Circuitous Curry Routings: Introduction

One man's quest for OW Sapphire, Dom Perignon and a Curry.

We’re always looking to introduce new voices on The Milelion, and we’ve got an aspiring guestwriter in Sam. Over the next few days and weeks, we’ll be publishing Sam’s flight reviews and adventures bit by bit. Please let us know what you think in the comments, especially if you’d like to read more!

Circuitous Curry Routings: Introduction
Sri Lankan A320 Business Class CMB-DOH
Qatar Airways Al Mourjan Lounge DOH
Qatar Airways A320 Business Class DOH-NBO-DOH
Sri Lankan A330 Business Class DOH-CMB
Galle Face Hotel Colombo
Emirates 777-300ER First Class CMB-SIN

This trip started where most of mine do – I once again needed to go to East Africa, on short notice, and wanted to find an interesting way to do it. There were some additional factors at play:

  • I was a single, short, economy flight away from re-qualifying for OneWorld Sapphire
  • I had a pitiful amount of Emirates miles that would expire soon
  • I like curry. A lot.

So I wanted to see if I could find an itinerary that satisfied all of these conditions. Cue a lot of time on Matrix and Google Flights and failed attempts to construct sensible routings. Initially, it looked like I was going to have to book the Cathay flight on SIN-BKK and then Kenya Airways BKK-NBO-EBB, (and laugh off the Emirates miles and get my curry fix in Little India). That seemed like a bit of a copout.

Little India Curry: Good, but I needed more.

Finally, when I should have been doing something else and was playing around on the Sri Lankan website instead, I found out that Sri Lankan could sell me a sensibly priced ticket for CMB-NBO by code sharing with Qatar Airways. It’s worth noting that this wasn’t on any OTA or Google Flights or anything, so it sometimes pays to cast a wide net when searching for obscure routings.

That just left the problem of SIN-CMB-SIN. I remembered reading something about an Emirates 5th freedom flight from CMB-SIN. As many of you know, CMB is often a starting point for cheap premium fares and sure enough, a one way Emirates Business Class ticket from CMB to SIN was only around S$150 more than an economy ticket on Sri Lankan from SIN-CMB.

More importantly, it was only 16,000 Skywards miles to upgrade it from Business to First. I bought the ticket and upgraded it through “Manage my Booking” and immediately received confirmation.

The Good Stuff

As a point of reference, you’d need around 40k skywards miles to upgrade from Business to First on a medium haul flight like SIN-DXB and I had no intention of flying EK enough to rack up those miles so I was just happy to have a use for them. I then booked a one way Economy flight on Sri Lankan for SIN-CMB and that was that.

With this routing I’d requalify for OW Sapphire, try out Sri Lankan’s A320 and A330 Business Class and revisit Qatar Business Class. I’d also have enough time to get into Colombo on the return leg, and make a dash for some curry before getting 4 hours of Emirates First. It also meant that I’d cross the Indian Ocean exclusively on narrowbody aircraft and recliners on the outbound leg (but with lie flats all the way back). I could live with that.

The final routing looked like this:

Stretching what could be a one stop itinerary into 4, just to get a curry and some Emirates First? Makes sense to me.

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Very creative routing and use of points, thumbs up! Tough to be headed to Nairobi so often though, hope you’re not affected by what just happened there.


Thanks! I actually enjoy the trips to East Africa, nice contrast to Sin.

What happened in Nairobi was awful and I was fortunately far away when it happened. That said, my approach is a bit more pragmatic – Nairobi is a big city, even if I was there on the day, there are hundreds of hotels in that area and I’d have to be extremely unlucky to be at the wrong hotel at the wrong time. Not saying it can’t happen, just that it’s less probable than it might seem.