- Honeymoon Around the World: Part 1
- Honeymoon Around the World: Part 2 (this post)
- Honeymoon Around the World: Part 3 (future post)
Planning the Rest of Our Trip
Upgrading the Economy Tickets from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives
The first change of landscape was that we were suddenly richer as the 50k bonus had come through from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card. Also, I received 10% of the miles back from my 180k first class booking (a perk of the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card). So with over 90k miles I decided I would begin to hunt for the second portion of our trip to Australia.
The second change was that Etihad availability had suddenly decreased and was only available for First Class within three days of travel.
The third change was that American Airlines was no longer seeing Etihad availability. I re-started my search by trying to upgrade the economy legs of our trip from Abu Dhabi to the Maldives. I saw one Business Class ticket available on the Etihad website. I called American Airlines and I was sternly told that there was no availability even when I was seeing it on the screen. I found some information about ‘QMAX’ via MileValue, a system for completing an itinerary. Since we had paid for First Class but were only receiving economy tickets I thought they might complete the award for us, like this article from Scott explains.
However, after a few attempts I gave up as it looked like the merger had ended this program. In a timely fashion Scott released this post about calling the American Airlines service center in Australia to book Etihad award space…this worked! The Americans could not (or as it seemed to me were told not to) see the award space but the Australian AA call center found it and made the booking by splitting my fiancé’s and my awards.
I waited patiently and a few months later a second Business Class ticket opened up and we were able to jump on it for myself using the exact same strategy—this time the Australian agent challenged whether I was actually in Australia (perhaps the volume of American accents had increased). I hung up quickly not being sure if they had caller ID. I called back and used an Australian accent to complete the booking with a new agent– this time there were no worries and there were no fees at all to make the change!
I hoped that First Class tickets would open up within three days of the flight and waited to see if they would become available. Unfortunately they never opened up but we still enjoyed our Business Class seats.
Here are some photos from our time in the Maldives…
From the Maldives to Bangalore
In parallel to upgrading our Abu Dhabi to the Maldives flights I looked at booking the second portion of our trip. Since we were so close to India we wanted to visit my grandmother so that she could meet my wife. I looked at using miles to book to Bangalore from Maldives, but the rates weren’t that attractive and the only direct flight was on Air India. Not wanting to make a short two hour flight turn into a long mess by transiting through a different city, I used this MileValue advice to book the ticket with cash ($160 each, $380 total).
Here is a photo of my wife, grandmother, and I in Bangalore.
Next, it was time to figure out how to get from Bangalore to our final international destination of the honeymoon: Australia. At least, we thought it would be our final international destination….