SEA 2014: Breaking Down Costs and Concluding Thoughts

Introduction + Trip Planning
Booking a Round-the-World Award for My Sister
Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge Vancouver Airport (YVR)
Lufthansa First Class YVR to FRA Boeing 747-400
Lufthansa First Class Lounge Terminal B Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Thai Airways First Class FRA to BKK A380
Thai Airways Royal Orchid Lounge Concourse E
Thai Airways Business Class BKK to HAN 
Arriving in Hanoi
Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi
Halong Bay Tour with Indochina Junk
Golden Time Hostel II Hanoi
Early Morning Exercising in Hanoi
Vietnam Airlines Economy Class HAN to REP
Bunwin Boutique Hotel Siem Reap
Jetstar Asia Economy Class REP to SIN
Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay Singapore
Singapore Airlines Private Room (SIN)
Singapore Airlines First Class Suites SIN to NRT A380
United Global First Lounge Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT)
ANA Suite Lounge Satellite 4 Tokyo Narita Airport (NRT)
Singapore Airlines First Class Suites NRT to LAX A380


Here’s a rough breakdown of the costs of my two-week Southeast Asia trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Singapore.

Flights (my sister took different flights to get to/from Southeast Asia):
70k United miles (pre-devaluation) + $40.20 taxes and fees for one First Class award from North America to Southeast Asia
$170 for Vietnam Airlines HAN to REP
$95 for Jetstar Asia REP to SIN
92k Singapore miles (transferred from Amex MR) + ~$400 taxes and fees for one First Class Suites award from Singapore to North America, booked online
2700 Virgin America points + $2.50 for an economy class award from LAX to SFO

Hotels (these costs are shared between two people):
20k Hilton points for two nights at the Hilton Garden Inn Hanoi
$270 for two nights on the Indochina Junk (this cost is per person)
$60 for two nights at the Golden Time Hostel II
$250 for four nights at the Bunwin Boutique Hotel
60k IHG points for three nights at the Holiday Inn Express Clarke Quay

Misc (per person costs):
$9 visa preparing service
$45 visa fee for Vietnam
$20 visa fee for Cambodia
$115 for two weeks of eating in Southeast Asia
$130 in other entertainment/travel expenses (e.g. massages, taxis)

With regards to the experiences, I think Thai Airways is really underrated. People rave about their ground services (which I actually think are overrated), but I’ve never had anything but incredible service in the air. Singapore Suites is definitely something to experience, but it’s more a checkbox thing than anything else. Even though there are now a multitude of transfer partners to KrisFlyer, it’s still an expensive redemption, both in terms of points and fees.

Hanoi is an interesting city, and Halong Bay is definitely worth visiting (perhaps do Bai Tu Long Bay instead for something quieter). I was not as impressed by Angkor Wat (am I allowed to say that?)–I’m glad that I went, but I wouldn’t tell anyone to put it on their bucket list. Singapore is one of my favorite food cities in the world.

All in all, I paid less than $1500 out of pocket for an awesome, awesome trip with my sister. Considering that many might spend just that much on airfare to get an open jaw into Hanoi and out of Singapore from North America in economy, I’m super grateful for miles and points and travel knowledge that help me make my dollars stretch further and give me tastes of luxury that I would otherwise never afford.

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