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Around the World in 23 days, A Honeymoon TR by Wizmanison Although this trip was not 'technically' a RTW trip or a honeymoon (as we have been on several 'honeymoon' trips before and after this trip) the title seemed fitting. Like most people a trip to the Maldives or Bora Bora was always high on my bucket list. Having recently getting married and with the sale that was going on, I thought what better excuse to make a trip to the Maldives! When beginning to plan I noticed that most of the TRís I read were lacking some information either intentionally or not. Therefore, I will try to make this TR as transparent and detailed filled as I can! I will try to include prices for everything I remember as well as any information I uncovered from my countless pages of reading. Thank you to all those who contributed, whether I read your TR or not it really does help others a when planning.

I apologize in advance if I make any grammar mistakes, input any unreliable or false information, bad photos or anything else that might offend you. No intentions to do any of the above but if it happens SORRY!

Breakdown of Costs:

Flights:
LAX-JFK = $572 ($286 each paid for with B6 Travel Credit)
JFK-AUH w/ Cai RT = 208k MR (104k ANA each) + $205 YQ               
CAI-MLE = 50,066 UR 
MLE-SR MLE= 64k Arrival + points + $735
MLE-SIN= 37k UR (18.5k SIN each) +$100 YQ
SIN-DPS=15k (7.5k SIN each) +$50 YQ
DPS-USM= 25k (12.5k SIN each) +$40 YQ
USM-URT-DMK= $138 ($69 each)
BKK-HKT=$104 ($52 each)
HKT-CNX= $228 ($114 each)
CNX-BKK= 26k UR (13k each)
BKK-AUH= 36,000 AA (18k each) +$50 YQ
JFK-LAX= $408( $204 each paid in AA travel credit)

Hotels:
Le Meridian Egypt: 3k spg
SR MLE: 234k spg (5 nights @ 46.8k)
Andaz Singapore: Free Night Cert
GH Bali: 36k (3 nights @ 12k) - 20k (for complaining)= 16k
Conrad Koh Samui: 190k (2 nights @ 95k)  (Received Be My Guest Cert for complaint)
Bangkok Thong Ta Resort Suvarnabhumi: $22
Le Meridian Chiang Mai: 24k (3 nights @ 8k)
Hyatt Regency Dubai: 8k
Park Hyatt Dubai: Free Night Cert

Breakdown by Currency:

TOTAL UR: 177,066
TOTAL AA: 36,000
TOTAL MR: 208,000
TOTAL SPG: 261,000
TOTAL HILTON: 190,000
TOTAL Arrival +: 64,000
TOTAL CASH: 1,672 (Most of which were paid with CSR/Ritz travel credits and Arrival + points)
VOUCHERS/CREDITS USED: 2 Hyatt Free nights (50k Hyatt), AA GC ($408), B6 Credit ($572)...

TOTAL POINTS/MILES USED: 936,066

FLIGHT ROUTE:



TRIP PLANNING:

For those that just want a summary of what and how I booked and not the super detailed trip report that will follow, here you go:

   
I happened to book 5 nights at the SR MLE in May of 2017, around the time when all the bloggers were writing about the reduced price for the SR MLE. Since I was able to cancel until December I thought why not just hold the dates just incase. So for 234,000 SPG points I booked the 5 nights in the Maldives. I was busy at the time planning my Summer trip and pushed off the idea of planning the MLE trip.
   
It was only till about late October - Mid November that I started getting realistic about making a trip out of this booking. I seriously thought of just cancelling the 5 nights but after speaking to several people about how amazing their trip was I had to at least try to plan a trip. So I started reading and slowly kept on adding a list of possible stops to this trip to the other side of the globe. My thought process was more or less if I am already flying all the way out there I might as well make the most of it.

We used travel credit from price matching our flights as well as family members flights and other credits we got from complaints to book LAX-JFK for $286 each.
 
After looking at several options it seemed most feasible to make AUH the hub and use ANA to book the roundtrip from JFK-AUH.  I planned to book side by side Etihad Apartment suites for our longest flights and EY was showing availability for 149k MRó> ANA eacH. So I transferred hoping to book. But, when it came too booking ANA was not able too see availability :(. So we booked just Business class. Since these RT flights offer a free stopover, I chose Egypt. Mostly because other places were either to far, not interesting enough, or we had to little time to explore that destination.

We then used 50k Merrill points for two flights from CAI-MLE. But, for reasons youíll read later we actually ended up using 50k UR.

MLE-SIN (Singapore) costed us 18.5 URó> SIN plus $50 YQ each (CSR credit).

I then waitlisted a bunch of SIN-DPS (Bali) flights on SIN. A couple weeks before departure they cleared up and I booked it for 7,500 URó> SIN and like $25 YQ each (CSR credit).
   
It was pretty hard finding a DPS-USM (Koh Samui, Thailand) flight for our dates but we finally found the option to book DPS-USM with a stopover in SIN. How it would work is we would fly DPS-SIN on Singapore airlines and then SIN-USM on silk air. It cost 12.5 URó> SIN and $20 in taxes each (CSR credit). This flight had us getting into Singapore at like 1:30 AM and the next flight to Koh Samui was only leaving at 8:30 am. I chose this flight because I wanted to get into Koh Samui and enjoy the Conrad the most I could for the short time we were there (2 nights). So we went into one of the PP lounges and slept there.

For the next flights, besides AUH-JFK, I booked them all days before travel as I started to get really busy the weeks before the trip and even during the trip. It was really hard to find flights from USM to anywhere else in Thailand that didnít leave early morning. And, like I said I wanted to enjoy my time at the Conrad KS. I looked at every option to literally every airport in Thailand and even other routings out of Thailand and back in but could not find anything. And for the flights I did find they either had no availability or only 1 seat available, or were ridiculously expensive. Thinking I struck gold, I booked a flight from USM to BKK on Expedia only to see after paying that it was for dates 3 months out! This was because when I translated google flights to Expedia, it inverted the month and day with the google translation. I immediately called in and with enough HUCA they refunded me. They claimed that these flights were non refundable because flight was within a week and these carriers donít offer 24 hour refund. I escalated to manager and they gave me a ďone time exceptionĒ refund. So, with all other options exhausted we ended up taking a ferry from USM-DonSak Pier for $9 each. And then transportation to URT, other known as Surat Thani Airport in Thailand, for $8 each. I then took a flight from URT-DMK for $52 each person (CSR credit) on Air Asia.

We spent like less then 12 hours in Bangkok, pretty much just in the markets as my wife wanted some purses and stuff and we got a massage. Stayed at a $20 hotel found on Orbitz since we were only in the room for like 2 hours and it offered a shuttle to the airport. Our flight was at 6:20 am. We flew from BKK-HKT for $52 each person (CSR credit) on Bangkok Airways.
   
We arrived in Phuket at 7:45am and went to do the Phi Phi Island tour. Came back to airport at around 6:30 for our 7:20 flight to Chiang Mai. We flew AirAsia HKT-CNX, booked a day or two before, for $114 each (CSR/Ritz Credit) and arrived at 9:15pm Thursday night.
   
Stayed in CNX for 3 nights before heading back to BKK for a flight to AUH. We flew Thai Airways CNX-BKK from 3:20pm-4:35pm for 13k UR or $98 each.

With a unforeseen SUPER tight connection it was only by a matter of pure YMMV that I made it to the next flight: BKK-AUH 6:05pm-10:05pm. We flew business for this route as it was a longer flight at around 7 hours and I had been driving my wife crazy with all the intra Thailand flights. It was also a great price! Since I have so many AA points it was easy to spend 40k miles, each, for biz class. With the Citi 10% bonus it ended up being 36k and $25 in taxes each (CSR/Ritz Credit).

After taking forever in customs in AUH for reasons that I never found out (I was like the only one in line and the man left with my passport for like 30 minutes somewhere) and going through a whole ordeal with the rental car we got to Dubai and spent 2 nights there before returning for our flight back to AUH-JFK with Etihad to complete our RT. We left at 10:15 and arrived in JFK at 3:50.

Purposely giving us like a 5 hour layover, our flight from JFK-LAX with AA for $204 each, booked with AA gift cards, courtesy of plat and biz plat travel credit, was from 9:15-1:06am. We did this so we could land, see some friends & family briefly and finally eat  freshly made food!

So all in all we took about 16 flights and a ferry ride over a 3 week 2 day period. We spent approx. 60-66 hours in flights and visited about 3 Continents, 7 Countries, 8 States/Cities, and 11 Islands.

Detailed Trip Report in the works. Have written some of it, but adding pictures on DDF is relatively new to me and seemingly time consuming. Will be posting Egypt TR in the coming days as soon as I finish figuring out the pics.

June 11, 2018, 06:09:35 PM
1
Re: Car Repairs Master Thread https://www.rockauto.com/en/catalog/hyundai,2018,sonata,2.4l+l4,3441261,body,outside+door+handle,1024
July 02, 2020, 12:39:36 PM
1
Re: All About Grilling
Care to share recipe?
We really like this marinade:

3 T mayo
2 T soy sauce
1 T teriyaki sauce
2 tsp dried basil (or 1 cube frozen)
1 tsp garlic powder (or 1 frozen garlic cube)
1 squirt mustard

Marinate chicken for 30 minutes or up to 3 hours (depending on how much flavor you like, I like 30 minutes). Then grill (it's great on a George Foreman too).

If you don't have time to marinate you can just spread the marinade on top before grilling, it's also delicious that way.

July 09, 2020, 04:48:24 PM
1
Mdv's Aspen Colorado trip report This is my first trip report so I hope I do this right!
 I am the kind of guy who's always planning trips but rarely actually gets to go on one so when the opportunity came up I jumped on it . For a destination we wanted to stay within USA just for simplicity due to all the covid restrictions in other countries ....our first idea was just boring miami but we quickly ditched that due to weather and covid spiking... next idea was arizona but also too hot so we settled on Colorado for the perfect no humidity weather in the mountains during the summer.

Ever since getting married I've become a stickler for nice hotels (before that i just looked at it like a waste of money/ points) so my planning was partly (alright- mostly) based on where I can find a really nice hotel on points and the winner was the St Regis Aspen which was at the time pricing at 70k Marriott per night for the entire duration of the stay (which usually is quite hard to find) due to covid .The hotel is actually quite an old building but was renovated about 10 years ago and its very luxurious even for today's standards albeit with more of a rustic mountain feel (more on that later) . In regards to the location obviously everyone recognizes the name from the tissue boxes so I knew I wouldn't be let down.

 I spoke to a well travelled friend who told me the nicest thing to see in the Colorado Rockies is Maroon Bells which is right next to Aspen so that sealed it ! The other thing my friend told me about was Mt Evans which is a drive thats supposed to be very cool (highest road in USA) but that's closer to denver and too far from Aspen to be a day trip.
 So I was thinking to do one less night in Aspen and 1 night closer to denver so we can do that drive ( and also by only doing 3 nights I wouldn't feel so bad not taking advantage of fifth night free....staying 5 nights would have meant having to stay for shabbos in denver and that just didn't work for me)
However by the time I decided to do that the off peak promo was over and if you want to shorten a stay with marriott its based off the current rates (which had gone back up to 85k) so essentially you are just canceling the stay and rebooking it for 1 less night for the current rate - they can't just knock off the last night and keep the rate you booked (which seems quite foolish). I tried huca and supervisors to no avail. They said the only other option is to get the hotel to make the change but when I spoke to the property they said they can't change a points reservation all I can do is check out a day early and I would get the points back but then would be charged $4000 (!) for "making a change within 24 hours" and no they can't make any exceptions as it's a rigid rule. Obviously I asked for a manager and was told he was in a meeting so I should leave a voicemail. So as a last ditch effort I left a message explaining the situation and saying that I'm coming with my 5 month old baby this is his first trip blah blah blah not expecting to get a call back.
To my surprise i got a call a bit later from Carlos who introduced himself as the reservation manager for the St Regis and the W (the W aspen is an insanely cool and modern property but the rooms are a bit quirky - some rooms have weird bunkbed style beds and some have no views at all i.e. no windows and it has a rooftop pool open to the public and seems to have more of a party vibe - more on the w later -the st regis just seemed more classy and luxurious) and he goes I have a 2 month old myself and i can definitely help you change your stay no problem no fees! I actually ended up staying all 4 nights but Carlos ended up helping me alot with something else I'll elaborate later.

For flights we had the option of united from newark or Philadelphia or southwest from Philadelphia and I ended up going with southwest because I had some Sw points left from getting 2 cards last year and some very cheap rates , flexible changes (@Dan southwest systemwide free changes) , 2 free bags and guaranteed middle seat free so i can bring my baby's car seat on the plane - although the flight times weren't the greatest.

And for a rental car I had a whole bunch of points leftover from my single years of renting and from buying some a few years thru daily getaways (thanx to @Dan )and coupled with presdents circle (got from the LH Senator code a few years back and kept up thru status match thru national) I was hoping for something nice ( although I had never previously gotten anything better than a challenger with PC) .
Being that we were landing 9am and taking off 430pm I would've had to pay for a whole extra day for those extra few hours but I decided to take my chances and use the amex platinum cdp which allows you to set up your reservation online to return 4 hours later than pickup , hoping that they wouldn't ask me to prove my card membership
(I actualy have a business platinum card that I canceled a while ago but the expiry date on the card is still on the future and i happened to have kept the physical card for situations like these).
So I managed to get a rate for 4 days ( 3000 points) for a 10am pickup and 2pm drop off plus a quoted $100 and some change for taxes and fees (for some odd reason they ended up charging only 19 dollars but I ain't complaining)
 
So here's some numbers :
Breakdown of costs
Flights (for myself and my wife) :
PHL to DEN Sunday 7am
10746 WN + $11.20
DEN to PHL Thursday 435pm
14646 WN + $11.20
Car :
10am pickup 2pm dropoff .paid for 4 days and got 4 hours extra with amex plat code
3000 Hertz points + $19.10
Hotel :
St Regis Aspen Resort
280k Marriott points ( 4 nights @70k per night off peak rate due to covid promo)(yes it killed me to not take the fifth night free )

For food we needed to bring with us because the closest kosher food is in denver 3 hours away so we did a combination of premade food from yapchik which they vacuum packed for us, some premade homemade food frozen in pans and some raw steaks , all individually wrapped in silver foil, labeled (I made a corresponding list on my phone to keep track of everything) and then as per my rov I taped each one in a specific way to be able to tell if it was tampered with. Next I froze everything and put it in a Polar Bear suitcase (thanks @Dan for the tip worked perfectly) and then the rest of the stuff - milk , cheese frozen pizza etc we made an order from East side kosher deli which we would pick up after landing in denver. To prepare the food we brought a sous vide (to warm the vacuum packed yapchik food and cook the steaks )and a plastic bin for the water, a mini blowtorch to sear the steaks and a toaster oven to warm up the things in pans and for frozen pizza. Honestly a toaster oven is quite a schlep and we only brought it because we had so much free baggage but next time I would probably just try to get one at my destination and leave it there when I'm done
So that's pretty much all the planning ... next up is the actual trip and some pics
..... to be continued.....

July 14, 2020, 11:48:36 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Ok after spending a whole reading this thread. I still have a question that i havent seen asked.
Can a self employed tutor who only got paid with checks and has not worked long enough to file file for unemployment? True story I actually got unemployed due to corona!
And if yes what proof is enough when asked?

Don't think you read through the whole thread then ;)
Yes, you can file.
You can submit copies of cancelled checks as proof.

August 06, 2020, 05:21:25 PM
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Re: Lakewood NJ Master Thread
There are many working, but there are many non working too.
Yes, but are any of them learning?  ;D

August 11, 2020, 11:19:43 AM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
Anyone else not able to file a new case on the website?
Keep getting the regular login and not creat a login
Which state are you attempting to file in?

August 18, 2020, 07:00:01 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
At what point would they ask for my EID?
also, is it a requirement to file more than a specific amount on my 2019 taxes in order to qualify?

Not needed when filing, and most don't get a request for it at all.
There is no minimum self-employment income needed on your 2019 return to qualify, although you do need to prove some sort of prior income.

August 18, 2020, 07:01:51 PM
1
Re: Unemployment Help
How long does it take to get a determination in NY? I filed last night.
(Only asking because from the people i know that filed got an answer within 24hrs...)
Up to 3 days is normal. After that a call to give them a nudge might be a good idea.
Check your account> Unemployment Services page to see if there's a note that you have to call in.

August 19, 2020, 09:18:15 PM
1
Re: Car Repairs Master Thread Im thinking about adding a backup camera to a 2009 Camry XLE. I found this backup camera online but I'm pretty sure I need another connection point between the camera and the factory radio. Does anyone here have experience in this matter?


August 23, 2020, 12:02:56 AM
1