Maldives Planning Update – Etihad and Asiana First Class and more!

You may or may not have heard about my Maldives planning here and here. I’m about 65% of the way there and remembering how using points isn’t always so easy. Despite some bloggers out there who seem to pull award seats out of their you-know-what.

Etihad First Class Apartment
Etihad First Class Apartment
The Easy 65% of Maldives Planning

Surprisingly, booking the First Class apartment was the easy part! This awesome Etihad first class availability is still there by the way!

Etihad First Class Apartment Availability Wide Open
Etihad First Class Apartment Availability


The process to book Etihad First Class Apartments and Conrad Maldives:

  • Found Etihad availability on their website by searching MLE-AUH and AUH-JFK separately
  • Called American’s call center in Australia by adding $5 to my Google Voice account to hold award for 5 days
  • Transferred 20k SPG -> husband’s SPG account -> his AA account (this did cause some stress but it ended up coming through in time)
  • Found 0 award availability from JFK-PHX
  • Decide you only live once and I may (gasp) pay for us to get from JFK-PHX?
  • Booked an AXON Hilton award for the Conrad Maldives the day before they got discontinued for 4 nights of my stay and used 2 free nights from my Citi Hilton Reserve sign-up bonus
The other 35% of Maldives Planning

The above was so fun and great. I was on a high! I was already googling what single malt scotches Etihad serves for my husband! Considering what time should I take my shower on the plane! Life was good!

And here we are today. I 100% understand this is the epitome of first world problems. But it’s challenging to be planning a huge trip like this which I truly view as once in a lifetime and run into roadblocks.

  • Had found award availability from PHX-LAX-ICN-PEK-BKK. Long right? Not ideal but because I was booking with Singapore Airlines the change fees are a measly $20 so I can change it when better flights open up. Plus, lots of new airlines to try!
  • Proceed to call Singapore and after significant prompting and feeding the agent individual segments she eventually finds LAX-ICN in Asiana First Class
  • We “battle” over trying to get her to see PHX-LAX leg. I throw in the towel because it would’ve meant a 7 hour LAX layover anyways. I can book that flight for $70 each way.
  • We focus on ICN-PEK-BKK leg. She can’t find ICN-PEK or any other business class route with one stop for that matter. Despite both Aeroplan and United’s website showing a large variety of options.
  • She can find a 16 hour layover in Seoul then fly economy on the 6 hour flight to Bangkok. At this point, with our PTO schedules, this would give us a measly 2.5 days in Bangkok. She wins, I throw in the towel for tonight – again.
Asiana Airlines A380
At least I have this whale to look forward to!
Tl;dr of Maldives Planning
  • Getting to Bangkok
    • Need to book PHX-LAX
    • Have LAX-ICN-BKK with LAX-ICN in Asiana First Class and ICN-BKK in economy class booked with a 16 hour layover in Seoul
  • Accommodations
    • No hotel in Bangkok (not worried about this)
    • Conrad Maldives booked!
  • Getting to the Maldives from Bangkok
    • Zero plan and AwardWallet is showing how cleaned out I am of points
  • Getting home
    • MLE-AUH-JFK booked with MLE-AUH in Business and AUH-JFK in First
    • Need to book JFK-PHX

I’m not even sure if I’m in a good spot or not with my Maldives planning? But part of the beauty of Singapore awards, even though they’re not the “best” redemption mileage wise, is the very generous change fees. So this is an award I can tweak very very easily in the next few months until it’s time to leave. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

Whew…am I here yet?

Ithaa Undersea Restaurant Maldives
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. Courtesy of Conrad Maldives




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