Let me preface this by saying this isn’t a normal points/miles/credit card rewards post at PointsCentric. So if you do not care for a personal anecdote, you can skip the rest of this post…
Today is quite a special day for my wife and I as we are celebrating our 3rd wedding anniversary and this time of year always brings back amazing memories of our wedding night 3 years ago. In fact, it reminds us of our journey together as we’ve actually been together much longer – in fact almost 4x as long (since my junior year of high school in fact). And every year around this time, we go on an extraordinary trip to celebrate, always seemingly topping the last amazing “once in a lifetime” trip. It started with our honeymoon to Moorea & Bora Bora in 2013, continued with a surprise trip in 2014 that my wife only found out our destination when we got our boarding passes at the airport and culminated with a Dubai/Maldives mega-trip last year. Of course, trips like these wouldn’t be possible without points & miles and I’ve included a quick synopsis on how we made each trip possible (I have to have some points angle in my posts).
1) 2013 Honeymoon – Moorea & Bora Bora
We used 62,500 American Airlines miles per person to fly business class JFK-LA-Tahiti and back on a combination of American Airlines / Air Tahiti Nui followed by a ferry to Moorea and a short flight to Bora Bora. For hotels, back in the day you could redeem 145,000 Hilton HHonors points for a 4 night stay at top-tier hotels using AXON awards. I redeemed 290,000 Hilton HHonors points total for 4 nights at the Hilton Moorea followed by 4 nights at the Hilton Bora Bora.
2) 2014 First Anniversary – Bali & Thailand
We used 140,000 United miles to fly first class JFK-Seoul-Bali-Phuket-Seoul-JFK on a combination of Asiana / Thai Airways and my wife had no idea about the destinations or airlines involved. At the time it was only a 10k premium for first class over business each way so it was a no-brainer for a chance to fly Asiana first class suites and on the way home, we had the whole first class cabin to ourselves! For hotels, we were able to get great cash rates at the Conrad Bali and Le Meridien Phuket so it didn’t make sense to redeem points.
3) 2015 Second Anniversary – Dubai & Maldives
Quite possibly our most memorable trip, I redeemed 90,000 Alaska miles per person to fly first class JFK-Dubai-Maldives on Emirates. For the return, I redeemed 90,000 American miles per person to fly first class Maldives-Abu Dhabi-JFK on Etihad. For the hotels, I used two free Hyatt anniversary nights at the Grand Hyatt Dubai and 150,000 Hyatt points for a 6 night stay at the Park Hyatt Maldives.
Over a three year stretch, we got to experience several of the most exotic and beautiful locations on Earth that I promise would have never happened without points and miles. However as amazing as those trips were, our lives changed drastically earlier this year to the point where we knew jumping off to some exotic locale for a week wouldn’t be feasible for a while…
Our family now feels more complete with the addition of our little Krista and we wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact, do you want to know our big “trip” this year to celebrate our anniversary? A nice 7 minute drive to a local steakhouse where we can enjoy probably our nicest meal in months before returning home and reliving the grandparents of babysitting duties.
I’m sure there will be times we wish we could jump on a plane and vacation for a week at some crazy locale (in fact, that may have happened earlier this week when I saw my buddy fly Emirates first class to Dubai and the Maldives) but my trip planning will now focus on family friendly destinations and resorts (paid with points of course). Suffice to say, this anniversary trip will be just a bit different than year’s past but coming home to this smiling face makes this “trip” seem the best of them all. And compared to the journey we are currently on watching Krista grow and develop daily before our eyes, I’m not sure anything could top this adventure.