What’s the one trip that everyone dreams about going all out for? I’m sure most of you guessed correctly, your honeymoon! Unfortunately, finances often get in the way and your ideal plans may have to be altered or abandoned altogether. Fortunately for you, you’re here reading about how to save huge amounts of money on travel using points and miles. Today, I’m going to share with you how I managed my first class honeymoon in the Maldives using points and miles.
Before getting into the meat of it, I want to give a disclaimer. This trip took a lot of preparation and points strategy, and almost one million points to pull off. It is replicable if you are eyeing a similar trip. This trip was absolutely spectacular, and I’d love to help you use our tools here at Travel Freely to accomplish the same amazing first class honeymoon that I enjoyed.
First Class Honeymoon Flights on Etihad Airways
Now I know what you’re thinking. Who cares about the flights?! The Maldives are all about the pictures! But for my honeymoon, I really wanted to make it something special. I didn’t want to just enjoy the Maldives, I wanted to enjoy the entire trip. Traveling to the Maldives from the United States, you can expect about a day and a half in the air. I’m 6’5”, so over 24 hours of flying in coach may have made me too intolerable for my new wife. We weren’t trying to break-up on our honeymoon!
To help make the travel not just tolerable, but enjoyable, I traveled in First Class. If you’ve never flown long-haul international first class, it is probably significantly different than what you’re thinking. First Class seats on some of the world’s premier airlines aren’t the same as what you see on domestic flights, or short international flights. No, they look like this:
What also isn’t pictured is the in-flight shower, the personal chef, or the lounge. Flying like this was really a spectacular treat, and we got to experience it for two flights! One was over 15 hours long.
Flying the Etihad Apartments to the Maldives required 115,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles per person. Using lucrative sign on bonuses, I was able to get enough points between my wife and myself to be able to fly this amazing first class product.
Using Travel Freely really helped, because it helped me balance our application timing, and when we could get certain sign on bonuses a second time.
How much would this have cost out of pocket? These flights routinely cost about $15-20,000 round-trip. We paid about $150 per person in taxes and fees. Quite a steal for an amazing first class honeymoon flight!
The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa – Our Destination
The flights were great, but most people would be just as happy flying coach to get to experience the Maldives, even if not on a first class honeymoon like ours. But if you are wanting that dreamy first class honeymoon experience, you can even find hotels to stay at in the Maldives.
We stayed at the Park Hyatt Maldives, Hadahaa. I was ready to go back even before the trip is over! This is an absolutely stunning resort, and was the perfect setting for our first class honeymoon.
This beautiful resort is pretty remote. Even after getting to the Male, the capital of the Maldives, you still have to take a 1-1.5 hour plane ride to a nearby island. Following this plane ride, you take a 30 minute speedboat transfer to the resort.
The magic of this place hits you on that boat. Our transfer was at night, and even after all the first class travel we were tired from jet-lag and long flights. But the magic of the pristine stars overhead, the fresh smell of the Indian Ocean, and the wind as the speedboat drives along is absolutely invigorating. I could not imagine a better first impression for such a spectacular trip.
One great thing about the Park Hyatt is that each room is its own private villa. At over 1,500 squre feet this place was bigger than my apartment!
Staying at the Park Hyatt can normally cost up to $1,000 per night, but thanks to points and miles we didn’t pay a dime for these standard rooms. An award night only costs 25,000 points per night in the World of Hyatt program. That’s a steal!
We earned the points by using Chase Ultimate Rewards, which are a flexible currency. You can transfer 1 Ultimate Reward to 1 Hyatt point. We had enough Ultimate Rewards for 10 nights – that’s a value of up to $10,000.
When many people think of the Maldives they imagine staying in the over-water bungalows. Of course, we couldn’t miss out on it, so we paid to upgrade to one for two nights. It comes at a hefty cost of about $500 per night, but we wanted to experience it.
If you don’t want to spend that kind of money to upgrade, don’t worry. My wife and I both preferred the standard rooms on the beach anyway. They were shaded, which kept them cooler, and more accessible since we could just walk from them when we wanted. The sun shining on the path to the bungalows really heats it up, so you’ll want to wait for a golf cart to come pick you up.
We had a great time in the Maldives. We did a ton of diving (if you’re a diver, I cannot recommend the Park Hyatt Dive Shop enough, they were fabulous! I’m happy to share more details, just email me and we can chat), ate lots of good food, and had an overall phenomenal time. We can’t wait for the chance to go back.
Planning our first class honeymoon was easy with tools like Travel Freely. We would not have been able to stay organized enough to pull this off. But when you get over $40,000 in value from your points, it is easy to see why it is worth it. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime trip that we would never have been able to do without points and miles, and Travel Freely made it possible.
So what are you waiting for? Sign up for Travel Freely to start working on your trip. If you’re new, we will teach you everything you need to know about points and miles so you can start working on a trip like this. As always, you can always email me with any questions you have or leave a comment below for any help you need planning a similar trip.