Planning a Honeymoon Using Points and Miles!


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I posted on this trip back in January and it was my fourth blog post ever. At that time I had about 7 page views (6 of them probably being my mom)! I wanted to go back to this trip and re-post in greater detail. I absolutely LOVED Southeast Asia and want to share this amazing trip with you all. Overall, this was a 16 day vacation back in June of 2010 that included Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Siem Reap, Cambodia; and Bali, Indonesia.

Southeast Asia Trip Reports:

  1. Planning a Southeast Asia Honeymoon
  2. Park Hyatt Saigon Vietnam Hotel Review
  3. Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon Activities
  4. Le Méridien Angkor Hotel Review
  5. Angkor Wat / Siem Reap Activities
  6. Grand Hyatt Bali Hotel Review
  7. Bali Beach Town Activities
  8. Ubud (Bali) Hotels and Activities

While planning my wedding I was much more into the honeymoon piece. I waited to the week of the wedding to plan a rehearsal dinner,  put the wedding programs together, and get wedding bands from the jeweler. I was not stressed, did not care, it would all get done, right? I started planning the honeymoon before my husband even proposed! At that time I was traveling for 4 years every Monday thru Thursday and working hard to maximize my miles and points. I’d wake up every Monday at 4am, carry my suitcase down 5 flights of stairs from my walk-up apartment, grab a taxi in the dark, and head off to the airport. I became friends with people on my flight, knew the airport gate agents, and most importantly befriended the bar tenders at the same tiny airport I flew out of every Thursday evening. Most of my friends thought I had the worst job in the world. I on the other hand thought to myself: “I am going to go on a kick-ass honeymoon!”

So while my mom was asking my colors for the flowers, I was more concerned on maximizing my points and miles for my Thailand honeymoon. We knew it was going to be the start of the rainy season in June, but that did not bother us. We wanted luxury and adventure and thought Thailand was the perfect place for that. We did not want a location where you just go for the scenery and hardly leave the 5* hotel. We thought the southern beaches in Thailand mixed with great activity in Bangkok and Chiang Mai would provide the perfect mix. Everything was planned and we could not wait.

About 6 weeks prior to the honeymoon, Bangkok set a curfew in the city. The civil unrest had gotten worse and flights were getting cancelled left and right. While we were not concerned about being in Bangkok or any other part of Thailand for that matter, we were concerned about our flights getting cancelled and not seeing the various cities. All of this planning and we were cancelling our trip! Back to the drawing board. I called American Airlines as I had booked our tickets with their miles. Six weeks to go on a miles ticket to Asia in the Summer vacation months – good luck! We still wanted Asia and our mix of luxury and adventure. After MANY phone calls, the representative found us a flight into Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (old Saigon) and out of Bali, Indonesia.

At that time Hyatt was also having their Faster Free Nights promotion. This promotion meant that with every 2 Hyatt stays, you would earn 1 free night to be redeemed at any Hyatt hotel during a certain time period. At the time I was staying at a Hyatt hotel every week Monday thru Thursday, thus earning 3 free nights every 2 weeks (obviously I was hotel hoping to maximize my 1 night stays). Since we were back to square 1 with the honeymoon, the points obsession side of me needed to ensure that we utilized our Hyatt free nights. As you may or may not be aware, Hyatt does not have a huge presence internationally and especially in Asia. When the AA representative suggested Ho Chi Minh City, I put her on hold, saw that there was a Park Hyatt hotel in the city and was sold! We did not know anything about Ho Chi Minh City, had done zero research, but figured we’d give it a try. A free Hyatt stay and the only flight option, I was content! Ultimately, we pretty much picked our honeymoon location based on Hyatt hotels and flight availability from an AA representative!

Over the next few weeks I will share the details of this trip with many blog posts! Enjoy!

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AndyTLe
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AndyTLe

FYI: It is Ho Chi Minh City but many still consider it to be Saigon.

dealswelike
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dealswelike

Yup, that is correct. It is old Saigon, but technically Ho Chi Minh City.

Adam
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Adam

‘Most of my friends thought I had the worst job in the world. I on the other hand thought to myself: “I am going to go on a kick-ass honeymoon!”’ – That’s hysterical!

Benny
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Look forward to reading the report!

Yoav
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Yoav

I am still saving for my honeymoon too. Problem is that I keep using it on vacations. I figure I have at least another year to save and with travel every week hopefully it will work itself out. I am jealous of my coworker with 4 million Marriott points. That would make for a killer honeymoon

dealswelike
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dealswelike

@Yoav – Where are you planning on going on your honeymoon? If you have a destination and hotels in mind then you can definitely focus and maximize on your points earning this year.

Yoav
Guest
Yoav

Have to get engaged first 🙂 but never too early to start saving

dealswelike
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dealswelike

@Yoav – I love it!

AAdvantage Geek
Guest

Glad to see you didn’t let a wedding distract you from the importance of maximizing your AAdvantage Miles! Can’t wait to read your trip reports:)

dealswelike
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dealswelike

@AAdvantage Geek – I kept my priorities straight 🙂

missesanders
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missesanders

you are totally correct! I don’t think I would be into wedding details as much as how am I going to score a free honeymoon trip with points?! haha =)

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Bruce
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Bruce

hi,

did you need to apply for a tourist visa to visit Vietnam?

I was under the impression that you needed to get one in DC if you are a us citizen.

tks

dealswelike
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dealswelike

@Bruce – You MUST get a visa for Vietnam prior to going. You are not able to obtain one upon landing in the country. You can learn more about the application process here: http://www.vietnamembassy-usa.org/services/visa-application-process

It cost about $70 per visa (which is pretty steep). You can do it online and do not have to go to DC to get one. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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Bruce
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Bruce

great thanks for the link. One additional question, did you do the loose leaf visa request? I am hesitant about mailing in my original passport. Thanks again

dealswelike
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dealswelike

@Bruce – I did send it my original passport. Happy to help with any questions!

Honeymoon to Asia
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Looking for that perfect romantic honeymoon places in Asia? Check out these fantastic romantic and honeymoom packages and see how Asia and Romance come to a perfect harmony.

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[…] ended up changing our honeymoon location and never made it to Thailand (you can read more about it here). Now, we are finally going on our original honeymoon […]

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