Several people have asked about our trip logistics and how we went about planning it. It all started when we were brainstorming honeymoon destination ideas and jokingly mentioned the Maldives. Lo’ and behold, when we actually looked into it, Hilton was having a sale! We booked pretty much instantly AND THEN looked into how to get there. (We booked the Maldives hotel even before we booked anything for our wedding!)
What we learned was that it would take about 2 days of flying no matter which way we traveled. The Maldives is FAR. So we started thinking, where can we make a pit stop before or after the islands to make the trip less taxing. There are essentially 3 routes to get there – 1.) via Singapore; 2.) via India; 3.) via Turkey. We had interest in both Singapore and Turkey so we looked at tickets to each, and then discovered that there were tickets that could take us to both countries, potentially cost less, and enable us to see even more locales.
Round-the-world award tickets require you to keep traveling east or west and have restrictions on the amount of stopovers (a stay longer than 24 hrs) you can make. The cost is determined by the total amount of miles you’ll be traveling. We discovered that if we kept to a fairly straight route, we could get 1 business class ticket for 125K miles on ANA. They are a 1:1 points transfer partner with AMEX, and considering that there were 60-100K credit card point signup offers at the time, it was an easy decision. Check out this site for more info.
The difficult part of this whole endeavor was making sure that all the flights that we wanted had business class availability. That required camping out on both UA and ANA websites day in and out for about 5 months until all the flights we needed were available. But the end result was incredibly worthwhile – about $900 per person for the entire trip (for taxes and fees) in BUSINESS CLASS! We priced out how much it would cost to individually purchase all these tickets, and it came to over 20K! It’s insane how much money we saved from this, and technically, we could have shaved some more money off if we were more flexible on our flight times instead of trying to maximize our sightseeing time and opportunity.
We ended up choosing cities that adhered closely to the straight-line route that we needed to take but also were novel to us. I’d been to Barcelona, Singapore, and Japan but it’s been years since my last visit and all of these cities were new to the hubby. It’s going to be crazy intense and probably super tiring, but it’ll be great to get the best-of of each place! (May need another vacay after this to recuperate — don’t hit me plz)