Middle East on a Cheap Whim

i was looking around for cheap mileage runs again tonight (semi-obsessed with them now as a way to see the world without breaking the bank) and saw that American had a cheap fare to Doha. kayak showed that United (my airline/alliance) had a similar fare ($100 more), and long story short, thanks to the help of an agent who helped me move a flight around (the middle flight to Dubai), i now have a cheap way to see some of the (fancy part of the) Middle East.

Maps generated by the Great Circle Mapper – copyright © Karl L. Swartz.


$1116.46 for SFO-LAX-IAD[-DXB-]DOH (SF to Doha via LAX [for the miles] and Dulles, with a stop in Dubai), Doha for 4 full days, then a night flight to Dubai, stay a couple days, then DXB-IAD-IAH-SFO (again, stop in Houston for the miles). btw, that comes out to 5.555 cents per mile (EQM) with the 500-mile elite minimum, without any bonuses. there’s a Mileage Plus promo that offers 50% extra redeemable miles on cheap economy tickets from IAD-DXB, but i don’t know if it applies in this case since it’s not a round trip to Dubai. eh, we’ll see.

the flight between Doha and Dulles stops in Dubai, and i tried to finagle it myself so i could have a stopover on the way home, but it came out to several thousand more online, so i booked it without the stopover for $1080 and called the premier line to see if she could move the flight around for me. she did, and i managed to get Dubai in for just $30ish more!


$35/night airbnb at the Zig Zag Towers in Doha and a free suite upgrade (thanks to Hyatt and the Star MegaDO for the trial Diamond status) at the Hyatt Regency Dubai (=suite for 36% of the price).

so, my kind of trip! thanks to the time difference, i can sightsee during the day and work at night, and it’s definitely on the affordable end of things!

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