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Messages - Wizmanison

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181
Just Shmooze / Re: Where Are You Posting From Now?
« on: June 21, 2018, 07:14:22 AM »
SEZ

182
Just Shmooze / Re: Where Are You Posting From Now?
« on: June 20, 2018, 11:26:53 PM »
ADD

183
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Thailand Master Thread
« on: June 19, 2018, 06:14:07 AM »
Any way to do it further in advance?
When you visit the hotel or Chabad ask to borrow their phone and call the Chabad in CNX?

184
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: June 19, 2018, 02:27:09 AM »
Anyone know if shabbos meals in Chiang Mai by chabad need reservations?

Best way to contact them, they haven't responded to emails?

IME they donít. But you can always stop by earlier that day and let them know. Nothing on their website?

185
On The Road / Re: Starwood Question
« on: June 18, 2018, 08:44:05 PM »
DPs wouldn't help unless you ask for the specific hotel. It's YMMV and officially status is not recognized if you don't book through SPG
Understood. Thank you! Hotel was for the BOB SR or LM on the unlikely chance one who reads this has any experience...

186
On The Road / Re: Starwood Question
« on: June 18, 2018, 08:35:53 PM »
Any DP's on booking SPG reservation through UR portal and receiving status benefits (upgrade) by calling and having them add reservation to your SPG account or emailing hotel property in advance? If it helps the account would have platinum status. Would prefer to not rely on getting there and hoping they add my status to the reservation once at check in desk...

187
Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Next Vacation - Ideas
« on: June 17, 2018, 01:08:31 PM »
Anyone know of a house with a pool to rent for a shabbos near a shul?

Got a destination in mind?

Can do this in Los Angeles. How big of a house you looking for?

188
Credit Cards / Re: Ritz Carlton CC Master Thread
« on: June 17, 2018, 09:54:05 AM »
Any idea or DPís on how soon after spending the 75k one gets plat status (besides for the stated 6-8 weeks)? Or is there any way at all to expedite the status?

189
Credit Cards / Re: Ritz Carlton CC Master Thread
« on: June 17, 2018, 09:51:54 AM »
can someone please explain exactly how i do the $300 TC?
i book a jet blue refundable ticket and...?

With enough calling and convincing you can get almost anything travel related refunded.

Does the GE credits kick in automatically or do I need to call in?

Also is the credit every 4 years from card opened or 4 years from last credit

Also is it one credit per account or per card

Pretty sure itís automatic but calling in canít hurt.

Credit is once every 4 years for what Iím assuming is since you last used it.

GE credit is one per an account. The AUís do not get it. But they would get PP.

190
Wow amazing!

Let's get the tr already!
Enjoy Africa!

Have been writing this TR up during my SA flights! Got several coming up so next couple of segments should be up shortly bĒh!


191
Up In The Air / What Award Itinerary Did You Just Book/Hold?
« on: June 14, 2018, 08:41:39 PM »
SEZ-TLV in Y on TK for 32,500 + $~72 CAD AC x 2

192
So share them! :D
Not the right time or place


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

193
can we get Africa too? 8)
Only just got to CPT! Writing notes as I go along but nothing ready to be published just yet. Did get some cool Safari pics Iím excited to share though!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

194
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.

195
How do you get your wife to not want to travel?
Constantly flying long flights in Y

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