How we're getting to Boracay, Philippines


  • JFK—Houston—Taipei—Kalibo—Manila—Seoul—JFK
  • $439 JetBlue positioning flight from New York JFK to Houston
  • 80,000 United miles from Houston to Taipei on the EVA Air Hello Kitty plane in Business Class.
  • $498 from Taipei to Kalibo on China Airlines in Business Class
  • $115 from MPH to Manila
  • 75,000 Korean miles (Korean Air credit card bonus topped off with Chase points) plus $45 for Manila – Seoul – JFK in Business Class
  • TOTAL: 155,000 miles + $1042 . CPM low: 2.2¢, high: ∞ (Hello Kitty plane has been on the bucket list for a while now!) but seriously, somewhere in the 3.5¢ range, HOU-TPE r/t is $4800.
  • all numbers are per person
As I mentioned before, we've had long-term plans to attend a wedding in the Philippines. There were a bunch of good options, but in the end we decided to take a slightly more expensive and circuitous route in order to ride on Eva Air's Hello Kitty jet. I went to the Hello Kitty exhibit in Los Angeles a couple years ago and they had a bunch of the plane's memorabilia on display and that made me want to fly it even more. Can't wait to check it out myself! I was hoping to fly it from NYC or the west coast, but if it's gotta be Houston, then so be it. Rumor has it even the foie gras in Business Class has her face emblazoned across it :)

On our way back, we're flying on the Korean Air 747-8 upstairs – not quite a "bucket list" item, but definitely a big plane geek win for both of us. We love the upstairs on a 747, but we've never been on one of the very-rare 747-8's, which Boeing sold very few of. Sadly none of the buyers ever opted for the SkyLounge or SkySuites options. If you look at the pictures you can see Boeing proposed taking the back half of the plane – which isn't fully double-decker – and turning it a loft of sleeping compartments. Economy passengers could pay an extra fee to have a sleeping bunk in addition to their bed upstairs. I'd vastly prefer that to most of the Premium Economy options for long-haul flights! More info about the 747-8 here.

A few things I learned:
  • Flying Korean from New York to Seoul is about the same price (in dollars) as Los Angeles to Seoul
  • There were still lots of award seats on Korean Air in late August for most November dates
  • Korean JFK or LAX to Manila: 75k each way in Business, 95k in First
  • Korean JFK or LAX to Seoul: 62.5k each way in Business, 80k in First
  • United/Asiana JFK to Manila: 80k each way in Bus, 130k each way in First
  • Very surprised by the number of award seats we found on Asiana through United's website. We found several dates with 3 available seats with only two months notice.
  • We'd flown Korean in First before and it's not really worth the extra miles versus Business Class (plus it lacks the fun clubhouse feeling of the 747's upstairs Business Class mini cabin)


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