A variation of the simple and Alliance-based RTW tickets are award travel tickets. The most relevant example is the Qantas Oneworld Classic Flight Awards. While not promoted on the Qantas website, they allow you to book a RTW flight for 140,000 Qantas Points + $1000 in taxes. Not all Oneworld flights are on the Qantas website such as Malaysian Airlines. The Qantas booking engine also shows non-Oneworld flights such as Jetstar and Emirates. But if you book a flight with five stopovers on three Oneworld airlines, then you’re OK.
Award travel flexibility
There is a lot less flexibility in award flights. Seat availability depends on the number of award seats available on each flight. Because some flights are busier than others, you may need to book flights to destinations out-of-the-way. A good example is an upcoming flight where I wanted to go from the Maldives to Tenerife. There were no flights available in the booking engine between those two destinations. So instead, I booked flights from the Maldives to Vienna. Then I booked flights from Vienna to Tenerife. All the destinations on that trip are going to be tropical and sunny. Except Vienna which will be in the middle of winter.
So why book award travel? Value. The worst value you can get for you frequent flyer miles is spending on Gift Cards. The exchange rate is pretty poor. Same for redeeming for hotels. Flights are the best way to redeem frequent flyer miles, as is flight upgrades. The problem with flight upgrades is you’re not certain you’ve been awarded them until pretty much the flight itself. So what better way to spend them than on round the world travel. You get the best bang for buck, can still travel to exotic destinations like Korea, and at far lower costs than paying for the tickets. Better than buying another toaster with Airpoints!