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TPG reader Esteban sent me a message on Facebook looking for honeymoon ideas:
“We’re getting married soon and deciding where we should go on our honeymoon. What’s a good tropical destination that would allow us to experience a full three-cabin first class?”
There are plenty of deserted beach locales you could choose from, but one stands out clearly in my mind: the Maldives. It’s a pretty long haul, and costs can add up quickly even if you’re using rewards to cover your flights and hotels, but it’s worth every point and penny you’ll use to get there. If you’re gonna go big, your honeymoon is as good a time as any.
It’s a truly magical place, made even more so by features like the undersea restaurant and the awesome scuba diving. The effort you put into getting there makes it feel even more rewarding. I enjoyed my stay at the Conrad Maldives in 2013, but there are other options. The Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa recently became a Category 6 property (down from Category 7), so awards are only 25,000 points per night, or 12,500 plus $150 if you use the Points + Cash rate. Starwood and IHG have properties there as well.
You have a few good flight options. Depending on where you depart from, my first suggestion would be the Etihad A380 apartment once service launches between New York and Abu Dhabi in November. If you can find availability, you’ll get about 14 hours in an amazing first class suite for 90,000 AAdvantage miles each way, along with a standard regional business-class seat on your connections to Malé.
Another strong option is Emirates First Class, which you can book for 90,000 Alaska miles each way. The experience isn’t quite as over the top as on Etihad, but you’ll get the full first-class experience both on the A380 to Dubai and on the Boeing 777 to the Maldives. I also like Cathay Pacific’s first class product, but (for better or worse) it’s a much longer trip, since you’ll fly west and connect in Hong Kong. You’ll also end up redeeming a ton of AAdvantage miles since AA prices these flights separately — 67,500 miles in first class to Hong Kong and then 30,000 miles to the Maldives in business class (Cathay doesn’t offer first-class service to the Maldives), in each direction. If you’re coming from the East Coast, it can take well over 30 hours, and that doesn’t include the connection from Malé to your final destination.
Bora Bora is another popular honeymoon spot, but while you’ll have several options for award flights, you won’t get the same full first-class experience. There are plenty of destinations in Southeast Asia that you can reach via Singapore (on Singapore Airlines A380 suites), in addition to Malé. Feel free to add your favorite beach getaways in the comments below!
If you have any other questions, please tweet me @thepointsguy, message me on Facebook or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.
Even after the introduction of the Chase Sapphire Reserve, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is still a fantastic choice if you want to avoid the Reserve’s $450 annual fee, earn 2x on all travel & dining and earn a 50,000 point sign up bonus.