Thursday, May 3, 2012

Last BMI Hoorah: Introduction


I had about 80,000 BMI miles that I had to used up thanks to IAG's puchase of BMI. Sure, I could have just left the miles but it seemed a better value just using them up than having them converted to British Airways Avios. I was also reluctant of booking a trip far in the future as I wasn't sure where we would be and whether we would be able to travel or not with a move to Austin for work coming soon.

After looking at our options and flight availability, we "squeezed in" a short getaway to Mumbai, Seychelles and Dubai in between a business trip to the US and a wedding in Australia. Lydia also had exams in a couple of weeks and figured this would be a good break before her final crunch time. More importantly, we were spending this trip celebrating her birthday as I would be in Australia during her actual birthday.

On the Star Alliance network, Seychelles is served only by Ethiopian Airlines through its main airport of Addis Ababa. I was looking forward to trying out a new airline! For the outbound, we started of the trip in Singapore, where I was getting back from a business trip to the US, and spending 2 nights in Mumbai before flying straight through to Seychelles via Addis Ababa. For the flight back home, we would be flying to Dubai (again via Addis Ababa) and onwards to Bangkok and Penang for Lydia and Kuala Lumpur for me on Thai Airways. We did think about stopping over for a night in Addis Ababa but were put off by the visa application and it didn't seem like there was anything interesting to see/do.

Booking the flights was relatively easy although the agents did have to check with their supervisors as to whether to routing/MPM was legal since Seychelles was in the same zone as the rest of India/Maldives. The trip ended up costing 78,750 miles in total and ~$700 USD in taxes which was amazing value since a real ticket would have cost 2-3 times more.

Hotels for this trip was paid for entirely by vouchers which were going to expire. Lydia had expiring Accor Advantage Plus free night stays which we used for in Mumbai. We used our free nights from the Q4FN Hilton promos for the stay in Seychelles and Dubai. The rooms in Hilton Northolme Seychelles were going for ~400 Euros a night (a price definitely out of our price range) and this was great use of the free nights!

I was reminded by a post on flyertalk that we needed yellow fever vaccine shots even though we were just transiting through Addis Ababa. It was a good reason to just take the shots and the shots were good up to 10 years. We were happy we could now travel to places like Brazil, etc without worrying about having to go take the shots.

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