Sunday, 27 January 2013



Last time, I’d gotten the two of us as far as Papeete, which is the capital of Tahiti. Timings of flights means we’ll need to stay another night before we get the small plane that will take us to Bora Bora.
I’ll overnight in the intercontinental Tahiti resort, using 30K points. Again, as I am a royal ambassador, I would expect to get a two room upgrade from the £160 a night basic room, to panoramic room that normally goes for £200 a night. Not that it matters much as its just an overnight stay, but the free use of the minibar should provide a nice night cap.

Cost for room in cash: £200
Cost to me: 30K PC points.

Panoramic room

Next morning, its of to get the plane to Bora Bora. There aren’t any redemption options for this 50m short inter-island flight, so it’s another case of having to pay the full going rate (SOB !). Its a monopoly, and don’t Air Tahiti know it. £300 each is the going rate in October.
Cost to me:£600

Bora Bora...Paradise worth waiting for.

I first read about this place about 2 years ago on Flyertalk. Seems pretty idyllic to me, a lagoon based resort with over the water bungalows with wonderful scenery and great weather at the right time of the year.  My resort of choice to stay in is the intercontinental Bora Bora Resort and Thalasso Spa.

This is a 5 star property, part of the intercontinental group, and so I should get great benefits using my Royal Ambassador status. This property is extremely expensive, the cheapest over-the-water bungalow is £550 +tax a night. 7 paid nights here come to the best part of £4400 !

But I'm not gonna pay that. One of the benefits of having Royal Ambassador status is that you get a 2-4-1 weekend certificate. So I'll arrive on a Sat, use a 2-4-1 for the Sat & Sun. I will then book the remaining 5 nights here using intercontinental (Priority Club) reward points, 50K a night, so 250K for the 5 nights. The problem with booking reward nights is that there has been reports that this hotel will put you in a comparatively poor on-land bungalow for those reward nights. I don't want that. They will offer an upgrade on email when you do the booking, offering an upgrade to over the water bungalow for around £100 a night. As a royal ambassador, I'm likely to get one of the somewhat better view bungalows, and will also get the free mini-bar service.

Cost for 7 Nights at the Bora Bora Resort paying in cash: £4400
Cost to me:£1100 plus 250K Priority Club Reward Points, plus a weekend voucher

Honolulu and then to Maui

Next stop on this holiday is Maui. Its a quick return flight from Bora Bora to Papeete, and then Papeete to Honolulu. As I said previously, we've stayed in Wakiki a few times before, so this time I reckon it would be nice to visit one of the other islands.  I've settled on Maui. Its a short hop from HNL to Maui's Kapalua airport, and I reckon I won't need a overnighter in Wakiki.  The inter island flight with Mokulele Airlines is £87 each return, probably need to add a little for a case each, so let's say £100.  I have no frequent flyer options, so I'll have to pay this out.

Hotel options on this island for me have to be one of the Starwoods hotels, as I've got points options with this group. Its a toss up between the Westin Maui Resort, and the Sheraton Maui Resort. Think I'd choose the westin. SPG has a promotion, that if you stay 4 nights on points, you can get a 5th night free.  Sounds good to me. Each night in the Westin would cost $339 USD (about £225). 4 Nights on points costs 12,000 x4 with a 5th night for free = 48,000 SPG points. The points room is a garden view, but via my American Express Platinum card, I have SPG gold status, and so I'd expect an upgrade to an Ocean view, which cost $419 (£280) a night.

Westin Maui Resort

Ocean view room

Cost of flights plus room in Cash:£1600
Cost to me: £200 plus 48K SPG points

The final part of this holiday post, will detail the last couple of legs, and will then summarise the total cost if paying in cash, and what I will have paid in cash, plus how I get the required points in the various loyalty programmes.

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