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TC610's Honeymoon / France, Maldives First, before I begin, a special thanks to all of the contributing members of the DDF community.  Without the information I learned here, I would've never been able to experience the honeymoon of a lifetime.  I earned a ton of UR/MR/UA my first year at DDF which paid for the entire down payment on my new house.  The next couple of years I earned a ton more points - enough for me and my significant other to fly to and stay in Hawaii, different parts of California a few times, and Mexico twice, ->all in style<-, all on points and free nights.  In addition, it paid for almost all my honeymoon!  I just wish I was able to attend the DDS in CLE, it probably would've helped.

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USA -> France -> Maldives -> USA

Part I - Planning

The soon-to-be wife and I wanted to have an unforgettable, once in a lifetime trip for our honeymoon - a trip that if we don't take now, we won't be able to take until ~18 years after we have kids.  Most of the people we know in the Midwest go to places like Jamaica, the Bahamas, Mexico, and Hawaii for their honeymoons.  We wanted to do something different.  Europe + the Maldives was *very* different.  98% of the people I talked to never even heard of the Maldives.  100% of them thought our trip plan was a great idea and they were excited for us!  The fiancee was hesitant about doing the Maldives due to the long travel from the US and long layover in IST, but I mentioned we could have a free stopover somewhere in Europe (I've always wanted to go to France!) to break up the trip and then she was more than OK with it.

Being a true DDFer (and part time FTer), going to the PH Paris and PH Maldives were no-brainer aspirational awards.  My goal was to book everything pre-devaulation (Hyatt, UA) back in January 2014 for a September honeymoon.  Getting points availability dates for both Hyatts in order, along with finding *A saver business awards through UA, was not working out.  Availability at PH Paris was easier to find than PH Maldives.  The Gold Passport desk was able to find points nights for the PH Paris that the website did not show, and after making a 3 night reservation online, the PH Maldives was able to extend my points reservation to 5 nights.  All nights were 22k each.  I reserved an upgrade to OWB for the last 3 nights at $365/nt.  I had 100k in TYP burning a hole in my pocket, so I confirmed ahead of time that charges could be settled with Hyatt Gift Checks and spent my TYP on $1,000 worth of those to help pay for the upgrade.

Flights. I used Diamond KVS membership and the free AwardNexus route builder to assist in finding flights.
My original routing was:

CLE -> CLT (I) US
CLT -> MUC (I) LH
MUC -> CDG (I) LH  Stopover for 3 nights

CDG -> IST (I) TK  (7.5 hour Layover)
IST -> MLE (I) TK  Destination for 5 nights

MLE -> IST (I) TK
IST -> EDI (I) TK
EDI -> EWR (X) UA  (Plan B for I class)
EWR -> CLE (I) UA

Flight was ticketed by UA at 120k/pp +tax.  Why route through CLT?  At the time it was the only way to get Transatlantic saver business on *A.  Ticket had to be manually priced and approved by a supervisor since I had 5 total segments on a transatlantic flight (a LOT of HUCA to find an agent willing to it - the "Have United Call You" post was invaluable here).

During our 7.5 hour layover in IST, we planned on freshening up in the IST lounge and then touring Istanbul for the day.

Throughout 2013 and 2014, LH had been rolling out their new business product with lie-flat beds.  I wanted to snag two of those seats, but there was no guarantee that the CLT -> MUC route would have them in time.  In June, I did find 2 seats on the EWR -> DUS route that had the new business, so I switched my outbound itin to:

CLE -> EWR (X) UA  (Plan B for I class)
EWR -> DUS (I) LH
DUS -> CDG (I) LH

UA was going to charge a change fee, but since they changed times on my itinerary many times over the course of those 6 months, I asked them to waive the change fee for me and they did.

My flight departing MLE was 11:40pm, and I knew that the PH Maldives would give us reasonable accommodations the day of departure, so we would be able to squeeze out an extra day in the Maldives.

Planning done.  We had to sit and wait for the wedding day, so now you get to sit and wait while I write Part II.  Any questions in the meantime?

October 08, 2014, 11:26:12 AM
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Re: Un-do a new AMEX credit card application?
Amex will take about 2 months to report. So apply during that time.

I won't be eligible for a UR-earning card bonus for about 4 months.

April 23, 2018, 03:28:16 PM
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