When we first started traveling abroad, I figured our year long wanderings would end one of two ways:
1) After traveling for a year we’d be so sick of it, that we’d immediately settle somewhere and never leave.
2) Our travel obsession would get worse and we’d have problems staying anywhere for longer than a month.
Unfortunately, it looks like it’s #2.
Mrs. Selfish and I have been settling into San Francisco for two weeks now, and I’m already starting to get antsy. While it’s nice to have a slightly more permanent home (at least for the next few months), I miss the call of the open road.
Fortunately, I anticipated this outcome and booked a new trip back in July. Come late November, we’re heading to the Maldives and Okinawa for scuba diving, by way of Hong Kong and Fukuoka, Japan!
Let’s see if the Maldives is everything it’s cracked up to be!
Okinawa, Japan’s Winter Paradise.
Booking the Flights
Long term readers of the blog (hi Mom!) will remember that I’m a huge fan of American Airline’s One World Explorer ticket. For our last trip, Mrs. Selfish and I spent 180,000 AA miles each on a business class ticket that took us to 16 locations across Asia, Oceania, and the States.
Somehow, during the course of our Selfish Year abroad Mrs. Selfish and I managed to accrue an additional 300,000 AA miles, thanks to a combination of AA cards, Bank Direct, and Fidelity promotional offers. Clearly the miles weren’t going to spend themselves.
Giving Cathay Pacific another shot!
This time around we ended up flying a total distance of 19,847 miles flown, so the tickets ending up coming to a total of 130,000 AA miles each for business class. Had we gone over 20,000 miles the tickets would have bumped up in price to 150,000 AA miles.
That meant we had to pay the Okinawa-Tokyo portion out of pocket. By using British Airway’s avios award chart, I booked the OKA-HND portion for 7,500 BA miles instead of 20,000 AA miles. Score!
I initially planned this trip with the intention of staying at the Conrad Maldives, which we booked prior to the great Hilton Devaluation. While I had the nights booked preemptively, the trip became a reality when Cathay Pacific opened a direct flight from Hong Kong to the Maldives!
So where are we staying? It turns out we’re hitting 4 out of 5 of the big chains: IHG, Hilton, Hyatt, and the Marriott.
For Hong Kong we’ll be staying in the Intercontinental Hong Kong for 45,000 IHG points, which we earned thanks in part to our stays in Yellowstone. Although Mrs. Selfish is an Ambassador member, we’ll be paying to upgrade to a Harbor view room, which is the #1 reason to stay at the Intercontinental.
One night in Hong Kong with this view? I’ll take it!
I look forward to catching up on my dim sum, grabbing some cheap massages, sipping afternoon tea at the Ritz Carlton, and ending it all with some peking duck.
We arrive in Male pretty late, so we’ll be crashing at a local hotel for our first night. Following that we fly out to the Conrad Maldives for 3 nights, using two award certificates and 50,000 HHonors points.
While I’d love to stay at the property longer, we couldn’t rustle up another night or two in time. Fortunately, the flight out is pretty late, so we’re basically there for 4 days.
This will all be underwater in a few decades.
Having stayed at the Conrad Koh Samui, and the Hilton Bora Bora, the Conrad Maldives is the last top dream redemption using HHonors points. I’m looking forward to seeing how it stacks up to the other two properties, though I can’t imagine anything beating the Hilton BB.
For Fukuoka, Mrs. Selfish and I will be returning to the awesome Grand Hyatt. This time we paid out of pocket (gasp!), but used one of Mrs. Selfish’s suite upgrade certificates. According to the Hyatt rep I spoke with on the phone, this should get us access to the lounge, which means free breakfast, afternoon tea, and happy hour.
Mrs. Selfish and I are looking forward to further exploring Fukuoka, and eating our weight in ramen, gyoza, and other Fukuoka specialties.
For our 4 days in Okinawa we’re renting a car and spending 2 nights in Naha, Okinawa’s main city, where we’ll be staying at the Doubletree. We’ll take in the local eats, and some of the island’s best dive sites. For the two nights we’re heading north to stay at the Ritz Carlton Okinawa, to the tune of 40,000 Marriott Reward points a night!
Our first Ritz Carlton stay. Looks intense.
Okinawa seems to be one of the most diverse prefectures in Japan. Technically, it was a completely separate country up until roughly 150 years ago, so its own unique culture, architecture, and food. I’m pretty excited to check it out!
What do you guys think? Did we do alright? Does anyone have any tips for Fukuoka/Okinawa/Hong Kong?