Round the World Tickets
with Airline Alliances

The most common types of round the world tickets are probably the ones that are offered by groups of airlines or airline alliances such as Oneworld and SkyTeam.

These types of tickets are priced based on the stops you make and route you take (route-based tickets) or on the total number of miles you travel (mileage-based tickets).

But sometimes they're a bit of a confusing mish-mash of both. So here's the basic lowdown.

Biggest Pluses


    Most of these round the world tickets are valid for one year from the date of your first departure.


    They usually don't have to start in the country where you buy them.


    You can change flight dates as you travel (a lot of the time for free!).


    You can usually change destinations along the way — but there's almost always a fee. Plus, (and this is actually a minus) the routes you're allowed to take from any one place are often limited.


    Some tickets offer reasonably-priced mileage and sector upgrades if you want extra stopovers or need additional miles.


    You often have a longer time to come up with the payment for a RTW ticket than you would for any other cheap plane ticket.


    If you end up not using the ticket you can get a refundbut it'll probably cost you in cancellation penalties.


    It's easy to rack up loads of frequent flyer miles!

Biggest Minuses


    You can only travel on specific airlines.


    Routing rules are quite strict. For example, you might only be allowed a certain number of stops in specific countries or regions.


    There's a limited range of routes available with any one airline alliance. If you have big plans, this could mean lots of long and expensive side trips from each stopover.


    There's almost always a maximum number of stops you can make (count on anything up to about 16 or so) and miles you can travel (usually 39,000). Yes, even if you upgrade.


    You can't backtrack much along the route. If at all.


    On most tickets you have to return to your starting pointbut that doesn't always mean the same city. Sometimes you just have to finish in the same country or geographic area.


    Your first departure date might not be changeable. At least not without handing over a sizeable wad of cash!


    Your chances of getting a partial refund on a partly-used ticket are slim to none.

round the world tickets money plane

What's the Best RTW Deal?

That depends on what you're looking for, really.

Route-based round the world tickets are generally cheaper than mileage-based tickets but they're more restrictive.

They usually don't let you backtrack along the way or fly through the same airport twice. A real problem if you plan to do side trips by air from a hub.

With route-based tickets you also can't have any open jaws — where you fly into one airport but out of another. So you wouldn't want to have your heart set on the Trans-Siberian!

Mileage-based round the world tickets are generally more flexible but also more expensive.

They usually let you backtrack a bit and transit through (stop for up to 24 hours) the same airport more than once. Oddly enough, they also tend to have more route options than route-based tickets!

They give you a decent mileage limit of anywhere from 26,000 to 39,000 miles (about 41,800 to 63,700 km), but of course the more miles you use the more you pay.

Mileage-based tickets do allow open jaw flights. But don't get caught out! Even those surface miles count towards your total mileage flown.

Go figure!

Unrestricted Round the World Tickets

Airline alliances not looking like they're going to cut it? Can't see yourself getting your round the world tickets with just single or partner airlines either?

Not a problem. There's another option.

Actually, it could turn out to be even cheaper and it's definitely a lot more customisable than any of the RTW tickets you'd get with a group of airlines.

Read all about it here:

orange arrow light yellowFully Flexible Round the World Flights

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Any thoughts? Leave a comment!