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Bangkok, Koh Samui, Singapore and Maldives TR This is my first trip report and Iím excited to share it.

I will review many details of my trip but particularly I will detail prices and deals I got throughout the trip.

I first booked the Waldorf Astoria Maldives on February 15th, 2019 when I read that they will be opening. The Maldives was a destination my wife wanted to go since we got married 3 years ago but was mostly a far dream. We like brand new hotels and we learned about the WA opening it was like a sign that now itís the time to go there.
It was about a year in advance of the booking and was mostly a theoretical booking that we didnít know the chances of it happening. At that time our daughter was only 7 months old and we didnít know what to expect when she will be 18 months. We already traveled with her to France, The Bahamas, and Cayman Island and everything went smoothly with her. One thing was sure, weíll take her with us all the time in our vacation, that the education we got ourselves and we just love being with her on vacation seeing her happy face all the time.

We then decided to go ahead with it and to add the Conrad Koh Samui to the trip, I talked to my wife a few months before about this hotel on a cliff with private pool in each villa and it was definitely in our bucket list. It did take time though to convince her to go to Asia as it will be our first time and my wife had some phobia, but then she fell in love with it. We weren't sure if we go before or after the Maldives and we finally booked 5 nights before arriving in the Maldives.
At that time we didnít have tickets and we knew that we can cancel or modify it at any time.

A few months later I booked the tickets. I knew I will book with Amex points transferred to AC because of the 20% bonus at that time and their cheap rate for lap infant.

Flights booking:
I transferred 255K Amex to AC with the 20% to get 305K and I booked the following:
JFK-ZRH-BKK in J with Swiss, for 77.5AC ◊2 +62.40 CAD taxes (+100+2.10 CAD for lap infant)
BKK-USM in Y with PG, rev ticket for $91◊2 (+$40 for lap infant)
USM-SIN in Y with SilkAir rev ticket for $353 for both adults and lap infant (there wasnít availability in points).
SIN-MLE in Y with SQ, 9065 SQ miles ◊2 + $74 in taxes (+$58 lap infant) (I booked it previously for 18K SQ each but in late January they came up with the 51% off for February 2020 redemption booking and my flight was still available so I cancel the previous one and rebooked for 9065 SQ each, I was later refunded on the cancellation fee). I called them to attach my USM-SIN ticket with the SIN-MLE ticket to check baggage through.
MLE-SIN-TPE-JFK in J with SQ & BR (-last leg), for 75K AC ◊2 (+100+55.70 CAD for lap infant)

Hotels booking:
Marriott FNC (35K) for the St Regis Bangkok 1 night
380K HHonors for 4+1 nights at the Conrad Koh Samui (When I booked it I was short of 5K points on my account at that time and the representative added them for free to my account before making the booking)
240K HHonors + 1 Weekend night certificate for 3 nights at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives

After booking the hotels and flights, I began to read a lot about the Conrad USM and the WAI on FT. I read all the pages of these 2 hotels for a month and I knew exactly which villa I will take and what to expect pretty much. I can say that I enjoyed reading every page there and it helped me a lot also for a deal I got in one of them that I will share later on.

The day in Bangkok was mostly to catch up some jet lag and rest before heading to Koh Samui. In Singapore, we just had a few hours to go visit around between our flights. 2 weeks before our flights, my younger brother went on Shlichus for a year in Singapore so we had another reason to be there.

Iím now already back from the trip and Iíll begin to go over the trip in detail.

February 08, 2020, 11:26:32 PM
Re: Polar bear suitcase for sale FWIW, I have a Polar Bear soft cooler and it works great. Kept items frozen solid for many hours.
July 29, 2020, 10:39:09 PM
Maldives - Waldorf Astoria Hi all -

My first trip report - with how helpful the site has been to us, the least I can do is contribute a little something back.

The original plan was for us to spend a week in Bali for a friends wedding, so we decided to add another week onto the vacation since it's so far from Chicago, and added a week to the Maldives.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket
MLE -> DPS Paid cash
DPS -> ORD Turkish business through Aeroplan (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)

Then COVID hit, and the wedding got postponed to next year. So we decided to keep the Maldives portion, and added on Bodrum.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket (transferred from Marriott)
MLE -> IST 40K AA in Coach (no business availability)
IST -> Bodrum $35 cash
Bodrum -> ORD Turkish business through Aeroplan - 55K (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)
Bodrum Edition for 7 nights, using cert from @leeboy (who was fantastic, and let us cancel it - so if anyone needs a category 7 marriott 7 night cert, I would be happy to have you take it off my hands)

Then my wifes work informed her (after we had taken off) due to international travel, we would have to quarantine for 2 weeks after we got back. So we cancelled the Bodrum portion, and frantically from Doha airport rearranged the trip.

ORD -> MLE Qatar QSUITES on AA 70K per ticket
WA for 6 nights (used 4 nights of points (unable to get 5 consecutive nights to use free night), 2 certificates)
MLE -> ORD Etihad business through Aeroplan - 75K (bought miles during their sale earlier this year)

We got so lucky that Etihad had availability.  In the Maldives, we were staying at the WA and we extended our stay by a night to get on this flight. We had to pay ~$500 to get PCR tests for the both of us.  We were lucky to have a DDFer sell us a free Hilton night, and the WA had no standard rates available, but since we were already there, they were kind enough to open up one more night for us.

They typically have 16 rooms they make available via points every night, just for reference. They also upgraded us to a OVW with living room, for no extra charge.  We are Hilton Diamond through the Aspire credit card.

The service at the WA was just incredible. We hadn't mentioned it was my wifes bday, but our concierge noticed when they did in room check in, and had a nice decoration as well as a cake for her without our prompting. Every night there was fresh juice and a small dessert in our room (as well as all the other rooms). We also enjoyed the Diamond amenity from 4-5 PM - free drinks only. There was also the breakfast that was incredible every morning.

The Qatar flight was incredible as well.  It didn't seem all that different from pre-covid.

Waldorf yacht

Waldorf room/grounds

September 11, 2020, 11:33:17 AM
Re: Maldives - Waldorf Astoria I also wanted to give a big thanks to @mdv . He was instrumental in helping me deepen  my understanding of the points game, and he kind of served as a personal consultant in a way in helping me open the right credit cards or acquire the points/bookings.  Definitely wouldn't have happened without him.  He also taught me a lot more than you can just decipher from reading the forums.  This was the first big trip we took and required a lot of points, so it was very helpful.
September 23, 2020, 12:02:20 PM
Re: Andaz mayakoba refuses free test on points stay "Hyatt is Spreading the Coronavirus," Hotel Guest Asserts after Policy Reversal

The Hyatt hotel chain has come under fire for its alleged role in spreading a pandemic, DansDeals Magazine has learned. The accusation came after a Mexico-based hotel refused to supply a free Covid test to a guest, in direct contradiction to the chain's stated policy.

"[The] reservation manager claims the free test is only for paid stays," a guest at the Andaz Mayakoba, a Hotel that is part of the Hyatt Brand of hotels, claimed on a prominent online forum. The guest, who was identified only by a username of 'mdv', added that the hotel sent a PDF that supposedly backed up their refusal to supply a test, but the guest pointed out that the hotel website made no distinction between paid or reward stays.

The assertion was first posted on Dans Deals Forums, a prestigious travel and points forum that compliments, a deals site that has earned the top spot in a USA Today survey. The site's administrator, Cleveland-based points heavyweight Daniel Eleff, immediately offered to use his connections to clear up the confusion.

"I'll reach out to my Hyatt contact and see what they say," Eleff posted on the forum.

The situation was later resolved after the hotel conceded and agreed to supply a test. Poster mdv reported the change of policy about two-and-a-half hours after his initial post noting the refusal.

It has been reported that Hyatt secretly threated adverse actions against Eleff if he would publicize the story, with their main ammunition being their ability to portray Eleff as a super-spreader, given his side job of singing at predominantly Jewish weddings. Eleff, however, has been documented as having eleffated antibody levels, thus effectively mitigating the risk of virus spread. DansDeals Magazine has not been able to independently confirm claims of any threats, however.

February 10, 2021, 08:05:19 PM