This guy used a clever frequent-flyer strategy to take $30,000 worth of flights around the world - here's what it was like

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tokyo woman David F.

David Friedeberg is an entrepreneur who figured out how to use the rewards miles he accumulated through traveling and credit card purchases to book an incredible trip - one that took him almost an entire year to complete.

Friedeberg traveled first class on airlines like Qatar Air, Cathay Pacific, and Qantas, filling in some route with business class offerings from Lufthansa, Lan, and others. His trip took him around the world: from Bangkok to Tokyo to Sydney to Cape Town to Dubai to Budapest to Paris to - well, you get the idea.

How did he do it?

On the booking side, Friedeberg took advantage of a "round the world" ticket through British Airways (which calls it a "multi-carrier award"). This allowed him to fly up to 50,000 miles in 16 segments, which he used for his long-haul flights. He filled in the shorter legs with individual flights.

Though recreating exactly what it would have cost him is difficult, Friedeberg estimates he would have had to shell out almost $30,000 for the whole trip - if he were paying cash.

Here are some anecdotes and photos from Friedeberg's year-long odyssey of monasteries, animals, cars, food, and beautiful beaches.

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After heading to Europe, Friedeberg flew first class on Thai Airways to Bangkok, Thailand, where he played with baby tigers...

After heading to Europe, Friedeberg flew first class on Thai Airways to Bangkok, Thailand, where he played with baby tigers...

...and big ones too.

...and big ones too.

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, he was able to bribe security guards to let him up to the top of Angkor Wat. He saw the sunrise by himself and then got lost in the Ta Prohm temple, where "Tomb Raider" was filmed.

In Siem Reap, Cambodia, he was able to bribe security guards to let him up to the top of Angkor Wat. He saw the sunrise by himself and then got lost in the Ta Prohm temple, where "Tomb Raider" was filmed.

In Saigon, Friedeberg made a friend who lent him a motorcycle so he could experience the thrill of riding in a sea of other riders. And he sampled the local nightlife.

In Saigon, Friedeberg made a friend who lent him a motorcycle so he could experience the thrill of riding in a sea of other riders. And he sampled the local nightlife.

But it was time to head to Hong Kong.

But it was time to head to Hong Kong.

There he met a stranger at the top of the tallest hotel in the world, Ritz Hong Kong, and snuck through the stairs to go swimming in their pool on the 118th floor.

There he met a stranger at the top of the tallest hotel in the world, Ritz Hong Kong, and snuck through the stairs to go swimming in their pool on the 118th floor.

In Macau, he dined in both of the Michelin three-star restaurants.

In Macau, he dined in both of the Michelin three-star restaurants.

Here's the desert cart at "Robuchon au Dome."

Here's the desert cart at "Robuchon au Dome."

And the grand piano.

And the grand piano.

He also took in the craziness of the casino scene.

He also took in the craziness of the casino scene.

In Shanghai, Friedeberg had the pleasure of relaxing and swimming in a pool on the 93rd floor for a few days.

In Shanghai, Friedeberg had the pleasure of relaxing and swimming in a pool on the 93rd floor for a few days.

In Yangon, Myanmar, he went gambling and lost all of the money he had, so they gave it back to him.

In Yangon, Myanmar, he went gambling and lost all of the money he had, so they gave it back to him.

Here's the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar.

Here's the Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar.

A closer look inside.

A closer look inside.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he attended the great symphony at the Petronas Towers.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he attended the great symphony at the Petronas Towers.

In Phuket, Thailand, he relaxed and then literally ran from a monsoon when he noticed it approaching in the ocean.

In Phuket, Thailand, he relaxed and then literally ran from a monsoon when he noticed it approaching in the ocean.

In Penang, Malaysia, he went around the city finding the greatest three dimensional graffiti.

In Penang, Malaysia, he went around the city finding the greatest three dimensional graffiti.

Here's another shot.

Here's another shot.

In Singapore, he swam on the 57th floor infinity pool on the top of the Marina Bay Sands.

In Singapore, he swam on the 57th floor infinity pool on the top of the Marina Bay Sands.

It was Formula 1 weekend, so there were lots of cars. This is a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

It was Formula 1 weekend, so there were lots of cars. This is a Lamborghini Sesto Elemento.

Other cars were harder to get pictures of as they sped by.

Other cars were harder to get pictures of as they sped by.

The crowd there ended up getting drenched.

The crowd there ended up getting drenched.

In Bali, Friedeberg could see the Milky Way when traveling around the Indonesian island.

In Bali, Friedeberg could see the Milky Way when traveling around the Indonesian island.

But the beach view was also nice.

But the beach view was also nice.

And there were plenty of monkeys.

And there were plenty of monkeys.

Time to go to Tokyo, Japan — flying first class from Jakarta.

Time to go to Tokyo, Japan — flying first class from Jakarta.

Here was the breakfast.

Here was the breakfast.

In Tokyo, he went to the Tsukiji fish market, one of the largest fish markets in the world.

In Tokyo, he went to the Tsukiji fish market, one of the largest fish markets in the world.

Here are the tools of the trade.

Here are the tools of the trade.

He went to a cat cafe, ordered Ramen from vending machines, and had his taste for sushi changed forever.

He went to a cat cafe, ordered Ramen from vending machines, and had his taste for sushi changed forever.

And he made a new little friend.

And he made a new little friend.

Visiting Koya-san, officially called Mount Koya, he stayed at a Buddhist monastery at the top of the mountain and prayed with them at dawn.

Visiting Koya-san, officially called Mount Koya, he stayed at a Buddhist monastery at the top of the mountain and prayed with them at dawn.

Here is the cemetery.

Here is the cemetery.

In Osaka, he tasted Kobe beef and realized that meat can actually melt in your mouth.

In Osaka, he tasted Kobe beef and realized that meat can actually melt in your mouth.

In Boracay, Philippines, he found the whitest sand he'd ever seen.

In Boracay, Philippines, he found the whitest sand he'd ever seen.

Then it was time to head to South Africa in business class.

Then it was time to head to South Africa in business class.

In Vaalwater, South Africa, Friedeberg was the only guest at Zulu Camp Shambala.

In Vaalwater, South Africa, Friedeberg was the only guest at Zulu Camp Shambala.

So he had several butlers, a private chef, masseuse, and a game driver all to himself.

So he had several butlers, a private chef, masseuse, and a game driver all to himself.

Of course, it wasn't just about the hotel.

Of course, it wasn't just about the hotel.

At Addo Elephant National Park, he accidentally stayed past closing time.

At Addo Elephant National Park, he accidentally stayed past closing time.

He had dozens of elephants walk right next to his car.

He had dozens of elephants walk right next to his car.

He was terrified they were going to crush the car, and him along with it. But it ended up alright.

He was terrified they were going to crush the car, and him along with it. But it ended up alright.

He flew to India, where he met up with him mom and took an elephant ride.

He flew to India, where he met up with him mom and took an elephant ride.

In Udaipur, India, he stayed at the amazing Taj Lake Palace, a floating marble hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola.

In Udaipur, India, he stayed at the amazing Taj Lake Palace, a floating marble hotel in the middle of Lake Pichola.

During the day, he learned how to tame cobras.

During the day, he learned how to tame cobras.

But he had to leave the elephants...

But he had to leave the elephants...

...and head to Dubai.

...and head to Dubai.

In Dubai, he went to Formula 1 weekend and got to spend time aboard the Titania, a 236 foot yacht.

In Dubai, he went to Formula 1 weekend and got to spend time aboard the Titania, a 236 foot yacht.

He got to do some driving of his own too.

He got to do some driving of his own too.

Then he flew to Europe. There were only two people in his Qatar Air first class cabin during the flight from Doha to Paris.

Then he flew to Europe. There were only two people in his Qatar Air first class cabin during the flight from Doha to Paris.

In Budapest, Hungary, he attended the opera where he and a friend watched from a box that they had all to themselves.

In Budapest, Hungary, he attended the opera where he and a friend watched from a box that they had all to themselves.

In Italy, he went to the Ferrari museum.

In Italy, he went to the Ferrari museum.

Then he flew to South America. In Rio de Janeiro, Friedeberg went to the Carnaval festival, drank too many Caipirinhas, and built sandcastles on the beach.

Then he flew to South America. In Rio de Janeiro, Friedeberg went to the Carnaval festival, drank too many Caipirinhas, and built sandcastles on the beach.

In Peru, he chewed too many coca leaves.

In Peru, he chewed too many coca leaves.

He then headed back to Europe, where he drove the breathtaking Furka pass from Switzerland to Italy.

He then headed back to Europe, where he drove the breathtaking Furka pass from Switzerland to Italy.

Here's another shot.

Here's another shot.

He went to Apricale, a beautiful mountain town in Italy.

He went to Apricale, a beautiful mountain town in Italy.

But that wasn't it. Friedeberg's trip continued, zipping back and forth across the globe.

But that wasn't it. Friedeberg's trip continued, zipping back and forth across the globe.

There was more food...

There was more food...

More luxury cars...

More luxury cars...

More first-class flights...

More first-class flights...

And more oceans.

And more oceans.

It's hard to even plot the entire trip on a map.

It's hard to even plot the entire trip on a map.

If you want to check out more photos, you can head to Friedeberg's Instagram.

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