Cleared for Takeoff: Utilizing factors and miles for an epic twentieth anniversary on a non-public island

Cleared for Takeoff is a weekly collection exhibiting readers such as you the very best methods to e book post-pandemic adventures utilizing factors and miles. Should you’d like recommendations on reserving your individual journey utilizing miles, please e mail us along with your most well-liked itinerary and present mileage steadiness.

Any anniversary is trigger for celebration, however sure milestones deserve slightly extra thought. So, for at the moment’s Cleared for Takeoff story, we’re going to assist TPG reader Richard Manning e book an unforgettable twentieth anniversary journey.

Extra particularly, we’re going to assist him e book a getaway to a non-public island within the Seychelles. Richard was involved {that a} vacation spot just like the Seychelles may not have sufficient actions for him and his spouse, however as you’ll see later, they received’t run out of issues to do on the resort.

I’ve been having fun with your columns for some time now and so they have all the time been extremely informative — thanks!

My twentieth wedding ceremony anniversary is arising subsequent yr (October 2022) and I want to take a week-long romantic journey someplace (supplied issues could have opened up for Individuals to journey overseas on this post-COVID world – each my spouse and I’ve been totally vaccinated). A seaside trip to Bora Bora or the Maldives and even the Seychelles looks like a quintessential journey in principle (and positively an iconic twentieth anniversary vacation spot) however could also be too boring if it’s a full week of simply lounging round a seaside as we’re each fairly lively — we take pleasure in climbing and sightseeing along with lounging on a seaside/pool or spa.

Do you’ve got any options of locations we might go?

Richard has a hefty stash of American Specific Membership Rewards factors, Marriott Bonvoy factors, American Airways AAdvantage miles and Delta SkyMiles. Comply with alongside as I share how they need to redeem their factors and miles for this epic journey.

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In This Put up

Present factors stash

Seychelles, North Island, main beach
(Picture by Laurence Monneret/Getty Pictures)

Richard presently has over one million American Specific Membership Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy factors, in addition to loads of American Airways and Delta miles. He shouldn’t have any bother protecting each airfare and resorts together with his present steadiness.

  • 1,029,727 American Specific Membership Rewards factors.
  • 1,200,212 Marriott Bonvoy factors.
  • 280,300 American Airways AAdvantage miles.
  • 75,398 Delta SkyMiles.
  • 7,640 United MileagePlus miles.
  • 4,508 Southwest Fast Rewards factors.
  • 26,754 Hilton Honors factors.

Richard talked about that he was capable of earn such a big steadiness by stockpiling his factors following the switchover from Starwood Most well-liked Visitor to Marriott Bonvoy. He additionally earns factors with playing cards just like the Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Specific® Enterprise Gold Card, Marriott Bonvoy Amex and Marriott Bonvoy Enterprise™ American Specific® Card.

Associated: A information to incomes transferable factors and why they’re so worthwhile

Spherical-trip airfare to the Seychelles

(Picture by Benji Stawski/The Factors Man)

Route: RDU-PHL-DOH-SEZ on Qatar Airways in enterprise class; SEZ-DOH-PHL-RDU on Qatar Airways in enterprise class.

Miles wanted: 75,000 American Airways miles plus $30.70 per particular person on the outbound flight; 75,000 miles plus $86.65 on the return.

The closest airport to Richard and his spouse is Raleigh-Durham (RDU) in North Carolina. There aren’t any nonstop and even one-stop flights to Mahe, Seychelles, from there so that they’re going to wish to fly comfortably for the multistop journey.

Among the best methods to journey between the U.S. and Africa is Qatar Airways enterprise class. Not solely is it moderately priced when reserving with American Airways miles, but it surely’s additionally one of many poshest business-class merchandise within the skies.

Plus, most Qatar flights between the U.S. and Doha, Qatar, characteristic Qatar’s Qsuite, which affords couple-friendly seats in the course of the airplane that may be transformed right into a double mattress for 2.

As talked about, Richard and his spouse might want to have a minimum of two layovers — one in one among Qatar’s U.S. gateway cities, equivalent to Philadelphia (PHL), and one other in Doha (DOH). Whereas American doesn’t supply free stopovers, the couple might be able to discover Doha by reserving an extra-long layover there. In any case, Richard did point out that he’d love to do some sightseeing on this journey.

Associated: Maximizing redemptions with American Airways AAdvantage

Doha skyline
(Picture by Matteo Colombo/Getty Pictures)

The right way to e book this award with factors

Richard and his spouse’s anniversary is in October 2022. Nonetheless, you possibly can solely e book Qatar Airways awards by American Airways 331 days or much less earlier than departure so that they received’t be capable to e book their award flights but.

As soon as it’s time for them to e book their flights, they’ll have the option to take action pretty simply straight by American’s web site. On the airline’s homepage, enter your route (on this case, RDU-SEZ), choose your dates and verify off the “Redeem miles” field.

(Screenshot courtesy of

On the subsequent web page, you’ll be proven the entire accessible flight choices for the date you chose. If there aren’t any flights that be just right for you, there’s a useful calendar search instrument you should use. You too can use ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s dad or mum firm, Purple Ventures) and set alerts to be notified when award area opens up. Alternatively, in Richard’s case, it would make sense to go looking out of a gateway metropolis like Philadelphia (PHL) or New York-JFK outright and e book a separate positioning flight.

Since Richard and his spouse could have a number of stops, it’s additional vital for them to verify they’re not reserving a combined cabin itinerary.

(Screenshot courtesy of

The ultimate step is to log in to your AAdvantage account to finish the reserving. The round-trip business-class ticket prices 150,000 miles per particular person no matter the place within the U.S. you’re departing from, and the taxes and costs on this ticket ought to come out to round $120.

The right way to earn sufficient miles for this award

Richard already has about 280,000 American Airways miles, however he’ll want 300,000 miles to e book the 2 round-trip awards.

The choices for transferring miles to AAdvantage are pretty restricted, however not nonexistent.

As an example, Marriott Bonvoy factors switch to American at a 3:1 ratio, and also you’ll get a 5,000-mile bonus for each 60,000 factors you switch.

If Richard had any Citi ThankYou-earning playing cards, such because the Citi Premier® Card, he’d additionally be capable to switch ThankYou factors to AAdvantage by Nov. 13. These with a Citi Status® Card, Citi Premier Card or Citi Chairman Card can switch factors at a 1:1 ratio. Citi ThankYou Most well-liked (not accessible for brand new candidates) and Citi Rewards+® Card cardholders can switch factors at a 2:1 ratio.

There are additionally alternatives to earn American Airways miles with different companions. For instance, American Airways elite members can earn American Airways miles on World of Hyatt stays. You too can earn miles by procuring on-line by the AAdvantage procuring portal or by eating with AAdvantage eating rewards.

However maybe the simplest possibility is to choose up a cobranded American Airways bank card. Right here are some playing cards to think about and their present sign-up bonuses:

  • AAdvantage Aviator Enterprise Mastercard: As much as 80,000 miles: 50,000 miles after spending $1,000 within the first 90 days of account opening, plus 30,000 miles after spending a complete of $6,000 throughout the first 12 months.
  • CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Choose® Mastercard®: 65,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases throughout the first 4 months of account opening.
  • AAdvantage Aviator Purple World Elite Mastercard: 60,000 miles after making a purchase order and paying the annual payment throughout the first 90 days of card opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Choose® World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $2,500 on purchases throughout the first three months of account opening.
  • Citi® / AAdvantage® Govt World Elite Mastercard®: 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening.

The data for the Citi Chairman card, CitiBusiness Platinum Choose, AAdvantage Aviator Purple and the AAdvantage Aviator Enterprise playing cards has been collected independently by The Factors Man. The cardboard particulars on this web page haven’t been reviewed or supplied by the cardboard issuer.

Resort within the Seychelles

Marriott Bonvoy has only one property within the Seychelles and it’s really one among a sort. Enter North Island, a Luxurious Assortment Resort.

North Island, Seychelles
North Island, Seychelles. (Picture courtesy of North Island, a Luxurious Assortment Resort)

This resort is ready on a non-public island and has simply 11 rooms. The entry-level room is an almost 5,000-square-foot two-bedroom villa with a non-public pool. Though this would possibly appear to be the kind of trip the place you lounge on a seaside all day, the resort affords loads of actions to maintain Richard and his spouse entertained. These vary from scuba diving to kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding to biking to yoga lessons to guided walks and extra. Each keep additionally consists of complimentary breakfast and use of an island buggy.

Associated: 10 private-island resorts you possibly can e book with factors

As you’d anticipate, stays right here don’t come low-cost. Awards price 388,000 Marriott factors per night time, although that worth goes down a bit when reserving 5 or extra consecutive award nights due to Marriott’s fifth-night-free perk. Richard presently solely has sufficient Marriott Bonvoy factors for 3 nights however can increase his steadiness by transferring factors from American Specific Membership Rewards. Plus, Amex is providing a 30% bonus on all transfers to Marriott Bonvoy by Oct. 31. Which means that every further award night time prices 299,000 Amex factors, earlier than factoring within the free-fifth-night low cost.

Though that’s loads of factors, Richard shall be getting some critical worth from his factors. Money charges are sometimes round $7,000 per night time. He’ll simply must look out for additional charges, such because the obligatory helicopter switch that prices 814 euros every manner (round $960.25).

North Island Resort
North Island Resort. (Picture courtesy of North Island, a Luxurious Assortment Resort)

The right way to e book a Marriott resort with factors

The method for reserving this resort is rather like paying money. The one distinction is that you need to verify the “Use Factors/Certificates” field when looking. Word that this resort has a four-night minimal keep requirement.

North Island Bonvoy redemption
(Screenshot courtesy of

Associated: The right way to spend one million Marriott factors for an epic post-pandemic journey

The right way to earn Marriott Bonvoy factors

Richard might want to complement his Marriott Bonvoy steadiness to cowl your entire stick with factors. 

As talked about, one possibility can be to switch from American Specific Membership Rewards. Though we usually don’t advocate transferring Amex factors to Marriott, as you’ll usually lose worth, it might make sense on this situation if Richard is ready to make the most of the 30% bonus presently accessible. 

An alternative choice can be to choose up extra Marriott Bonvoy playing cards, particularly if Richard’s spouse doesn’t have any but. Listed below are the bonuses presently accessible on Marriott Bonvoy playing cards. Apart from the Marriott Bonvoy Daring Credit score Card, the entire playing cards may also present them with annual free night time certificates.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Sensible™ American Specific® Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus factors after utilizing your new card to make $3,000 in purchases throughout the first three months of card membership. Plus, earn as much as $200 in assertion credit for eligible purchases made in your new card at U.S. eating places throughout the first six months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit score Card: Earn three free night time awards (every free night time award has a redemption worth of as much as 50,000 bonus factors, for a worth of as much as 150,000 complete factors) after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening. Plus, earn 10x complete factors on as much as $2,500 in mixed purchases at grocery shops, eating places and gasoline stations throughout the first six months from account opening.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Enterprise™ American Specific® Card: Earn 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus factors after you employ your new card to make $3,000 in purchases throughout the first three months. Plus, earn as much as $150 again in assertion credit on eligible purchases made in your new card throughout the first three months of card membership.
  • Marriott Bonvoy Daring Credit score Card: Earn 30,000 bonus factors after you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first three months from account opening.

Associated: 5 methods to maximise Marriott Bonvoy award night time redemptions

Backside line

Congratulations on the upcoming anniversary, Richard! It’s nice that you just’re planning this journey up to now prematurely because it’ll offer you additional time to earn the remaining factors you want and permit you to bounce on award flights as quickly as they change into accessible.

In case you have a vacation spot in thoughts and need assistance determining your factors technique, ship us an e mail to be featured within the subsequent installment of Cleared for Takeoff.

Featured photograph courtesy of Marriott.

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