I said I'd post it on the weekend so I'm a few days late. We are still working on the pics but I figured if I don't get started with something I'll delay into perpetuity. Having this up might push me a little harder to get the rest out.
Dw and I got extremely lucky with this trip. The night before we found out about the new St. Regis we were looking at possible winter vacation options (we were looking at a list of Park Hyatt's as we are diamond through Feb via a status match). dw stumbled upon the Park Hyatt Maldives and begged me to go. We looked into the flight times to the Maldives and I simply wasn't willing to go that far. We were close to booking hyatt beaver creek to go skiing for a few days but we decided we’d sleep on it that night and get back to it the next night. The very next day, someone in my office told me (before Dan posted on DDMS but he presumably saw on
FT DDF) about the St. Regis Maldives accepting points reservations for dirt cheap. I didn't quite have enough SPG points for 4 nights (5th free) and was on the phone with dw discussing how to get more quickly when my boss overheard the conversation and offered to book the trip for me using his points (to be repaid later). By the time I secured enough points, the rates were raised to what they are now. It pays to have a good boss.
We booked 5 nights in an overwater villa for 130,000 points (about a $12,500 value for the dates we were going). I briefly considered a garden villa so I can do C+P with my own account and not rely on my boss. Dw quickly knocked sense into me and my boss urged me to use his account to book and get the OWV.
We stalked pictures of the hotel on IG and made bowls of popcorn to read other people’s TR on TripAdvisor (really). It would be a huge underestimation to say we were looking forward to this. The place looked incredible in the pre-opening website photos and even better on IG. Jan 19th just couldn’t come soon enough. I’ve never stayed somewhere nearly as nice so I had no idea what to expect (dw has stayed at various Four Seasons before we got married) and it was better than we both expected. A tall task to live up to because we were looking forward to this vacation for 5 months!
When looking for flights, I admittedly made a HUGE mistake. We were pretty limited since we only had chase UR points (no Amex MR at all and no spg left after this trip) but we had plenty of time to get some signup bonuses and figure something else out. We didn’t do that, and in our “OMG I can’t believe we’re going” hype, we wanted to book rather quickly. If I could go back, I would but I can’t so I won’t.
Anyway we ended up using the chase portal for 1.5 in Y (I WAS A N00B AT THE TIME! And quite possibly still am…) but the silver lining is that we got the flight times and days we wanted. We booked a multi-destination ticket on the way to MLE with a 40hr stop in DXB, and had a 2hr stop in DXB on the way back to JFK. The dollar amount was about $1,000 so we used about 67,000 Chase points. We were booked in fare class X which earns 50% on Alaska so at least we got around 7,000 alaska miles out of this (combined with the 10k from the Virgin merger, we each have 17k without really doing anything). Most of you will say you’d rather pay the cash then use 65k points for that, and I’d agree with you. Unfortunately, I don’t swim in green so I wanted to save the cash I was going to use on this trip for whatever we wanted to do when we got there. I view my points as travel savings accounts so I use them when I actually get to go away.
Complete side note about my failed attempts to get J so feel free to skip if uninterested: After coming to grips that I was going to fly all the way there in economy, I panicked and tried to explore getting out of it. I wanted to cancel (I would have gladly paid a fee to have the points redeposited if it were an option) but they would only give me $800 each worth of flights on Emirates that we would have had to use by August of 2017 – and you can’t use the credit to book for others. Since I plan on going to BOB in June (how many go to Maldives and BOB, let alone in the same year!), I did not envision us using the Emirates credit by the deadline. What I wanted to do was use JAL to book the flights to DXB in J using spg (I would have signed up for 2 cards and bought the remaining points at the 1.7c sale). Anyway, I spent a few nights on the phone trying to get this done but I ultimately failed. At least I tried….
Anyway, here is the itinierary:
JFK-DXB Monday 10:40 am
DXB- MLE Wednesday 2:45 am
MLE-DXB-JFK Tuesday 9:15 am connection at 3pm
In Dubai, we stayed at the Park Hyatt with a DSU giving us an amazing suite. More on that and the rest of Dubai in the next installment…