • Abu Dhabi to London in Etihad Business Studio + BA Club World from London to Nice
    • 40k AA + $93
  • Lufthansa First Class from Frankfurt to Dallas + Nice to Frankfurt in Business
    • 80k Singapore + $300

The Hotels

We were gone a total of 24 days and stayed in luxury hotels all the way through. We flew the best the world has to offer, and all it took was planning and understanding exactly how to utilize points to their potential.

Bonus Reviews:

Did you know that there was a lounge inside a lounge inside a lounge reserved exclusively for First Class passengers departing Singapore called THE PRIVATE ROOM? It was a great surprise for both of my parents that I wanted to make sure we visited. It features a la carte dining options like lobster and champagne and has a fine dining feel to it. Yes, this is in an airport. This is one of the amazing BONUS treats you get when you max your points out. MORE LUX, LESS BUCKS. Take look at all of the luxurious lounges we were able to visit because we were flying in such great cabins.


We have been so blessed to be able to experience something like this and create these memories of a lifetime. I’m excited to share with all of you, and teach you how to do it too!

 Affiliate link via Card Ratings

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card


The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great starter card that earns Premium Ultimate Rewards that can be transferred into over a dozen partners many of which are US based. 

Welcome Offer

60k Points after $4k spend in 3 months

Annual Fee


Points Earned

Transferrable Chase Ultimate Rewards

If you carry this card alongside Chase’s cashback cards like the Chase Freedom Flex℠and Chase Freedom Unlimited® or the business versions: Ink Business Cash , Ink Business Unlimited you can combine the points into Preferred account and transfer into hotel and airline partners

Annual fee is quite low at $95 a year + you get a 10% anniversary bonus on points + $50 hotel credit in Chase travel.

  • 3x on dining
    •  including eligible delivery services for takeout
  • 3x on select streaming services
  • 3x on online grocery purchases
    • (excluding Target, Walmart and wholesale clubs)
  • 5x on all travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards – Chase Travel Portal
  • $50 Annual Credit on hotel stays purchased via Ultimate Rewards/Chase Travel
    • The begins immediately for new cardmembers and after your account anniversary for existing cardmembers
  • 10% Anniversary Bonus
    • Every year you keep the card, your total spend will yield a 10% points bonus. If you spend $10k in a year, you’ll get 1k bonus points
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® continues to redeem at 1.25c in the Chase Travel Portal and the slew of other benefits remain in tact including primary rental car insurance, purchase protections, etc.
  • Points are transferrable to 13 Ultimate Rewards partners
  • Redeem in the Chase Travel center for 1.25 cents per point
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Suite of Travel and Purchase Coverage
    • Primary rental car coverage is my favorite

We keep an up to date spreadsheet that lists the best ever offers: You can find that spreadsheet here.

Historically 80k is a very, very good offer and hit in both 2022 and 2023. In 2021, we saw the offer hit an all time high of 100k. Who knows if that will ever come back.

Main Cast: 

Cards that earn flexible points and should be used on the bulk of your purchases.

Supporting Cast:

Cards that earn fixed points in the currency of the airline/hotel and can not be transferred at attractive rates. These cards yield benefits that make it worth keeping, but not necessarily worth putting a lot of your everyday spend on. 


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  • […] mega trip for my family next year and was thinking about some cool flights to take with my folks. Last year we went around the world in First class for my mom’s bday. Both my parents LOVED Cathay First, Singapore Suites, Singapore in general, and the spiritual […]

  • […] reviewed both Cathay Pacific The Pier, and Cathay Pacific The Wing last summer on my mom’s trip around the world, but needless to say…the are incredible. The Wing, in particular, features cabanas which are […]

  • […] fantastic. Earlier in the year I had visited the hotel for Afternoon Tea with my parents on my Mom’s Surprise Trip Around the World and was impressed with what I […]

  • […] was able to take my mother and father on an incredible $125k around the world surprise 75th birthday trip, surprise my girlfriend with a birthday trip to Tokyo, hit up Vietnam, Cambodia, Shanghai, and Hong […]

  • Rob November 2, 2017

    Nice video! One correction I noticed at 0:59 that is Singapore, not Atlantis Dubai.

    • Miles November 2, 2017

      Rob – Thanks man! Yeah…there is another error where it’s labeled Burj Khalifa First Class lounge, but it was for an afternoon tea. I worked with an editor and couple of labels just got slightly eschewed.

  • Carolyn November 1, 2017

    I don’t believe I’ve ever made a comment on your blog before but this is an outrageously fun post /video – what an awesome son you are! I’m taking my mom to Rome next year (she’ll be 66) but no where near this level. 🙂

    • Miles November 1, 2017

      Carolyn – Thanks so much! It was a truly special trip to take with my folks, and one that was SOOOOO fun =) You’ll have a blast with your mom in Rome too. DO you know where you’re going to stay yet? We loved the Boscolo Roma

      • Carolyn November 3, 2017

        This will be my 7th trip to Rome so for the last four trips I’ve generally stayed in the Centro for proximity to certain friends and favorite spots (plus it’s just so easy to go in any direction from the Pantheon and arrive in 10-20 minutes).

        I have stayed in 2 hostels, a hotel south of St. Peter’s, an apartment in S. Maria Maggiore (for FREE. For two weeks :D), and three different apartments. Overall I love staying in an apartment because of the value compared to the cost of a hotel in that area. It’s nice to be able to have friends over (who live in Rome) and you just can’t get the same feeling in a hotel. Unless one is staying in a massive suite…which I am not 😉

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