Help with booking Honeymoon to St John

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by ars2210, Feb 8, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    Hello everyone,

    My first post and I'm very new at this, so be gentle. I am trying to get everything alligned for my honeymoon sometime in the early December 2012 timeframe. We plan to go to St. John by way of STT and looking to stay 5 nights. We don't plan to use points for accomodations while there, only airfare to get to the islands. Being our honeymoon, I'd like to fly Business class if at all possible, but if we have to do without it it's not a huge deal.

    I've some points saved up in several different areas and will list them for the convenience of anyone willing to help. I also travel a small amount for work so will have the opportunity to rack up several more air and hotel points although they will probably be spread throughout the various reward programs due to locations and availability (unknown airlines, with hotels mostly Hiltons and Marriotts).

    Airlines:
    AA - 5,421 CO - 2,436 Delta - 32,983 United - 500 US - 9,191 Virgin America - a few hundred that haven't shown up yet

    Hotels:
    HH - 15,750 Priority Club - 1,050 MR - 13,819 SPG - 1,272

    The two of us have no reward credit cards at this time, but are planning to get some within the next few days depending on what info I can get here. My questions begin with which cards I should consider that will allow me the best use of current points manipulation and spending bonuses on these cards to get me where I am going (ie. converting hotel or other airline points over to allow for award for this flight)? I was thinking the Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold cards to start with...

    Here is where I have no experience, as its my first time trying to get award tickets...can someone provide a strategy of how to move these points around and which airlines I should be looking at trying to find rewards on? If possible suggest rewards flights if you find some that will be useful. I am not wanting to be lazy. I just know that I need to acquire points and book flights as soon as possible in order to find the best point useage and am not sure where to start.

    Edit: Sorry forgot to include my local airport. I'm based out of Huntsville, AL (HSV), but the closest major airport is ATL.

    Thank you very much for anyone that can provide a helping hand.
     
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  2. Sky King
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    Sky King Silver Member

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    What is your departing city? Where do you live? That is going to determine which carrier you use.
     
  3. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    Closest major is ATL, I'm local in Huntsville, AL (HSV).
     
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  4. MDDCFlyer

    MDDCFlyer Silver Member

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    Your best bet would probably be star alliance miles. As US and UA have flights to 3 major hubs each (as opposed to Delta which would be the natural choice only 2), the chances that a flight on miles could be obtained increases.

    As you have very little miles in most programs I would consider one of the following strategies:
    1. Sapphire Preferred card for both of you - should get you combined 100K miles that would be almost enough for redemption through UA (need 60Kx2 for business). With some spending and bonus it is doable.
    It also leaves the option of moving miles to BA program that allow you to redeem on AA. Miles needed will change according to the connecting airport as they are distant based (ATL-MIA-STT will be 48K in business, but ATL-JFK-STT will be 70K - assuming two-cabin is not coded as First of course).
    2. US Airways card for both of you - should give each of you 40K on US. For business you'll need either 60Kx2 (if redeeming on UA), or 55Kx2 if redeeming on US (with the credit card discount).

    Of course, if you end up flying in coach you might want to check the prices of the flights - it might be just worth buying the tickets.
     
  5. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    There is really no way to "move the miles around". If you would like to see what would happen when you move things you should go to http://www.webflyer.com/programs/mileage_converter/ . This will show you how much you would lose.

    As for credit cards, my suggestion is somewhat the same as others. Both of you apply for the Chase Sapphire and Ink Bold cards. The Ink card is, of course, a business card so you would need to apply as a sole proprietorship. If you both were approved for both cards, that would give each of you over 100K points that can be transferred to UA / CO. More than enough for a business ticket.

    By the way, congratulations on the honeymoon.
     
  6. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    Thank you both for your suggestions.

    Also, thanks for the congrats..
     
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  7. Sky King
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    Sky King Silver Member

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    Any reason you don't want the hotel included? Saint Johns isn't that far of a flight from ATL. Personally if I'm on my honeymoon I'm going to be getting more use out of the hotel than the flight..wink wink. Westin St. Johns Bay is a category 5 at 12k points per night. 5 nights would be 48k points. Two Starwood cards would net you 60k points. Do 1 personal and one business under same name. Your fiancé/wife could do the chase sapphire card so you could at least fly coach for free. Or go buy a bunch of stuff at Nordstroms before V day for 36 BA miles per dollar. Use the BA miles on AA.
     
  8. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    Another trip report I've read said it was a pretty terrible hotel...lots of mold and not a good value for points (admittedly, it could be different when I get there, but I'd rather not chance it). Honestly, I'd just like something a little nicer than what I think I can get for reward points on this island without taking a chance on my honeymoon.

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/point...trip-report-from-st-thomas-to-westin-st-john/
    and some others unfortunately.

    I may check into it some more, but my fiancé is getting a little impatient and wants to book a villa and may have done so before I get home for the day...so if that's the case, there's not much I can do.:)
     
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  9. tondoleo
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    tondoleo Gold Member

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  10. Tenmoc
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    Tenmoc Gold Member

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    If you're really wanting business class for the flight and you're unsure who you'll be getting a credit card with for the bonus miles i honest suggest starting with KVS or Expert Flyer and finding the availability now. If you say ok, i want UA but then find no availability after getting the cc, you're sort of stuck.
     
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  11. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Agreed... and even though he has "some" Delta miles, I'd say that's probably not going to be worth pursuing. I see a lot of AA / US / CO flights out of ATL, so that would probably be the better option.

    But I agree with the coach comment as well. Even though it's a honeymoon, it's not really a terrible flight even with stops. 2 hours, layover, 2:30 to STT. I can do that in Y standing on my head. :)

    Economy is pricing around $500-550 early December, and a bit over twice as much for Business/First.
     
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  12. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    The problem is that if the OP checks availability now there is no assurance that there will be award tickets available when he has the points. The opposite is also true, just because there are no award seats now, it does not mean that there won't be seats later.

    Bottom line is that it is a crap shoot and there are no guarantees.
     
  13. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    I went ahead with the Sapphire preferred and got approved but got a pending approval message on the Ink Bold when I signed up as sole proprietor. I called and they said it was still in the validation queue and they couldn't give me an answer until it came out of that. Is that normal procedure? I signed up with the intent of telling them that I had a business that I was trying to get started and needed the card for the expenses of doing this. Will this work if I get denied or will the fact that its something new just getting started, cause them to deny my again? Hopefully it will go through without me having to deal with that.

    Thanks for all the responses everyone...I'm just hoping there will be something I can redeem miles for once the points are acquired
     
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  14. deant
    Original Member

    deant Milepoint Guide

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    Getting the Pending is not that unusual. As for talking to them, I would have a tendency to say that you have been doing business at a low level for a couple of years and now it is such that you want a separate card to separate charges.
     
  15. toddreg
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    toddreg Silver Member

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    Two considerations. Apply for the AMEX SPG as well. These points transfer to both Delta and AA as well as a few other airlines with a bonus of 5000 miles per 20,000 transferred. Also, read up in the various points blogs and forums about how to answer possible inquiries regarding a sole proprietor buisness application and pending questions that will be raised. Also, you can obtain the reconsideration line phone number to call should you need to escalate it. Your future spouse needs to be applying for all the same things as well. Unfortunately there aren't many great credit card deals out there right now. I would not suggest doing anymore than you have to for your airfare as better deals may be forth coming. Also, you don't want to run into the problem of meeting to many spending requirements all at one time which can be an overlooked issue.
     
  16. Theweeklyflyer
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    Theweeklyflyer Silver Member

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    Congratulations on the nuptuals. I think you will enjoy St John no matter where you stay. The island is very relaxed and has amazing beaches.

    For your flight make sure you time the right ferry with you arrival. If you plan to rent a car on STT, know that only certain ferries take cars.

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/point...trip-report-from-st-thomas-to-westin-st-john/

    As for the Westin...The timeshare villas are very nice and new. I would stay there in a heart beat. The hotel is a clean bed for a place to sleep. I just wouldn't go with high expectations if you plan on staying in the hotel part. They really need to refurbish. But like I said in my post, you don't go to St John to sit in a hotel room...well, maybe on a honeymoon:)

    Here are our favorite beaches, honeymoon beach being our favorite.

    http://boardingarea.com/blogs/pointsmilesandmartinis/2011/12/st-john-beaches-and-virgin-gorda-baths/
     
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  17. Theweeklyflyer
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    Theweeklyflyer Silver Member

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    Also, if you are going to rent a villa I know a good guy to rent fromz. He is a local real estate agent and frequent flyer.

    Drop me an email at theweeklyflyer (at) gmail.comand I'll connect you with him.
     
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  18. ars2210

    ars2210 Member

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    Thanks for all the replies everyone. Some good info in here.
     
  19. Theweeklyflyer
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    Theweeklyflyer Silver Member

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    Almost forgot...

    The Banana Deck has a bloody mary bar on some days and has a great cheeseburger. Hit us up if you have any more questions.
     
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