Topic Wiki

Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
The Planning - Part 1
LA for a Day - Part 2
Bora Bora arrival / Day 1 - Part 3
« Last edited by CZ60 on December 31, 2017, 04:24:10 PM »

Author Topic: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE  (Read 5956 times)

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« on: July 04, 2017, 11:57:26 AM »
The planning:

DW and I basically planned on going to Bora Bora from the moment we were engaged, about two years ago. We originally had it planned for Jan 2016 and I can’t remember if we had Thalasso booked for then (I think we did). When the $400 +30,000 BA business class deal to London went on sale, we decided we wanted to go to Europe/Israel for our honeymoon instead and we did just that over Pesach 2016. So we rebooked Bora Bora for Jan 2017, this time in Le Moana as Thalasso had no availability anymore.

The more research we did, the more we realized that we did not want to go during rainy season. If we were going, we were going to do it right. And on top of that, the St. Regis Maldives had their thing going on. So we booked that for January and decided to once again, push off our Bora trip. I found 4 consecutive nights in Le Moana and decided that as the date got closer, if we wanted another night or two, we’d figure something else out (the calendar had scattered nights). Luck has it that I was browsing one day later and found Le Moana’s calendar WIDE OPEN. So I booked another 2 nights. We had two separate reservations – June 23-27 and June 27-29. After going back and forth, we decided to shave that down by 1 night and stay in the IC Tahiti for 1 night so that we wouldn’t be in PPT airport for 4 hours (and thank G-d we did that as you’ll see later).

This is where things got interesting. I couldn’t shave 1 night off online, because that would require cancelling and rebooking and from what I’ve read, there’s no guarantee that the nights would go back into reward inventory and at that point, the reward calendar was 0 for it's next 300. So I called IHG…

The first agent on the phone had the same qualms as me and decided to transfer me to a manager. The manager confidently said that he’s going to cancel the 2 nights and in 5 minutes, I’ll receive another email showing a new reservation for one night. Before I could ask him to wait on the phone with me while he processed it, he hung up. So I waited 5 minutes. And then another 5. And another 5. And another 30. (Mind you, I had already spent nearly 2 hours on the phone with the first few people!). And then I called back. Getting all the way to a case manager (Steve) who sounded American (finally!). After explaining the situation to him, he said that they will do a review and if what I said happened is true (phone records blah blah), then they will book a revenue stay, they will pay for it, and manually deduct the points out of my account. He was to get back to me in 5 days.

True to his word, he called me back in 5 days, but only to tell me that he didn’t have an answer yet and that he’d call me back in 2. This time, he didn’t call me back so I called on the 3rd day and got a different case manager who said she was going to review it right then and call me back in twenty minutes. I left her saying that I’ve been taken around the block on this and wasn’t too happy, the usual frustrated customer thing (I really was frustrated). She said not to worry and that she’ll have an answer that I’ll be satisfied with. She called back but I was in a meeting (I have a day job!) so I didn’t answer. She left me a voicemail saying IHG was going to pay for that 5th night, and NOT deduct the points from my account!

Was it worth the hassle? Maybe. I got a free $300 (valuing 60k points at .5) or a free $800 (revenue for the last night) depending on how you look at it, for 3 hours on the phone.

We wanted overwater for some of our stay so I emailed the hotel about that (and about the food sitch) and he was happy to offer me a few upgrade options:

- An Overwater Lagon Bungalow at the rate of 18 951 CFP per nigth taxes included.

- An Overwater Horizon Bungalow at the rate of 26 896 CFP per night taxes included.

- An Overwater End of Ponton at the rate of 30 928 CFP per night taxes included.

The rate is basically 100 to 1, just to make things simple.

We chose option 2 for the last two nights of our stay. The lagoon bungalows are barely in the water, and who cares for the end of pontoon?

We only did 2 nights and not all 5 because we wanted to try the beach bungalows, plus we wanted to run up a tab on other things not room related, plus we were coming fresh off of 5 nights in overwater in Maldives and had already experienced the thrill. Ruining the surprise, we both agreed after the trip that we actually enjoyed the beach bungalow more than the overwater, though for those that never experienced overwater before, that might not hold true.

We booked the 6th night in IC Tahiti and now had to decide flights.

I simultaneously had (2 years in the making) but also didn’t have (wanted to get below 5/24) enough time to get 320k AA miles to do RT in ATN J. Plus dw and I don’t care so much for business (although after our return flight, we made a bli neder vow to not go more than 6 hours on a plane in Y ever again). We booked Y on AF OW , 30k Flying Blue + $187 pp, and I had exactly 84K AA miles, good enough for 2 OW in Y. Boy do I wish I had signed up for a few more cards to get 160K (I have since got over my obsession of going under 5/24 once I got the reserve and have now come to the realization that I will probably never open a chase card for as long as that rule exists). But that’s for later.

Checking AF’s calendar, I couldn’t find one day where they had “classic” business availability, only flex, which prices out at 187k OW. I like business class but not to the tune of burning basically every last point I have and then some. ATN on the other hand was pretty wide open with business class on all of their flights around the time I was going/coming, I just didn’t have the miles to do it. You can all do your research on the planes and whatnot but ATN is not lie flat and didn’t look to be all that great. Obv, it’s better than Y.

So we were all set. Flying AF’s red-eye, June 22-23 landing at 5:20 AM. Air Tahiti (for the 100th time - not affiliated with ATN) at 7AM, landing in BOB at 7:45.

Return flight – Leaving BOB at 7:15PM on June 28th, landing in PPT at 8PM, staying in IC Tahiti one night, leaving PPT 11:45PM, landing in LAX 10:55AM on Fri June 30th.

We had to get to LAX. As far as I know, I couldn’t attach a domestic leg to my AF flight (If I could, please embarrass me and let me know). And since I was returning on Fri to LAX, I couldn’t attach a domestic leg to NY to make in time for Shabbat. Not that AA would have had any saver availability anyway. So we needed a RT to LA, and I was hell bent on taking a red eye July 2-3. Getting there, we could have went either June 21 or 22, depending on what was cheapest. I had a free IHG night that we could have used in LA if we went on June 21 (I only like to use this for 60k point/night properties) .

(AF doesn’t fly PPT to LAX on Thurs night/Fri morning so I couldn’t switch this around with the hopes of attaching the NY to LAX leg for free on the front of the trip. Again the likelihood of AA having SAAver was so low that it doesn’t really matter).

I recently signed up for the Alaska card using the upgraded offer of 30k + free companion + $100 statement credit after $1k spend. I got the companion pass after the statement closed in early June and immediately went to finding flights. None of the carriers had direct J availability and I hate stopovers, especially when carrying frozen food. Typical United to release Y saver within 3 weeks but the two flights they did release for were not good times for us. We concluded we were going to pay and at least earn miles on that flight. The prices were ridiculous ($500+ RT) on all airlines but thanks to the companion pass, we got BOGO. So we were to fly June 21 on virgin, landed in LAX at around 8PM. And returned with 10:10PM to EWR, landing at 6:30AM.

The last bit of hotel planning was where we would stay in LA over the weekend. We wanted to get in on the freedom 10% in March if we were going to pay for hotels. We ran out of SPG points in MLE and there are no Hyatt’s in LA so it was either IC Century City again or paying.

I told DW she can spend whatever it would cost for us to stay in IC Century City plus a little bit (buying points – I don’t buy free nights…) So she chose The London in Beverly Hills (magnificent as you will see).

We thought we got on the 10% Chase Freedom last minute but after fighting with Chase, they wouldn’t give us the 10% (story for another time/thread). So we cancelled what we had with them and booked through priceline (and the price turned out to be $150/night cheaper so screw Chase and their 10% lol).

To recap:
06/21 - JFK  LAX 5PM to 8PM
Stay in IC Century City

06/23 – LAX  PPT 12AM – 5AM
06/23 – PPT  BOB 7AM – 7:45AM
Stay in IC Le Moana

06/28 – BOB  PPT 7:15PM – 8PM
Stay in IC Tahiti

06/29-30 – PPT  LAX 11:45PM – 11AM
Stay in The London Beverly Hills

07/02-03 – LAX EWR 10PM – 6:30AM
Sleep in my bed without setting an alarm

To be continued…

Offline nobiggy

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Dec 2012
  • Posts: 2249
  • Total likes: 7
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 7
    • View Profile
  • Location: forums
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #1 on: July 04, 2017, 12:07:26 PM »
Nice stuff!

Online avadah

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Platinum Elite
  • *******
  • Join Date: Sep 2012
  • Posts: 1883
  • Total likes: 5
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
  • Location: Jerusalem
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #2 on: July 04, 2017, 06:21:06 PM »
I just finished your St. Regis Maldives TR and headed straight over here.
Keep up the great TR's!

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2017, 02:31:32 AM »
Thanks! Part 2 coming shortly :)

Offline Hjay

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2016
  • Posts: 606
  • Total likes: 15
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2017, 07:55:04 AM »
Awesome keep it comin!!! Out of curiosity why wouldn't you buy a free night?

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2017, 10:56:59 AM »
Awesome keep it comin!!! Out of curiosity why wouldn't you buy a free night?
I'd rather not make this thread about that :) But it's probably the same reason as other people who wouldn't buy

Offline Hjay

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2016
  • Posts: 606
  • Total likes: 15
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2017, 12:09:35 PM »
"I told DW she can spend whatever it would cost for us to stay in IC Century City plus a little bit (buying points – I don’t buy free nights…) So she chose The London in Beverly Hills (magnificent as you will see)."

Not looking to hijack ur tr just wondering the diff between buying point & nights. Sounds like your ok with points but not nights.

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2017, 12:53:40 PM »
"I told DW she can spend whatever it would cost for us to stay in IC Century City plus a little bit (buying points – I don’t buy free nights…) So she chose The London in Beverly Hills (magnificent as you will see)."

Not looking to hijack ur tr just wondering the diff between buying point & nights. Sounds like your ok with points but not nights.
I buy points from IHG directly, not from people. Cash + points then cancel the night and get the points. Or when they have their buy with 100% bonus, it ends up being close to the same thing with less hassle. But I would only buy IHG points if there is an immediate use for them. Buying nights requires buying from other people, not IHG.

Offline Hjay

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Silver Elite
  • *****
  • Join Date: Jan 2016
  • Posts: 606
  • Total likes: 15
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 0
    • View Profile
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #8 on: July 05, 2017, 02:11:00 PM »
  Can you please get this thread back on topic!!  ;)

Offline davidmal

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Dec 2013
  • Posts: 7188
  • Total likes: 492
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 194
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #9 on: July 05, 2017, 02:40:02 PM »
The planning:

DW and I basically planned on going to Bora Bora from the moment we were engaged, about two years ago. We originally had it planned for Jan 2016 and I can’t remember if we had Thalasso booked for then (I think we did). When the $400 +30,000 BA business class deal to London went on sale, we decided we wanted to go to Europe/Israel for our honeymoon instead and we did just that over Pesach 2016. So we rebooked Bora Bora for Jan 2017, this time in Le Moana as Thalasso had no availability anymore.

The more research we did, the more we realized that we did not want to go during rainy season. If we were going, we were going to do it right. And on top of that, the St. Regis Maldives had their thing going on. So we booked that for January and decided to once again, push off our Bora trip. I found 4 consecutive nights in Le Moana and decided that as the date got closer, if we wanted another night or two, we’d figure something else out (the calendar had scattered nights). Luck has it that I was browsing one day later and found Le Moana’s calendar WIDE OPEN. So I booked another 2 nights. We had two separate reservations – June 23-27 and June 27-29. After going back and forth, we decided to shave that down by 1 night and stay in the IC Tahiti for 1 night so that we wouldn’t be in PPT airport for 4 hours (and thank G-d we did that as you’ll see later).

This is where things got interesting. I couldn’t shave 1 night off online, because that would require cancelling and rebooking and from what I’ve read, there’s no guarantee that the nights would go back into reward inventory and at that point, the reward calendar was 0 for it's next 300. So I called IHG…

The first agent on the phone had the same qualms as me and decided to transfer me to a manager. The manager confidently said that he’s going to cancel the 2 nights and in 5 minutes, I’ll receive another email showing a new reservation for one night. Before I could ask him to wait on the phone with me while he processed it, he hung up. So I waited 5 minutes. And then another 5. And another 5. And another 30. (Mind you, I had already spent nearly 2 hours on the phone with the first few people!). And then I called back. Getting all the way to a case manager (Steve) who sounded American (finally!). After explaining the situation to him, he said that they will do a review and if what I said happened is true (phone records blah blah), then they will book a revenue stay, they will pay for it, and manually deduct the points out of my account. He was to get back to me in 5 days.

True to his word, he called me back in 5 days, but only to tell me that he didn’t have an answer yet and that he’d call me back in 2. This time, he didn’t call me back so I called on the 3rd day and got a different case manager who said she was going to review it right then and call me back in twenty minutes. I left her saying that I’ve been taken around the block on this and wasn’t too happy, the usual frustrated customer thing (I really was frustrated). She said not to worry and that she’ll have an answer that I’ll be satisfied with. She called back but I was in a meeting (I have a day job!) so I didn’t answer. She left me a voicemail saying IHG was going to pay for that 5th night, and NOT deduct the points from my account!

Was it worth the hassle? Maybe. I got a free $300 (valuing 60k points at .5) or a free $800 (revenue for the last night) depending on how you look at it, for 3 hours on the phone.

We wanted overwater for some of our stay so I emailed the hotel about that (and about the food sitch) and he was happy to offer me a few upgrade options:

- An Overwater Lagon Bungalow at the rate of 18 951 CFP per nigth taxes included.

- An Overwater Horizon Bungalow at the rate of 26 896 CFP per night taxes included.

- An Overwater End of Ponton at the rate of 30 928 CFP per night taxes included.

The rate is basically 100 to 1, just to make things simple.

We chose option 2 for the last two nights of our stay. The lagoon bungalows are barely in the water, and who cares for the end of pontoon?

We only did 2 nights and not all 5 because we wanted to try the beach bungalows, plus we wanted to run up a tab on other things not room related, plus we were coming fresh off of 5 nights in overwater in Maldives and had already experienced the thrill. Ruining the surprise, we both agreed after the trip that we actually enjoyed the beach bungalow more than the overwater, though for those that never experienced overwater before, that might not hold true.

We booked the 6th night in IC Tahiti and now had to decide flights.

I simultaneously had (2 years in the making) but also didn’t have (wanted to get below 5/24) enough time to get 320k AA miles to do RT in ATN J. Plus dw and I don’t care so much for business (although after our return flight, we made a bli neder vow to not go more than 6 hours on a plane in Y ever again). We booked Y on AF OW , 30k Flying Blue + $187 pp, and I had exactly 84K AA miles, good enough for 2 OW in Y. Boy do I wish I had signed up for a few more cards to get 160K (I have since got over my obsession of going under 5/24 once I got the reserve and have now come to the realization that I will probably never open a chase card for as long as that rule exists). But that’s for later.

Checking AF’s calendar, I couldn’t find one day where they had “classic” business availability, only flex, which prices out at 187k OW. I like business class but not to the tune of burning basically every last point I have and then some. ATN on the other hand was pretty wide open with business class on all of their flights around the time I was going/coming, I just didn’t have the miles to do it. You can all do your research on the planes and whatnot but ATN is not lie flat and didn’t look to be all that great. Obv, it’s better than Y.

So we were all set. Flying AF’s red-eye, June 22-23 landing at 5:20 AM. Air Tahiti (for the 100th time - not affiliated with ATN) at 7AM, landing in BOB at 7:45.

Return flight – Leaving BOB at 7:15PM on June 28th, landing in PPT at 8PM, staying in IC Tahiti one night, leaving PPT 11:45PM, landing in LAX 10:55AM on Fri June 30th.

We had to get to LAX. As far as I know, I couldn’t attach a domestic leg to my AF flight (If I could, please embarrass me and let me know). And since I was returning on Fri to LAX, I couldn’t attach a domestic leg to NY to make in time for Shabbat. Not that AA would have had any saver availability anyway. So we needed a RT to LA, and I was hell bent on taking a red eye July 2-3. Getting there, we could have went either June 21 or 22, depending on what was cheapest. I had a free IHG night that we could have used in LA if we went on June 21 (I only like to use this for 60k point/night properties) .

(AF doesn’t fly PPT to LAX on Thurs night/Fri morning so I couldn’t switch this around with the hopes of attaching the NY to LAX leg for free on the front of the trip. Again the likelihood of AA having SAAver was so low that it doesn’t really matter).

I recently signed up for the Alaska card using the upgraded offer of 30k + free companion + $100 statement credit after $1k spend. I got the companion pass after the statement closed in early June and immediately went to finding flights. None of the carriers had direct J availability and I hate stopovers, especially when carrying frozen food. Typical United to release Y saver within 3 weeks but the two flights they did release for were not good times for us. We concluded we were going to pay and at least earn miles on that flight. The prices were ridiculous ($500+ RT) on all airlines but thanks to the companion pass, we got BOGO. So we were to fly June 21 on virgin, landed in LAX at around 8PM. And returned with 10:10PM to EWR, landing at 6:30AM.

The last bit of hotel planning was where we would stay in LA over the weekend. We wanted to get in on the freedom 10% in March if we were going to pay for hotels. We ran out of SPG points in MLE and there are no Hyatt’s in LA so it was either IC Century City again or paying.

I told DW she can spend whatever it would cost for us to stay in IC Century City plus a little bit (buying points – I don’t buy free nights…) So she chose The London in Beverly Hills (magnificent as you will see).

We thought we got on the 10% Chase Freedom last minute but after fighting with Chase, they wouldn’t give us the 10% (story for another time/thread). So we cancelled what we had with them and booked through priceline (and the price turned out to be $150/night cheaper so screw Chase and their 10% lol).

To recap:
06/21 - JFK  LAX 5PM to 8PM
Stay in IC Century City

06/23 – LAX  PPT 12AM – 5AM
06/23 – PPT  BOB 7AM – 7:45AM
Stay in IC Le Moana

06/28 – BOB  PPT 7:15PM – 8PM
Stay in IC Tahiti

06/29-30 – PPT  LAX 11:45PM – 11AM
Stay in The London Beverly Hills

07/02-03 – LAX EWR 10PM – 6:30AM
Sleep in my bed without setting an alarm

To be continued…

Do you want a wiki? lol
-DMC
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it ~Ferris Bueller"

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #10 on: July 05, 2017, 02:55:25 PM »
Do you want a wiki? lol
If it's free then of course :)

Offline davidmal

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Dec 2013
  • Posts: 7188
  • Total likes: 492
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 194
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #11 on: July 05, 2017, 02:56:43 PM »
If it's free then of course :)
for some members.
-DMC
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it ~Ferris Bueller"

Offline CZ60

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite
  • ****
  • Join Date: Jul 2014
  • Posts: 421
  • Total likes: 33
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 1
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #12 on: July 05, 2017, 03:00:05 PM »
for some members.
I called retention, they waived the fee for this TR,  I told them it'll be better than my last one..

Offline davidmal

  • Dansdeals Lifetime Presidential Platinum Elite
  • *********
  • Join Date: Dec 2013
  • Posts: 7188
  • Total likes: 492
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 194
  • Gender: Male
    • View Profile
  • Location: New York
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #13 on: July 05, 2017, 03:01:02 PM »
I called retention, they waived the fee for this TR,  I told them it'll be better than my last one..
That's bold of you... but looking forward!
-DMC
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it ~Ferris Bueller"

Offline yoohoo

  • Dansdeals Platinum Elite + Lifetime Gold Elite
  • ******
  • Join Date: Feb 2015
  • Posts: 934
  • Total likes: 75
  • DansDeals.com Hat Tips 3
    • View Profile
  • Location: United States
Re: Bora Bora - Our trip and why (we believe) BOB>MLE
« Reply #14 on: July 11, 2017, 06:59:19 PM »
How did you remember every last detail. Great stuff!