This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Citi ThankYou Premier Card

Unicorn Island is real — and it turns out, it was originally designed specifically for adults! The Inflatable Island in Luzon, Philippines, is the largest floating playground in Asia, and it’s no joke. The size of eight basketball courts, the island is located in Subic Bay, offshore from the Samba Bluewater Resort, which features the Bali Beach lounge.

So what exactly is an inflatable island? This floating paradise is a mix of colorful activities, such as a water trampoline, a Tarzan swing, various slides, a wobbly bridge, rock climbing and a balance beam. Perhaps the most exciting of all is the human launcher, where someone jumps on an oversized, inflated pillow, thereby being catapulted straight into the water. And because all the aforementioned activities were actually made for adults, the inflatable island even has a designated kids’ play area.

(Photo courtesy of The Inflatable Island)
(Photo courtesy of the Inflatable Island)

Travelers visiting the inflatable island can always opt instead to lounge in the sunbathing section, or float around on blow-up creatures that range from unicorns to flamingos and narwhals, among others. Travelers can also hang out at Bali Beach, which is dotted with sherbet-colored pink and purple umbrellas and matching beanbag chairs overlooking the massive floating island. Be sure to check their schedule for events in advance, as sometimes Bali Beach and the Inflatable Island will host special parties, complete with beer pong and ninja wars.

Bali Beach lounge. (Photo courtesy of The Inflatable Island)
Bali Beach lounge. (Photo courtesy of The Inflatable Island)

Reservations should be made online ahead of time. This whimsical theme park offers a range of packages starting from one-hour access (so-called “Sprinkle” packages start at P499, or $10) to all-day passes (the “Soaked” package starts at P849, or $16). Note that all-day passes have first come, first serve access to the umbrellas and chairs on Bali Beach.

Getting There

Just a few hours from Manila (MNL), inflatable island enthusiasts can rent a car and drive to the site, which will take a few hours. Or, you can take a private seaplane from Manila to Subic (SFS), which takes just 15 minutes on Air Juan. One way rates start at 4000P per person, approximately $76. Much to our dismay, Air Juan is not part of any airline alliance, nor can you earn or redeem miles with your flight.

Fortunately, getting to Manila using points and miles is fairly easy. You could fly on Philippine Airlines — which is not a member of any of the three major airline alliances — from New York (JFK) with a stop in Vancouver (YVR) using 37,000 Mabuhay Miles in economy or 67,000 in business for a one-way ticket. One-way flights from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) are slightly lower at 32,000 miles for economy and 58,000 miles in business.

Updated business class seating on a Cathay Pacific A350.
Updated business class seating on a Cathay Pacific A350.

You can also opt to fly to Hong Kong (HKG) first with Cathay Pacific — especially if you’re searching for a more updated business class cabin. The airline flies between Hong Kong (HKG) and Boston (BOS), Chicago (ORD), Los Angeles (LAX), New York (JFK), Newark (EWR), San Francisco (SFO), Toronto (YYZ) and Vancouver (YVR). The airline will launch flights from Washington Dulles (IAD) in September 2018.

Cathay’s Asia Miles program is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, and you can earn points with a card like the American Express® Gold Card. You can also transfer points from Citi ThankYou Rewards with a card such as the Citi ThankYou Premier Card, or Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) with the normal 5,000-mile bonus for every 20,000 Starpoints transferred.

Using the current Asia Miles award chart, Los Angeles (LAX) to Hong Kong (HKG) starts at 70,000 miles one-way (120,000 round-trip) in business class or 40,000 miles one way (60,000 round-trip) in economy, making round-trip a significantly better deal. But note that Asia Miles is changing its chart on June 22, which will increase the cost of a business class round-trip from Los Angeles to 140,000 miles (one-way remains the same) and decrease the cost of one-way economy to 30,000 miles (round-trip remains the same).

You can also book Cathay flights with its Oneworld partners, such as American. You’ll spend 70,000 AAdvantage miles miles each way between North America and Hong Kong in business or 37,500 in economy. Remember that Cathay is also partners with Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan, and you only need 30,000 Mileage Plan miles each way in economy and 50,000 in business, which is a solid deal.

Although it may be difficult to find low-level award space, flying Singapore Airlines from New York (JFK) on the A380 is another option. Using KrisFlyer miles, you’ll need 40,000 in economy, 92,000 in business or 120,000 to fly in the opulent Singapore Suites one way (keep in mind this route still has the older suites). Or, starting October 11, 2018, you can take the world’s longest flight on Singapore Airlines from Newark (EWR) to (SIN). There’s also the option to fly on a Boeing 777-300 from Los Angeles (LAX) or San Francisco (SFO) for 38,000 KrisFlyer miles in economy, 88,000 in business class and 118,000 in first.

It’s fairly easy to get KrisFlyer miles because the airline partners with American Express Membership RewardsChase Ultimate RewardsCiti ThankYou Rewards and Starwood Preferred Guest so you have plenty of options when you need to transfer points to your KrisFlyer account. Each of these programs transfer points to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio (again, transfers of 20,000 Starpoints will also earn you a 5,000-mile bonus).

Once in Singapore or Hong Kong, you can hop over to Manila on a quick, short haul flight using a regional low-cost carrier, or either one of the aforementioned airlines.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Enjoy Uber VIP status and free rides in the U.S. up to $15 each month, plus a bonus $20 in December. That can be up to $200 in annual Uber savings.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards points on prepaid hotels booked on
  • Enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.