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Messages - Wizmanison

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Hello! So I booked flights to South Africa on SA Airways earlier this week that leaves June 5th, which only leaves me with so much time to plan. I read through every TR, this entire thread, and countless other blogs and forums, as well as speaking to several people who have visited or live in SA and came up with this preliminary itinerary. I thought it would be easier to put it in a Calendar and post a picture of it but if not I would gladly type it up and send that in instead.

As time of posting this, absolutely nothing is booked except for my flight from LAX-JFK and JFK-JNB. 

I was hoping to get peoples advice before proceeding with any bookings! I also had a list of questions or ideas that I would like to hear peoples thoughts on. Appreciate all those that contributed to this thread already and I hope to add more with my TR and information I compiled from my readings!

- I understand that the general advice is to use T-Mobile for service in SA but since my provider is AT&T how should I go about it?

- Arriving in JNB on Wednesday. Since there is not much to do in JNB I thought it might be best to see VF and return to JNB for shabbat.
    - Could not find any availability on BA…So I guess redeeming through the UR portal/cash is my only option?
    - which side should I land on/leave from?
    - will I be able to do Chobe, visit both sides, and what other activities can/should I do?

- Seems there is not much to do in JNB besides restaurants and Lion Park… Am I missing something?
    - Has anyone stayed at the Genesis - all suite- hotel?

- What is the drive from JNB to Kruger like if I wanted to do the panoramic route?
    - How long will it take? Will I need to stop off somewhere?
    - Might not be worth it to pay for Safari if I intend to do panoramic route as it would take up nearly all day not allowing me to take advantage of game drives… Perhaps I should spend the night in a hotel near the reserve and then go in the morning

- Will likely book the Motswari Game Reserve as they have good reviews, someone from DDF said they enjoyed it, and I can use UR for the stay!
    - It’s around 47k UR a night ($715 but with 1.5 it comes out to that). But, it comes out to like $500 a night on other sites, not through the chase portal :(.

- Considering spending 3 nights at this reserve and then self driving Kruger on the 4th day, while staying at a random or Protea hotel or perhaps a camp inside the park. Or is 3 nights on the reserve enough?

-  I would then take a flight to either CPT or fly to George or Port Elizabeth and drive the scenic route to CPT.
    - Any thoughts or advice on the drive or is it skippable?

- I would spend shabbat  and then a day or two after that trying to go through the seemingly endless list of things to do/see in CPT.

- And then fly to either Seychelles or Mauritius for 3/4 days
    - Any advice on which is better?! As well as what to do or where to stay?

- Considering extending this trip and flying somewhere else for like a 4-5 day period after SEZ/MRU to either Israel, some part of Europe, or anywhere else someone can convince me to visit!

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 06:21:52 AM »
How many nights did you spend there?
Im thinking either Thursday - Sunday or Monday.
Did you go to chabad over shabbos?
Were you in touch with Yisroel before you arrived?
I'm definitely interested in custom suits, how much was it per suit? Are you satisfied with them?
How much does a massage go for?
Did you by any chance also go to usm?
I spent 3 nights in CNX, 2 nights in USM, 1 night in BKK and 1 day in HKT for the phi phi islands.

Shabbat was really nice there with like 200 people eating there that Friday night I was there.

No. I linked up with Yisroel the day I needed him.

Massages are like $7-10

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 05:56:57 AM »
Ok that's good to hear there's no security when transferring.

What hotel did you stay at in cnx?
Any recommendations or pointers?
Thank you for your assistance

LM was great! Chiang Mai was amazing. Chabbad was super friendly and food was good and reasonably priced. Yisroel, the travel agent, was really nice and helpful and I booked a driver with him for that same hour.  Let me know if your interested in getting a suit tailored as well!

For activities we did the classic Tiger Kingdom and Maesa Elephant camp. Both were great!

As you walk to chabbad from the LM you will see outdoor markets throughout. Visit them all as there are some cool stuff. Definitely take advantage of the super cheap massage prices. We pretty much got on for every night that we were in Thailand.

In CNX the recommended massage places are Green Bamboo (make reservation or check availability beforehand), White Orchid, and some others I can’t remember right now.

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 05:45:51 AM »
So you got the pass when you checked in for your flight?
How long was security when you got off the Thai flight?

No security just straight to baggage claim. It was from Chiang Mai

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 05:28:23 AM »
I'm actually transferring from ethihad to Thai. Which airline gave you the pass?

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 05:10:37 AM »
Looking to land at 7:10am and depart 8:45am.
Do I ask them for the premium pass or will they offer it?
Is it different terminals connecting from international to a domestic flight?
Do ethihad and Thai  have an interline agreement?

If you need it they will give it to you but if you feel you need it then ask for it. I as well was transferring from Thai to Etihad. Don’t recall there being an inter line agreement. As for the terminals, you will land downstairs at basically the left end of the whole airport and will have to go upstairs like 4 floors (elevator or escalator) and then walk or run all the way to the right most side of the airport (a 2 minute run lol). If that description made no sense I apologize! Just writing it how I’m currently picturing it.

Destination Guides And Trip Planning / Re: Thailand Master Thread
« on: May 25, 2018, 04:44:05 AM »
Is 1:35 minute stopover enough time in BKK to get luggage and recheck for another flight? All flights in business if that helps.

Yes. I did it with like 20-30 minutes to spare (not on purpose... TR coming soon, hopefully) but had a lot of running to do. They will give you, if truly necessary, a premium lane pass which allows you to skip like every lane.

It looks like this: 

Trip Reports / Re: Honeymoon: Cape Town, SA - Safari - Mauritius
« on: May 11, 2018, 12:11:02 AM »
We did Seychelles in January and can tell you that it is amazing. Hopefully will get to a trip report, but we did Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Praslin, La Digue, Mahe, Cape Town, and then a safari.

Pros for Seychelles:
- One island had nothing but bikes to get around and it was so much fun.
- Very easy to rent a car and find a private pristine beach that is picturesque and have it all to yourself.
- Has a few beaches that are typically always ranked top ten in the world.
- Flights to/from UAE and JNB make it just as easy as MRU to get to. (I think I paid $330 one way to get to CPT from SEZ)

- The accommodations are either very high end, somewhat over priced Airbnbs, self catering apartments, or budget hotels.
- Not sure how Mauritius is, but like most islands outside of southeast Asia the customer service isn't the best.
- Going out to eat can be pricey.

I would say that a majority of people who have been to both usually state a preference of Seychelles over Mauritius, but we've yet to go to Mauritius. I don't think I would go out of my way to go back to the Seychelles because it's not easy to get to, but we were very happy with our choice. Mauritius looks fantastic as well. I will say that we did not see many Americans in the Seychelles. Mostly French and Italian. There is also a lot more island hopping which we enjoy. Even in peak season (Christmas and New Years) the most popular beaches weren't the crowded and it was extremely easy to find nice secluded spots where you might not see another person all day. I think Mauritius is going to have better beaches at the high end resorts, whereas the Seychelles' best beaches were typically not next to large resorts with the exception of Mahe.

Still waiting on your TR!

Where did you stay in SEZ and for how long?

Credit Cards / Re: Ritz Carlton CC Master Thread
« on: April 20, 2018, 01:09:30 PM »
when was the last time you did it?
Never said I, personally, did it. But I know those who have in the past couple months.

Credit Cards / Re: Ritz Carlton CC Master Thread
« on: April 20, 2018, 12:54:00 PM »
To what? You know someone who was successful doing it?
The Marriott cards. Lots of bloggers, I am sure, have a write up about it.

Credit Cards / Re: Ritz Carlton CC Master Thread
« on: April 20, 2018, 12:52:55 PM »
They won't PC Ritz to anything.
That’s incorrect. You can PC a ritz

On The Road / Re: Master Thread of Discussion on Marriott / SPG Merger
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:19:21 PM »
Gold earned through SPG won't, Gold earned through Marriott will.
Even if you have already matched a while ago?

On The Road / Re: Master Thread of Discussion on Marriott / SPG Merger
« on: April 18, 2018, 04:15:22 PM »
If you have Marriott gold status now, when in 2019 will your plat status expire? February? Worth spending $10k on the Ritz card now to get plat status for that time frame?

I thought it was confirmed that Gold does not get you platinum status?

On The Road / Re: Master Thread of Discussion on Marriott / SPG Merger
« on: April 18, 2018, 01:52:34 PM »

I think you should make clear in this post that plat status earned through spend on the Amex premier is not full plat status, as you will not be getting suite upgrades.

Would 50 nights earned through a mixture of 15 cc nights, cc spend & some stays make you eligible for platinum with suite upgrades?

One more thing I was hoping you’d address in that post was your opinion on which cards are worth applying for now, what’s worth keeping & what you should wait for.

I believe that with the 15 night credits you only need to stay 35 nights to attain plat. Could be wrong though.

Gregg @FM posted this:
 "[...] one of the features of the luxury card is Platinum status with $75K spend.  The spend on your consumer card will carry over to the luxury card.  This way you’ll get the equivalent of 3X Marriott points per dollar on that $75K spend and you’ll get Platinum status for the rest of 2018, all of 2019, and through Feb 2020 (most likely)."

Is this an assumption or something that is confirmed?

So many amazing places. Currently at the top of my bucket list is PPS, but SIN, DPS, CNX, USM, etc are all great, too.
PPS is also on my bucket list. Just did all those other places you mentioned in January and you could maybe do CNX and HKT with a friend and come back with +1 to do USM and CNX again.

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