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From the vault: An FTer plans a honeymoon

From the vault: An FTer plans a honeymoon

Old Apr 14, 20, 10:30 pm
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From the vault: An FTer plans a honeymoon

Like many of you I find myself stuck at home due to COVID19. As of this post, I’m going on 34 days and counting (I started working from home the day after the NBA was suspended). In the interim a planned trip in NH F to Tokyo was canceled, work trips to SIN / DXB / SFO and countless others have been canceled, and my longest trip in the past month has been the weekly visit to the grocery store and local bakery.

As I daydream about the future, I’ve decided to go back into the archives and create a trip report about our 2018 honeymoon. Hopefully this will be a good one for both you all the reader and for me the writer to live vicariously through the past while we all shelter in place at home.I never planned to make this a trip report so in some places my pictures will be limited but I’ll try and make up for it with my prose and memory of what was one of the best trips of my life.

Okay. So, where does a Flyertalk start when it comes to planning a honeymoon? Well it started through a conversation with my now wife about the wedding and honeymoon. We each had a lane and expertise and each person was going to stick in their lane, she had the wedding (and 1.5 years later can say she killed it) and I had the honeymoon.

Step one complete.

Now, where do we want to go? Bora Bora has always been on my list so let’s add that. Where else? Bali? My wife has always wanted to go so let’s go ahead and throw that into the mix.

Step two.

Well at least I got a challenge in planning this thing. It’s not like there are daily flights between Bali and Bora Bora.

First requirement, Singapore A380 Suites. It’s been on the list forever and I’ve been stockpiling miles in all my CC programs to fund an SQ transfer.
Second requirement, we travel in F on all applicable flights unless F isn’t available. This is an FT honeymoon after all and I’m going to need lots of caviar and champagne to celebrate.

With that established I pull out a map. Bali to Bora Bora. Hmmm. If I had a private jet that could be a direct flight but otherwise this is going to be a bit of a trek. What to do? Lightbulb, what if we do SQ Suites to SIN, then do a “stopover” at SIN, book a separate paid return ticket to DPS, and then pick back up on our Suites reward down to SYD or AKL? Perfect

Enough of my ramblings, I’ll skip to the routing – this is where I landed. This includes 5 days in Bali, 1 night in Sydney, 2 nights in Auckland, 5 nights in Bora Bora, and 1 night in Tokyo.

JFK – FRA – SIN (SQ A380 F award)
SIN – DPS – SIN (787 Y paid)
SIN – SYD (SQ A380 F award)
SYD – AKL (LATAM 787 J paid)
AKL – PPT (NZ 787 Y paid)
PPT – BOB – PPT (VT paid)
PPT – NRT (TN award J)
NRT – ORD (JL F award)
ORD – RDU (AA Y award)

As for hotels:

Bali – Chedi Club Tanah Gajah Ubud (now Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana)
Sydney – Marriott Circular Quay
Auckland – Four Points Auckland
Bora Bora – Conrad Bora Bora
Tokyo – Courtyard Tokyo Ginza

Along the way we'll get to my first (and maybe only) visit to the SQ Private Room, a visit to Kyubey in Tokyo (not in the same league as some of my other great Tokyo sushi moments), some excellent wine on Waiheke Island, climbing Mt. Batur in Bali, the most vibrant ocean water I've ever seen, and more.

More to come, look forward to putting the pictures and details of this one together.
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Old Apr 14, 20, 10:32 pm
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**apologies for weird spacing issues. seems like FT is having some technical issues tonight**
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Old Apr 14, 20, 11:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Duke787 View Post
**apologies for weird spacing issues. seems like FT is having some technical issues tonight**
From another thread
Originally Posted by cockpitvisit View Post
It seems to be a problem with the rich text editor.

If you quote a post, then click "Source" above the edit window, you'll see some entries like:

A workaround is to go into your control panel, select "Edit Options" and change the message editor to "Basic Editor". But this means you'll be editing using bbcode.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 5:14 am
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This looks like an epic Honeymoon.
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Old Apr 15, 20, 7:49 am
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LATAM between SYD and AKL?
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Old Apr 15, 20, 10:40 am
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
LATAM between SYD and AKL?
That flight was recently discontinued. They used to fly that route as a 5th freedom route SCL-AKL-SYD I believe. My first LA flight was actually AKL-SYD many years ago.
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Old Apr 16, 20, 5:13 pm
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Looks epic. Though I might do more time in SYD and TYO.
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Old Apr 16, 20, 5:29 pm
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Old Apr 19, 20, 11:32 pm
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Originally Posted by IluvSQ View Post
LATAM between SYD and AKL?
Fifth Freedom -- was a great call. Paid $275 US/person (which of course included free bag checks and lounge access). We ended up with the older 787 J but for SYD - AKL it was great. We'll get to that shortly.

Originally Posted by dyung View Post
That flight was recently discontinued. They used to fly that route as a 5th freedom route SCL-AKL-SYD I believe. My first LA flight was actually AKL-SYD many years ago.

Originally Posted by ProfJH View Post
Looks epic. Though I might do more time in SYD and TYO.
Yeah this was a whirlwind. I actually got home from our honeymoon and went back to SYD for a work trip about 3 weeks later. We hit the major sights as you'll see but definitely want to go back with my wife for a longer stay (I've been fortunate to go for work and pleasure multiple times since 2014). As for TYO -- we have been before, that routing was more a result of award availability. Plus I love TYO so was able to get in some sushi (as you'll see) and more importantly snagged a bottle of H17 (my main objective ). Plus another JL F is always welcome.

Originally Posted by ExpatSomchai View Post
Sorry for delay -- surprisingly busy week last week. Trying to keep up. New installment coming and should have another mid-week after I get past the early week struggles.
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Old Apr 19, 20, 11:54 pm
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JFK – FRA – SIN (SQ Suites)

Okay time to get this show on the road. Finally, the honeymoon has arrived, a couple of weeks after our wedding (due to award availability and work scheduled). We flew up to NYC the night before (nothing interesting, standard DAL flight on RDU – LGA) and stayed in NYC with my parents.

Waking up on Thursday morning, I had the typical Christmas morning excitement before a big trip. After all this was the holy grail. The SQ A380 Suites. I’d been dreaming of this from the time I first joined FT and began dreaming about the possibilities. Thankfully I’d been smart to stockpile points from Citi, AMEX, and Chase and was able to make a transfer to SQ shortly after we got engaged and snagged this great flight. In the interim I’d called and requested a honeymoon cake and also selected some pre-order items in case the on-board menu fell short.

Here’s what we put in before the flight:

Char Siew Wanton Noodle Soup (Dinner) for Duke787

Boston Lobster Thermidor (Lunch) for Duke787

Toasted Multigrain Bread (Breakfast) for Duke787

Baked Chilean Bass In Xo Sauce (Dinner) for Mrs. Duke787

Boston Lobster Thermidor (Lunch) for Mrs. Duke787

Toasted Multigrain Bread (Breakfast) for Mrs. Duke787

Before going to the airport, we made a quick visit to Simo (founded by the Rossopomodoro NYC owner).

After a couple of delicious pizzas, it was time to head to the airport. First stop, the Virgin Clubhouse. I had always dreamed of the VS Clubhouse but never quite had the credentials to make it in (since then my DL PM has allowed me access a few times). Needless to say by this point my now wife was used to the pre-departure lounge requirements and we made our way to the Virgin Clubhouse. I snagged some Indian food and we toasted with some Lanson champagne while looking out at our chariot across the Atlantic for the night:

Sorry to interrupt you dear. Seems like they are about to start boarding. You know I want to be one of the first on board.Before we get on board, here’s the golden ticket. The boarding pass I’ve waited years to hold, that will let us into that magical place at the front of an SQ A380:

Okay time to board. First impressions – holy cow. This is just as impressive in person as it looks on all those trip reports on the blogs and FlyerTalk. It feels like an old-school train cabin with the rich wood colors, the private quarters, and the top-notch flight attendants. Welcome aboard! Yes – we are 3C and 3D! On our honeymoon – how’d you guess?? Yes, we’ll take some PJs and send some champagne our way!! Let’s take a look at our digs for the next 20+ hours to Singapore:

Yes, I know we pre-ordered but of course we’ll still take a look at the menu.

Okay time for our order? I’ll stick with my pre-order, but I will take some of that satay I always hear about. Oh, and I’ll take some caviar. Great news, my wife doesn’t love caviar but she’s willing to trade some balik salmon for caviar. I’ll take that trade. Double caviar it is. And keep the champagne flowing. Let’s get a glass of both the Dom and the Krug and let’s see if we can decide on a favorite:


Cheers to us!!! Happy honeymoon!!

Okay I’m going to attempt to get a few minutes of sleep after all that gluttony!! Wait. Not so fast – remember that honeymoon cake you ordered. And how about a bottle of Dom to go with it. FINE! If you insist!

That was delicious. I can’t eat another morsel. I don’t know where we are over the Atlantic but I’m going to at least try and get a few minutes of sleep. See you in Frankfurt!

Last edited by Duke787; Apr 20, 20 at 12:02 am
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Old Apr 20, 20, 12:19 am
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Hey we’re in Frankfurt! Wait we can’t even get into the First Class Lounge much less the First Class Terminal?? Lame. Okay let’s do an obligatory stop in the LH Senator Lounge (lame) and the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge (still not worth taking pictures but at least it’s a little quieter).

Time to get back on board. Okay we’ve got another 12 hours to go. Same plane, same seats (3C and 3D), different crew, same menu (remember already pre-ordered the lobster to not to worry). Let’s get this show on the road!!

Look at that -- ended up with two caviar dishes again!! How did that happen???? Both were delicious of course.

The pre-ordered lobster. Honestly not that great. Very tough -- definitely not what I was expecting. Not sure I would order that again.

Okay -- SQ, you can save things with the cheese plate. You know i can't resist a quality cheese plate. Just remember to skip the lobster in the future.

Yes we both had our beds down the the doors closed. No further comment...............(many hours later)....it's morning??? We're almost in Singapore?!?!? Why of course I'll take that fruit plate with a side of Dom and Krug (still can't decide after 20 hours)!!!

Okay we're nearly in Singapore. Wow what a journey. Not to worry -- we'll go check out the SQ F lounge, then hop on a flight to Bali, and then after 25+ hours, we'll finally be able to start relaxing and enjoying the honeymoon. See you there!!

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Old Apr 22, 20, 12:08 pm
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Enjoying the look back on your past travels!!

SQ Suites for 2/3's the way around the world isn't a bad way to travel
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Old Apr 25, 20, 10:45 am
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Great report so far. SQ F looks amazing. Congratulations on the wedding!
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Old May 2, 20, 12:22 am
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Okay for the bad news. Our layover in Singapore is relatively short so it’s straight to the F lounge near our flight (no Private Room – but we’ll get our chance in a few days). The other bad news. I forgot to take pictures in the F lounge, but it was a pretty solid F lounge. Had some curry and paratha and they also had Piper Heisdeck Millesime which was excellent and certainly held its own against the Dom and Krug. Now time to head to Bali. Today’s plane is one of the brand spanking new 787-10s that SQ recently acquired. This flight we’ll be in the back in Y, but don’t worry there’s a method to the madness. By purchasing SIN – DPS – SIN separately, we can tack on SIN – SYD on the A380 in Suites for essentially free. That means we’ve got another 7-8 hours in Suites plus the Private Room.

Back to this flight. Thankfully we’ve still got our Suites tickets and can board straightaway. There’s the beautiful bird taking us today:

Yeah this is a bit of a step down from the Suites. Still perfectly fine for two hours. A decent meal in there too:


Enough of that. The flight was fine, the seat was fine, we survived. And after 28+ hours of traveling we finally made it to Bali. This was our first (and to date only) visit to Bali and we put in quite a bit of research deciding where to stay. We knew the second half of our honeymoon would be essentially a beach vacation in Bora Bora so we ultimately decided to steer clear of Jimbaran or Nusa Dua and instead heading up north to Ubud.
Once we had that settled, I did a ton of research on FT and other places and ultimately landed on five days at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah as our choice (since renamed to “Tanah Gajah, a Resort by Hadiprana”) and what a great choice it was. They had a great location and included a great set of benefits including free minibar (beer and liquor included), a butler (Alit, who after I told him of my wife's Diet Coke preference promptly removed all other soda and made sure we had plenty of Diet Cokes every day) and daily laundry which was great given our 2+ week trip:

Day 1

Upon arrival we were welcomed with a drink and then quickly shown to Villa 8. A one-bedroom club pool villa. I did some research beforehand and found out that Villa 8 was both private and featured a great view out to the rice paddies from the plunge pool. After many hours we finally arrived in our home for the next 5 days and it was worth the flight.

After we got settled, we took a walk around the grounds and needless to say they are beautiful. The entire property is set on a rice paddy about 10 minutes outside of town anchored by a pool (which we didn’t use since we had our own) and the Tempayan. There was also a pond with both white and black geese (first time I’ve ever seen black geese in person).

Last edited by Duke787; May 2, 20 at 12:43 am
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Old May 2, 20, 1:00 am
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Day 2

We had a nice sleep (as expected after all that travel) and once awake made our way over to breakfast. Breakfast was included with our rate and every morning that meant a cappuccino (or espresso for my wife), a fresh fruit plate, and your choice off the menu of freshly prepared meals. For me that meant an egg white omelet with peppers, onions, and cheese plus a mini hashbrown. All brought together by a view over out over the rice paddies and a daily one-pager with the headlines from around the globe:

In the afternoon we took the free shuttle into town and explored Ubud for the first time. Lots of cool stores including the knockoff Polo Ralph Lauren.

We eventually made our way to dinner at Bridge Ubud, a highly rated dinner spot according to the research I did. Well throw that research out, the dinner was pretty awful. The meat was bland (and overcooked), the view was non-existent at night, and overall was very disappointing. It actually led us to cancel our other dinner reservations and just stick with dinner at the hotel for the rest of the trip:

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