MLE redemption - opinions sought

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Miles/Points' started by ma91pmh, Jan 20, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    This is across multiple airlines and points sources so figured I would post in general.

    Myself and Mrs Ma are going back to the Maldives this summer. We went two years ago with CX and SQ using AA and US miles and stayed at an amazing place called Alila Villas Hadahaa. Well fast forward two years and said hotel is now Park Hyatt Maldives and thanks to our big stash of Chase UR/Hyatt points we are going back to the same place. Question is how do we get there. I would be curious to hear your thoughts on which you'd prefer, and maybe even throw in some alternatives?

    Option 1 (already partially booked)
    RDU-JFK on AA in coach, JFK-HKG in CX F, 5-6 hour layover, HKG-SIN in CX F, overnight, SIN-MLE in SQ J next morning.
    Then coming back:
    MLE-SIN in SQ J, red-eye SIN-HKG in CX F, 5-6 hour layover, HKG-ORD in CX F, ORD-RDU in AA F

    Cost of option 1 is 270k AA miles plus 120k Amex Membership rewards converted into SQ KrisFlyer (they have plenty availability to their own members but none to *A). We arrive afternoon T+2 after setting off early on T0

    I already booked the AA/CX piece but holding out on transferring Amex -> SQ as that cannot be undone

    Option 2
    RDU-JFK on AA in coach, JFK-AUH in EY J (F not available anywhere near the time we want to go), overnight, AUH-MLE in EY J
    Coming back the same MLE-AUH EY J - overnight - AUH-JFK EY J, JFK-RDU AA Y
    We'd still arrive T+2 afternoon, but setting off late afternoon T0, so total travel time about half a day less. Coming back we gain about the same in travel time

    Cost of option 2 is 370k AA miles. (2 x 67.5k plus 2 x 25k x 2 round trip) This is thanks to the AA all partner award system and the fact that EY do not publish fares between the US and MLE. So it ends up being two awards (RDU-AUH and AUH-MLE)

    The way I see it is cost then is roughly the same, but option 1 puts us in CX F for the long flights. Option 1's last J segment is about as long as the equivalent AUH-MLE sector too and SQ's J on this is pretty nice (same product/better service than AA's international J) compared to EY's more basic regional J. But it is one extra flight, about 3,000 more miles, and all told adds maybe 2/3rds of a day in travel time.

    Option 3
    This one I have not researched availability that well but is theoretically possible. To get around the all partner fare restrictions we could do the transatlantic on BA. So we could theoretically do something like

    RDU-MIA AA F, MIA-LHR BA F, LHR-AUH EY F, AUH-MLE EY J

    and back. This would come in the cheapest miles-wise at 360k AA miles, but we'd have to pay a good $1200 in YQ fees

    Mrs Ma is leaning towards Option 2, and my brain tells me it is better too, but my heart is yearning for the Krug and Caviar of CX F. Option 3 seems poor given the cash cost though mixing BA and EY F on the same itin could be fun

    What d'yall think?
     
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  2. NYBanker
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    NYBanker Gold Member

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    I've flown to MLE from JFK via SIN before. You're going more than half way around the world going via the Pacific. I did it, and this is bloody long.

    Toss up between options 2 and 3. I like the only two connections of option 2, but also like F in option 3. Gun to head, I'd probably pick 2.

    You also could consider RDU-ORD-AUH-MLE.

    What property are you staying at?
     
  3. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I agree with the OP that CX IFC plus SQ good J/C sounds good. My concern would be whether the arrivals and departures at MLE allow for the long transfer to the Park Hyatt without overnighting near the MLE airport, which I think would be gruesome. Can you get from the Park Hyatt to the MLE airport for an early morning departure? On the outbound, when do you arrive at MLE and how late can the transfer flight and boat operate?
     
  4. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    Agreed. We did the same routing two years ago. It was as you very eloquently put it bloody long. It was worse than our proposed flight this time round in two ways though:

    1) We are in F HKG-SIN-HKG not regional J. Sure some chance of being swapped out but am sure at least one direction we will be in 1A 1K of CX 74A
    2) SQ added second daily so we would not need to take the brutal red-eye back MLE-SIN

    I found availability on Option 3 via MIA. So RDU-MIA-LHR-AUH-MLE, F all the way. It has a lot of positives... F all the way even on AA rather than crappy ERJ. Mix BA and EY F. Timing is pretty similar to Option 2... can either overnight in AUH or more likely spend afternoon in London, evening in Concorde club room and overnight in EY F. Coming back straight through connections. Problem is the YQ: $1,855.88. Yes one thousand, eight hundred and fifty five dollars eighty eight cents. I think I'd rather use the money in MLE

    ORD is part of the thinking on Option 2. JFK/ORD pretty much interchangeable just happens that JFK is available for our dates

    Park Hyatt. We stayed there when it was Alila and it was amazing and plan to use 210k 7 night passport escape this time to really keep cash cost down. Was thinking of trying Conrad but they seem to be trying to milk as much cash out of everyone as they can
     
  5. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    MSP - the SQ flight would arrive early afternoon and depart late afternoon, so no problem with onward connections to PH or frankly anywhere.

    When we went last time, when PH was Alila, we arrived at MLE at 10:30pm and still connected straight on... that said it was 3:30am when we finally reached destination....! that was a long trip... yul - jfk - hkg - sin - mle - kdm + 1.5 hour boat ride
     
  6. lohiadk

    lohiadk Silver Member

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    To save on miles you could look at RDU-BLR or RDU-TRV flights using miles and than just buying a separate ticket on Air-India the flight from TRV-MLV is pretty short. Etihad has flights to TRV.

    Another option would be to fly to Colombo and take a flight from there.
     
  7. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Could use 180K AA miles R/T per person by doing RDU-LHR on AA (or obviously any combination of RDU-XXX-LHR if you want to use BA F), then LGW-MLE with BA (sadly I believe this route only offers J) if you can find space.

    You'll have lots of fuel surcharges and you miss out on CX F but you do save quite a handful of miles.
     
  8. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    Yeah this is an option but not attractive for a whole host of reasons... availability is poor on both legs, you have to spend a day in London and connect LHR -> LGW with all your luggage, only J available but you still have to use two awards as AA don't publish RDU-MLE. Appreciate the suggestion though

    Once AS miles can be used on Emirates that could be a serious alternative. I really thought EY would be a great addition but their lack of fares between anywhere and everywhere really diminishes the value of that partnership
     
  9. DestinationDavid
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    DestinationDavid Milepoint Guide

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    Guess it's all about taste and perception. I'm always trying to save miles when I redeem so I'd be okay getting a revenue ticket to a destination that would allow me to book as a single award and schlep to LGW. The availability is an issue though, I know MLE is a tough BA award to secure.

    But then again, from what I understand, you don't worry too much about your miles so if I was in similar shoes my thoughts would probably be different. :)
     
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  10. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    You are right ... it is circumstantial. Right now I am extremely mile rich, and relatively cash poor. So forking out YQ fees is not very attractive for me. For others, might work.

    Mind you all academic, availability on BA's MLE route is zero right now
     
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  11. aap

    aap Active Member

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    OP - do you have enough Star Alliance miles to cover the trip?

    We visited the Maldives last year, and OneWorld had terrible flight selection coming from the US. We opted to fly Star Alliance LAX > NRT > SIN > MLE in Business Class. Star Alliance has amazing coverage throughout Asia, and Singapore Airlines has 1-2 flights per day from MLE to SIN. Along the way, you can stay in one your connection cities for up to 24 hours and it will be considered a connection (not a stop-over). Great way to see other cities as part of your award travel.
     
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  12. infamousdx

    infamousdx Silver Member

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    Was it fairly easy to find SIN-MLE business availability?
     
  13. ma91pmh
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    ma91pmh Silver Member

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    I can tell you it is IMPOSSIBLE to find it on Star Alliance, but available pretty much daily for up to two passengers to KrisFlyer members. As an Amex Membership rewards partner that makes it viable for us here in the US.

    I will have to look into Star Alliance availability. If I could find a one or two stop from RDU to SIN that would be a real option using Amex transferred into KF
     

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