It’s easy to imagine that travelling around the world in luxury will cost you a small fortune. And normally, it does.
But one savvy traveller has managed to cut the cost of his trip, which featured stops in Tokyo, Singapore and Dubai, from over $52,000 (£41,913) to just $408 (£329), paying the equivalent of less than one per cent of the total.
And it was a journey that most people could only dream of as travel hacker Daniel Gillaspia sipped on free-flowing champagne in first class suites and bedded down at luxurious hotels in some of the most expensive cities in the world.
Daniel Gillaspia travelled around the world with his partner and paid just a fraction of what the trip would have cost him. Above, he is pictured in the Etihad Airways Apartment
Gillaspia sampled some of the world’s most expensive experiences including flying from Tokyo to Singapore on Singapore Airlines’s first class suite, where the seats fold out into double beds
The savvy traveller stopped in Tokyo, Singapore, Cape Town (pictured) and Dubai and paid just $408 for hotels and flights
Gillaspia blogged about the trip of a lifetime on his website, Upon Arriving, where he writes about different ways to accrue points with credit cards, hotels and airlines.
He said he was inspired by other travel hackers and decided to put his own theories into practice.
The US-based blogger, who works as a lawyer by day, had been busy accruing points and rewards on the couple’s 45 credit cards before setting out, according to Business Insider.
To keep a track of all of them, he uses an intricate spreadsheet.
The first leg of the journey was from Los Angeles to Tokyo, where the couple flew with Singapore Airlines business class
The Singapore Airlines business class featured spacious seats that folded down into full-sized beds (pictured)
In Tokyo, Gillaspia paid for two nights at the InterContinental Tokyo Bay using 100,000 IHG Points, saving them the equivalent of $1,000
Instead of spending a fortune on hotels and flights, the couple used their hard-earned cash to pay for experiences like a traditional tea ceremony in Japan
And by taking advantage of sign-up bonuses and points boosts, the couple have been steadily accruing rewards.
It’s taken around two years but the pair were finally able to set off for their dream trip in September this year.
The first leg of their journey was from Los Angeles to Tokyo, which they reached via Singapore Airlines Business class.
Tickets for Gillaspia and his partner would have cost $4,444 (£3,582) but the couple paid just $68 (£55) plus 131,750 KrisFlyer Miles.
While on board, they were treated to fully-plated dishes and spacious seats that fully reclined into a bed.
In Tokyo, Gillaspia paid for two nights at the InterContinental Tokyo Bay using 100,000 IHG Points, saving them the equivalent of $1,000.
The next stop on their trip was Singapore and this time, the pair splashed out with the Singapore Airlines First Class Suite. Above, the two suites converted into one
Gillaspia described the suites (above), envisioned by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, as being like ‘a cosy train cabin’
Two adjoining first class suites on the Singapore Airlines flight can be interlinked to create one huge suite or divided to give more privacy
On board the flight, there was free-flowing champagne with choices from Krug and a 2006 vintage Dom Perignon
They were also upgraded during their stay, which meant that, having paid absolutely nothing, they still enjoyed a fantastic view of the city from their deluxe corner room.
Instead, the couple spent their hard-earned cash on experiences such as sushi-making master classes and traditional tea ceremonies.
The next stop on their trip was Singapore and this time, the pair splashed out with the Singapore Airlines First Class Suite.
For two people, the suites would have cost $11,660 (£9,398) from Tokyo to Singapore but Gillaspia paid just $108 (£87) plus 102,000 KrisFlyer Miles.
Gillaspia described the suites, envisioned by French luxury yacht designer Jean-Jacques Coste, as being like ‘a cosy train cabin’.
Each suite, featuring doors and windows, offers complete privacy to well-heeled travellers.
In Singapore, the couple stayed for just one night at Marina Bay Sands Hotel and paid nothing thanks to their Capital One Venture credit – saving them $450 (£363)
Marina Bay Sands Hotel has an famous infinity pool that offered spectacular views of the Singapore skyline (above)
There is free-flowing champagne from Krug and Dom Perignon and amenities kit from Salvatore Ferragamo.
The incredible dining menu featured Michelin-quality dishes using ingredients such as caviar.
But perhaps the best part of the trip was nighttime, when the couple’s adjoining suite was transformed into a private room featuring a double bed – just like a hotel room.
And they were even provided with pajamas from Givenchy and cuddly toys to help them feel at home.
In Singapore, the couple stayed for just one night at Marina Bay Sands Hotel and paid nothing thanks to their Capital One Venture credit – saving them $450 (£363).
Gillaspia took full advantage of the stay by luxuriating in the hotel’s infinity pool, which offers astounding views of the Singapore skyline.
After Singapore, it was onto Johannesburg in Singapore Airlines business class.
This time, the couple saved the full fare of $7,676 (£6,187) by paying with 38,250 KrisFlyer Miles and used their travel credits against the fees and fuel surcharges that they would normally have to pay cash for.
After Singapore, the couple headed to Cape Town via Johannesburg. Their hotel, The Westin Cape Town, offered views of Table Mountain
To get a closer view of Table Mountain, the pair took a sunset ride on the cable car and captured this spectacular image
Gillaspia admitted that for a connecting flight to Cape Town, the couple had to travel in economy but the journey was also completely free.
The couple spent four nights at The Westin Cape Town, paying in 40,000 Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points instead of the full price of $1,160 (£935).
Their room offered spectacular views of Table Mountain and had club room access where they could indulge in the free champagne and snacks.
After a few days diving with sharks and visiting the penguins on Boulders Beach, the duo headed to the United Arab Emirates on Etihad Airways business class.
They flew from Johannesburg to Abu Dhabi for $104 (£84) plus 110,000 AA miles instead of paying the $4,040 (£3,256) it would have cost.
According to Gillaspia, the seats weren’t as comfortable or spacious compared to Singapore Airlines but they did have the benefit of built-in massage devices.
From South Africa, the couple headed for the Emirates, this time travelling on Etihad business class, which featured seats with built-in massage devices (pictured)
In the Emirates, Gillaspia stayed for two nights at the W Hotel in Dubai, using 40,000 SPG points to pay for their $534 (£430) room (pictured)
Their short stay gave them just enough time to see the Burj Khalifa and to enjoy the sunset in the Arabian desert (above)
The couple flew back to the US in first class with Etihad, which meant that they had a chauffeur service (left) and used a dedicated first class entrance (right)
For their homeward bound journey, the couple splashed out again – this time travelling in the Etihad Apartment from Dubai to New York. Pictured is their ‘apartments’ transformed for bedtime
The Etihad Apartments (pictured) featured a huge ‘throne’, a spacious seating area, a vanity area plus its own mini bar
One of the best things about flying on Etihad Apartments was the bathroom, which featured a fully-functional shower (right)
And because they flew business class, Etihad Airways also offered them free transfers to their hotel.
In the Emirates, Gillaspia stayed for two nights at the W hotel in Dubai, using 40,000 SPG points to pay for their $534 (£430) room.
Their short stay gave them just enough time to see the Burj Khalifa and enjoy the sunset in the Arabian desert.
For their homeward bound journey, the couple splashed out again – this time travelling in the Etihad Apartment from Dubai to New York.
The $18,000 (£14,509) fare cost the couple just $104 (£84) plus 180,000 AA miles.
As part of one of the most expensive aviation experiences in the world, the couple were chauffeured from their hotel to a dedicated first class entrance at Abu Dhabi Airport.
From there, the private entrance led to the first class lounge where the couple could relax before boarding their flight.
The Etihad Apartments featured a huge ‘throne’, a spacious seating area, a vanity area plus its own mini bar.
In New York, the duo stayed for a night at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park, paying with free night certificates instead of the $1900 (£1,531) that the experience would have cost
Like the Singapore Airlines suites, the seats in the Etihad Apartment folded down into full beds but they were partially divided by privacy screens.
WHERE THE PAIR VISITED ON THEIR TRIP
Johannesburg Cape Town
Abu Dhabi Dubai
New York Houston
But the bathroom really trumped the rest of the offering – it had a fully functional shower for guests to freshen up at 37,000ft before reaching their destination.
In New York, the couple stayed for a night at the Ritz Carlton Battery Park, paying with free night certificates instead of the $1900 (£1,531) that the experience would have cost.
They also got upgraded so their room offered a view of the Statue of Liberty.
The couple made two final connecting flights before finishing their journey in Houston.
The entire trip would have cost Gillaspia and his partner a staggering $52,294 (£42,150) but according to the blogger, thanks to their savvy travel hacks, they paid only $408 (£329)
Gillaspia admits saving for the trip has taken ‘a fair amount of work’ but said that the return in value was ‘astronomical’.