How travel blogger Sam Huang got a $60,000 first-class trip around the world on Emirates for $300

If you're looking to fly in style, it doesn't get much better than a first class suite aboard the iconic Emirates Airlines.

Travel blogger Sam Huang recently cashed in his Alaska Airlines frequent-flyer miles for a $US60,000 (AU$84,500) trip around the world, documenting what it was like.

"Unlimited Don Perignon, wild caviar, and a shower spa while flying 40,000 feet in the air - it's no wonder the Emirates First Class Suite is consistently named one of the best airline seats in the world," Huang writes over at his travel blog, TopMiles.

His trip spanned 11 cities, 7 countries, and 5 continents, and Huang managed to pay only $US300 ($A420) for the journey - in addition to cashing in his frequent-flyer miles - by taking advantage of a clever loophole when booking the trip.Business Insider even confirmed with the airline that the booking was legitimate.

From getting to skip the boarding line and enter the plane through a private entrance, to fancy suites featuring automatic doors, shower access, and a seemingly endless supply of food and drinks, this is what it's like (in Huang's own words) to take a trip of a lifetime.

'My heart was pounding but I tried to keep a straight face. The check-in agent typed something into his computer and picked up the phone. In my head I kept on thinking, 'This is it. I'm not going to pull this off.' All of a sudden he put the phone down and smiled. A few seconds later, my ticket to Melbourne was issued and handed to me. I finally got my golden ticket, and was about to begin the greatest flying experience of my life."

Huang then documented his arrival in Qantas' First Class lounge.

"I sat down on one of the dining tables with a view of the runway. A server wearing a suit and tie came up to me, handed me a menu, and asked if I would like a glass of champagne. Knowing that I would soon be having a feast in my upcoming flight, I opted to order simple muesli. It was by far the best muesli I've ever had."

But before you try and scope out the loophole that allowed Huang to fly in the lap of luxury for a paupers price, it actually took the blogger around an year to figure the whole thing out.


"I'm the infrequent loyal flier," Huang told Mashable. "I don't fly much at all on any paid flights."

"Basically what I do is frequent flier bonuses."

In truth, Huang spent a few months signing up for credit cards from Bank of America, which has an agreement with Alaska Airlines - a Mileage Plan partner with Emirates.

"There's some other tricks to earn miles," he told Mashable, "but nothing as big as credit card bonuses."

"I met somebody while I was abroad and he told me how he was travelling for free using miles, and I was skeptical," he said. "I went back home and I researched a bit, and I started getting into it."

But, he warns, "If you can't pay off your bills fully every month, please don't do this game." 

Once Huang had gained 100,000 miles - thanks to his 15 credit cards - there was one last hurdle.

"So most airlines, when you book a trip, they have a thing called routing rules to stop you from doing a crazy round the world," he told Mashable.

"Basically Alaska's computers until recently didn't have routing rules. If you wanted you could nest a layover."

Nesting a layover means adding a stop in a city along the way, which is possible, as long as the stop is no more than 24 hours.

"So I just started typing different city combinations. I nested a lot of 24-hour layovers - but [in the computer] it looks like Singapore to New York."

And even though Huang managed to take a trip that most people could only ever dream of, he insists it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

"I'm very cheap actually when it comes to revenue tickets - if I have to pay out of my own pocket I'll go right back to economy."

See also: Why you should upgrade to business class

See also: The 16 best places to travel to in 2016