Trip Report ✈ 20 Day Honeymoon To Asia Using Miles & Points

Updated on February 19, 2016

How We Did a 20 Day Honeymoon To 4 Countries
For Practically Nothing

Maldives Honeymoon 20 Day Honeymoon


Welcome to the 1st part of my trip report about how we went on a 20-day luxury honeymoon to Asia using miles and points.


1Trip Report ✈ 20 Day Honeymoon To Asia Using Miles & PointsItinerary
2Review: EVA Air Lounge at New York JFK – not impressiveFlight
3Flight Review: EVA Air JFK-Taipei Royal Laurel Class Using MilesFlight
4Review: EVA Air Infinity Lounge - TaipeiFlight
5Flight Review: EVA Air Taipei-Hanoi Business Class Using MilesFlight
6How to Get a Vietnam Tourist Visa – Faster and CheaperVietnam
7Hotel Review: Sheraton Hanoi – Clueless in Vietnam + My Burned ShirtVietnam
8Hanoi Food Tour: Cobra Wine, Water Bugs, Egg CoffeeVietnam
9Tour Review: Hoa Lu Tam Coc (Vietnam) Boats, Bad Food + Broken BikesVietnam
10Hotel Review: 5 Nights At The Andaman Langkawi Resort, MalaysiaLangkawi
11Langkawi Restaurants: Leave Your Resort For Dinner!Langkawi
12Langkawi Island – Biking to Temurun WaterfallsLangkawi
13Hotel Review: Singapore IntercontinentalSingapore
14Singapore - What do to in 3 daysSingapore
15Review: Singapore Air LoungeLounge
16Flight Review: Singapore Airlines SIN-MaldivesFlight
17Hotel Review: LVIS Boutique, Male, MaldivesMaldives
18Review: Conrad Lounge, Male, MaldivesMaldives
19Conrad Maldive’s Uber-Expensive Seaplane Transfer – VideoMaldives
20Hotel Review: Conrad MaldivesMaldives
21Hotel Review: Newtown Inn, Hulhumale, MaldivesMaldives
22Review: Maldives Airport Lounge (Leeli Lounge)Maldives
23Flight Review: Maldives - Istanbul (Business Class)Flight
24Review: Turkish Air Lounge Istanbul: Huge & Amazing!Lounge
25Flight Review: Turkish Istanbul - Warsaw Business Class Using MilesFlight
26Review: LOT Polish Airlines Lounge WarsawLounge
27Warsaw-New York JFK Business Class Dreamliner 787 - LOT Polish Airlines ReviewFlight



We recently returned from our 20 day honeymoon to Asia and paid for almost everything using miles and points. It was really amazing to be able to visit some of these places where I would normally not be able to afford. A lot of planning went into this trip as well as a good amount of miles and points but as you will soon find out, it was all very worth it. I first wrote about this trip over a year ago and the planning started when Hilton devalued their points in 2013 and I had a million points burning a hole in my pocket.

At that point I found and booked the most expensive Hilton properties I could find and then I had to wait a year before award flights were released.

This may seem like an impossible amount of miles and points to many people but with some good planning, many people would be able to do a similar trip.


I used a total of 240,000 United miles instead of paying $20,000 for the business class flights. For the hotels, I used a total 363,000 points instead of paying $10,500 cash.  By using miles and points, we were able to take an incredible honeymoon worth over $30,000.


Day City Hotel
1 NYC None / Late flight
2 Hanoi Hanoi Vietnam – Sheraton
3 Hanoi Hanoi Vietnam – Sheraton
4 Hanoi Hanoi Vietnam – Sheraton
5 Hanoi Hanoi Vietnam – Sheraton
6 Langkawi The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia
7 Langkawi The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia
8 Langkawi The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia
9 Langkawi The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia
10 Langkawi The Andaman, Langkawi, Malaysia
11 Singapore Singapore – Intercontinental
12 Singapore Singapore – Intercontinental
13 Singapore Singapore – Intercontinental
14 Male, Maldives LVIS Boutique, Male, Maldives
15 Rangali Island Maldives – Conrad Rangali
16 Rangali Island Maldives – Conrad Rangali
17 Rangali Island Maldives – Conrad Rangali
18 Rangali Island Maldives – Conrad Rangali
19 Rangali Island Maldives – Conrad Rangali
20 Male, Maldives Newtown Inn, Hulhumale, Maldives
21 Late flight None / Late Flight
22 NYC Home



Taking off this many days from work was not easy.  Here are the changes I would make if I had less or more time:

Need a shorter itinerary?

  • Singapore: remove 2 nights from Singapore.  1 night was required to ensure we didn't miss the flight to the Maldives.  It was fun but my least favorite destination in this itinerary (although I am in NYC almost every day, so I don't usually seek out cities on vacation).
  • Vietnam: I had the option to fly to Ho Chi Minh City (the former Saigon) for the same number of points.  I would have easily given up a couple of days in Vietnam for more time in the other locations or all together if I didn't have as much time.
  • Maldives: Remove the last night in Male.  I had to stay due to the award flight schedule I had locked in and I wasn't able to book an additional night at the Conrad Maldives (it was sold out that one night out of the entire week).

Must Do's – longer itinerary?

Adding 1 more night each at The Andaman Langkawi and The Conrad Maldives would have been the perfect length.  I left feeling like I could have stayed one more day without getting bored.

  • Langkawi: I would add 1 more night to enjoy the resort a little more and try another restaurant outside the resort.
  • Maldives: I would add 1 more night to enjoy the incredible views and water. Everywhere you turn is a photo opp.
  • Vietnam: If I had at least 3 days extra, I would consider adding a visit to Ho Chi Minh City but only after adding a day in Langkawi and Maldives.  That would bring this trip to 25 days which is a stretch.



Asia Honeymoon Flight Map - 20 Day Honeymoon

Flight map created using (not including flights from/to New York City)



This itinerary was booked in business class using 120,000 United Miles + $357 in taxes/fees per person.

The Star Alliance booking was JFK-TPE-HAN <2 week stopover/open jaw> SIN-MLE-IST-WAW-JFK.  That meant I had to find my own way from Hanoi (HAN) to Singapore (SIN) which I did with cheap Air Asia flights.

Maldives is one of the most difficult places to get to using miles.  This itinerary cannot be booked online because Singapore Air flights do not appear on  Also, the United reps think that United miles cannot be redeemed for Singapore Air flights.  They are wrong.  If a rep tells you it cannot be done, ask them to double check with their supervisor.  My original plan was to route through Istanbul which would have saved me ~$300 per person but someone else grabbed the award seats before I could book them.


  • 240,000 United Miles:  This was the most important piece of the puzzle. We earned most of the points by getting the Chase Ink Bold Sign up Bonuses which transfer 1:1 to United.  I wrote about a new Chase Ink Plus 60k sign up bonus mile offer offer recently. If you and your significant other both gets this card, you have more than half of the miles needed already (120k bonus + 10k points from spending).  That's 130k Ultimate Rewards points so far which equals 130k United Miles.  We also got a bonus from the United card. If two people sign up for the current United Mileage Explorer Visa, you can earn 55k United miles each, for a total of 110k.  130k + 110k = 240k.  The price has now gone up to 140k per person for a combined total of 280k.  There are some business award seats available for this Nov/Dec!
20 Day Honeymoon - United Award seat availability

70k United Miles: NYC to Male Business Class using United Miles (click to zoom) (as of 2/23/15)


20 Day Honeymoon - United Award seat availability

70k United Miles: Male to NYC Business Class using United Miles (click to zoom) (as of 2/23/15)



  • 63,000 Starwood Points: We signed up for the Starwood American Express 30k Bonus offers (link to a post I wrote a while back).  Since they offer a business and personal card, one person could easily sign up for two card and get more than enough points.
  • 100,000 IHG Points: The IHG credit card has offered a 80k sign up bonus in the past which also includes 1 free night at any hotel. The current IHG sign up bonus is 70k points. You can find the offer by clicking this link (affiliate link), then clicking “Airline & Frequent Flyer Credit Card Offers.”  The direct non-affiliate link shows either a 60k or 70k sign up bonus.   Thank you in advance if you use my affiliate link!
  • 200,000 Hilton Points: I earned a million Hilton points from living in hotels for 3 years back when I used to travel for work.  Unfortunately, Hilton severely devalued their points (The Conrad Maldives is now 95,000 points per night!) but the best way to stay at the Conrad would be to for two people to each get the Hilton Reserve card (I last wrote about last month) and you each get 2 free weekend nights.  This would give you 3 days for free (Fri/Sat/Sun), though I would not go for only 3 days so there are other ways to get more stays.  I think the new rate of 95,000 points per night is ridiculous and I would not recommend trying to save up enough points unless it's for one or two nights.


The business class flights (not including the short Air Asia flights) for the would have cost $10,000 per person if I paid cash.  Instead of cash, I paid 120,000 miles plus $629 per person.  Amount saved $20,000.  Thank you miles!!

*This does not include the seaplane transfer to the Conrad Maldives which cost $560 per person.

# Flight Airline Cash Pd Miles Pd Regular Price
1 JFK-TPE Lv 12:20am Ar 5:30am +1 day Eva Air $357 120,000 $10,000
2 TPE-HAN Lv 9:30am/Ar 11:35am Eva Air included
3 HAN-KUL Lv 9am/Ar 1:15pm Air Asia $139 $139.00
4 KUL-LGK Lv 3:30pm/Ar 4:30pm Air Asia $34 $34.30
5 LGK-SIN Lv 8:55am/Ar 10:20am Air Asia $99 $98.53
6 SIN-MLE Lv 8:35pm Ar 10:10pm Singapore Air included
7 MLE-IST Lv 11:50pm Turkish Air included
IST Ar: 5:30am
IST-WAW Lv 12:25pm/Ar 1:55pm
WAW-JFK Lv 4:45pm/Ar 8:25pm
Turkish Air
Turkish Air
 TOTAL (per person)   $629 120,000 $10,272



These hotels would have cost over $10,500.  Instead of cash, I paid a total of 363,000 points (not including two cheap hotels).  Note that the price for the Conrad Maldives has skyrocketed to 95,000 Hilton Dis-HHonors points per night after the devaluation.

Day Hotel Program Actual Cash Pd Points Pd Reg Price Point Value
1 Sheraton Hanoi SPG $0 3,000 $165 0.055
2 Sheraton Hanoi SPG $0 4,000 $165 0.041
3 Sheraton Hanoi SPG $0 4,000 $165 0.041
4 Sheraton Hanoi SPG $0 4,000 $165 0.041
5 The Andaman, Langkawi SPG $0 9,600 $320 0.033
6 The Andaman, Langkawi SPG $0 9,600 $320 0.033
7 The Andaman, Langkawi SPG $0 9,600 $320 0.033
8 The Andaman, Langkawi SPG $0 9,600 $320 0.033
9 The Andaman, Langkawi SPG $0 9,600 $320 0.033
10 Intercontinental Singapore IHG $0 Free* $315 Free*
11 Intercontinental Singapore IHG $0 50,000 $315 0.006
12 Intercontinental Singapore IHG $0 50,000 $315 0.006
13 LVIS Boutique, Male, Maldives $95 0 $95  Paid Cash
14 Conrad Maldives Hilton $0 40,000 $1,430 0.036
15 Conrad Maldives Hilton $0 40,000 $1,430 0.03575
16 Conrad Maldives Hilton $0 40,000 $1,430 0.036
17 Conrad Maldives Hilton $0 40,000 $1,430 0.03575
18 Conrad Maldives Hilton $0 40,000 $1,430 0.036
19 Newtown Inn, Hulhumale, Maldives $83 0 $83  Paid Cash
TOTAL $178 363,000 $10,533

*I used the IHG credit card free night at the Intercontinental Singapore.



We spent a total of about $4,700 cash on this trip.  Ok, it's not nothing it's not much for what we got.  The largest cash expenses were ~$700 for the taxes/fees for the award flight, the seaplane transfer to the Conrad Maldives ($560 per person), ~$550 for the short Air Asia flights about $200 for 2 nights at Hotels that I could not use points, ~$200 for a car rental in Langkawi.  The rest was spent on food, tours, and transportation.

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  1. First off, congratulations on your wedding and honeymoon award redemption! I wouldn’t call anything over $1000 spent on taxes/fees as ‘practically nothing’ but that’s my own judgment. 😉
    Second, how would you have saved $300 had you gotten the TK flight from MLE-IST? Since you did not get it, how did you leave MLE? Was that another open jaw or you had to reroute thru another star alliance hub?
    Third, I have never been to Vietnam but am planning to go later this year so I look forward reading your report on that.
    Again, congrats!

    • Thanks Joey!

      The $357 taxes/fees per person on the award redemption would have been much less. In the example United Award currently available (NYC to Male through Istanbul), the total would have been about $27. Flying on Singapore Airlines adds some hefty fees but it also allowed us to explore Asia instead of Europe.

      We did fly back on TK through Istanbul (MLE-IST-WAW-JFK). Had we flown on Singapore again the fees would have probably been double.

  2. “costed”…how did you get that through spellcheck? As for the $30K value, we all know that a similar trip with just slightly different choices would have “costed” thousands less – as in ~50+% less.

    Curious what sort of jobs allow newlyweds to take 20 day trips?

    • haha I don’t know. The days off was a bit of a challenge – it was a combination of getting permission ahead of time, working late before/after the trip, and working remotely. We are in finance/accounting… so as long as we have a computer and internet we can get the work done. Now my spell checker is working until midnight everyday, unfortunately.

      Even if the trip were 50% less I would not be able to pay for it in cash.

  3. I can’t wait for the hotel reviews especially since you have two properties I am looking to visit in May. That is an awesome Honeymoon!

  4. Hi there,

    Great report. I tried to find the cheapest redemption rate for Conrad Maldives but all I could get is 95,000 points per night, not 40K as in your table..


  5. Maldives is a great place to visit. Although it is being devalued, I would recommend using Avios to book flights to Maldives from either Singapore or India. The partner will be Srilankan Airlines and it is easy to get a reward seat when you book 4 weeks in advance.

    • Thanks for the tip. According to, its just 4500 Avios from Sri Lanka and 10,000 Avios from KUL. Doha and Hong Kong are 12,500 Avios. I dont see direct flights from Singapore or India. I doubled checked BA’s site and im not seeing direct flights: Srilankan and Malaysia Air have a stop in CMB or KUL. Have you flown direct from those cities?

  6. Hi There!

    I’ve become somewhat obsessed with seeking out good ways to travel on the cheap, and your breakdown is extremely useful! I think I counted that, between yourself and your spouse, you signed up for seven credit cards? Holy moly that is a lot. Do you recommend that people pursue this strategy indefinitely (assume not) or do you view this as a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Additionally, how do you balance the hit to your credit (if there is one) from all the inquiries and new accounts in a short time, plus the shorter average age of your credit against the savings?

    Love to hear your thoughts. I generally avoid ripping through credit cards for their intro bonuses due to the fact that I don’t already own a house, and knocking my credit down 50-70 points might not be worth it when trying to qual for a mortgage.

    Thanks for any help!


    • We try to do a big trip similar to this once per year. We are flying first class/biz to Australia and New Zealand later this year, so certainly not once in a lifetime.

      It all really depends on how much you love to travel and how often you want to do it. I’ve noticed that my credit score usually takes a hit of a few points with each credit card application then shoots up within a few months. Everyone’s credit profile is different, however, to play this game, you must be able to pay off your credit cards in full every month or you might end up in big trouble.

      I refinanced my mortgage last year avoided all credit card applications around during the 60 days prior. If you’re not sure when you might get a mortgage, then I would be more careful. I just ask my mortgage guy to double check before I do anything. If you are in the NY/NJ or CA area, I’m happy to connect you.

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