|Photo Courtesy Hyatt|
THE BIG ONE: Pre-Trip Report
The idea to travel to the Maldives first came to me in 2013, while visiting the Grand Hyatt in Kauai. I figured if we could utilize points and miles, I could save some significant money to do the trip. While I originally envisioned travelling there in February of 2015, my booking ended up being for April of 2016. Even with free hotels and airfare, I needed to budget a lot of funds. In the end, I booked 16 nights across 6 different hotels for our vacation.
The booking process was extensive, and everything had to come together in a short period of time. Unfortunately it was not a perfect process, and on top of the booking fees, I spent an additional $300 to change our flights once the bookings were made. As for the flights: for a grand total of $3636.80 and 350,000 United Miles I have the following:
First Class on United Airlines from San Francisco to Washington D.C
Business Class on Lufthansa from Washington D.C to Dubai (With a stop in Frankfurt)
Economy Class on Emirates from Dubai to Male
Seaplane flight to/from the Park Hyatt Maldives
Seaplane flight to/from the Conrad Maldives
Business Class on Turkish Airlines from Male to San Francisco (With a stop in Istanbul)
In a sadistic twist of irony, $1650 of the $3650 will get me 36 out of 45 hours in-flight in lie-flat business class seats, but I will be forced to shell out an additional $2000 for two round-trip <1 hour seaplane flights to and from our hotels in the Maldives.
For our hotels: For a grand total of $785.10, I will have: 1 night at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport, 2 nights at the Park Hyatt in Abu Dhabi in a suite, 3 nights at the Park Hyatt Dubai in a suite, 4 nights in a Beach Villa at the Park Hyatt in the Maldives, 5 nights in a Beach Villa at the Conrad in the Maldives, and one night at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero in San Francisco.
Of course, I plan to upgrade our rooms to Water Villa's many of the nights, which will add a hefty fee to the total cost of the trip, but I'll leave that out for now.
Thus far, we've only run into a couple of hiccups: the first being the changes we had to make for our flights, and the bigger one being United's announcement in December of 2015 that their direct-service flight from Washington Dulles to Dubai would be terminated at the end of January 2016. I quickly rebooked into the best available alternative: Business class on Lufthansa.
While the change adds a bit of travel time into the equation, it also enabled us to move the flight back a day without charge, and I'm expecting service and comfort will be better overall on Lufthansa.
Additional plans are:
Dinner at an underwater restaurant
A trip on the world's fastest roller coaster
A day trip in Istanbul
I look forward to bringing you reports from all our hotels in the coming couple of months.