One of the best ways to use miles & points is to make unforgettable memories with loved ones. And even better if you include once-in-a-lifetime experiences most folks normally wouldn’t be able to afford.
Million Mile Secrets team member Keith recently returned from a 25,000 mile around-the-world honeymoon to Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, Bali, and Singapore. I’ll let him tell you about it!
Keith: Thanks Daraius! My wife Liz and I built up hundreds of thousands of miles from credit card sign-up bonuses and bank promotions that we used to visit 5 countries on an around-the-world honeymoon.
Due to work commitments, we only had 17 days to circle the globe. This might not seem like enough time for such a trip. But, I’ll explain how we made the most of our time and enjoyed a romantic dinner at one of Amsterdam’s top restaurants, rest and relaxation in Bali, a beautiful hike and Afternoon Tea in Cape Town, cultural experiences in Dubai, and much more!
I’m happy to share how I paid ~$6,700 for a trip with a retail cost of ~$53,000!
Around-the-World Honeymoon Trip Series:
- Part 1 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Introduction & Planning
- Part 2 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Booking Flights
- Part 3 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Booking Hotels
- Part 4 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Making Airports More Enjoyable
- Part 5 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Highlights of Amsterdam, Cape Town, Dubai, Bali, and Singapore
- Part 6 – Around-the-World Honeymoon – Tips to Book YOUR Trip!
7 Honeymoons in One
Before we planned our trip, we read about different types of trips newlyweds choose for their honeymoon like:
We decided to combine all 7 types of honeymoons into 1 big trip!
Because this was our first time to all 5 countries, we relied on tools like TripAdvisor and credit card concierge services to help us plan activities and book reservations.
We especially benefited from using the Platinum Card Concierge perk with our AMEX Platinum cards to book excursions and reservations at top restaurants. I like that it can all be coordinated through email. AMEX takes care of communicating with the vendors and restaurants, which makes it super easy.
Here are highlights of our trip.
Because we were only in Amsterdam for 1 night, we wanted to dine at a top Amsterdam restaurant. Thanks to AMEX Platinum card concierge, we got a reservation at Restaurant Vinkeles, which is the number 2 restaurant in Amsterdam according to TripAdvisor.
Our expectations were certainly exceeded. We enjoyed a delicious 9-course chef’s tasting menu. And, we had the opportunity to talk with the executive chef after dinner.
The chef even gave us a box of delicious chocolates to take for the road. I think they were finished on the walk back to our hotel!
Besides a great dinner, we visited the Van Gogh Museum, took a canal tour, and walked through Dam Square and the flower market. We missed out on visiting the Anne Frank House because tickets were sold out weeks in advance. And waiting on the long line would have prevented us from seeing other attractions.
Cape Town was our favorite destination of the honeymoon. The scenery was magnificent and there was so much to do. We also lucked out with beautiful weather during our stay.
We stayed at the Belmond Mount Nelson hotel, which is known for Afternoon Tea. This was a fun experience and our table overlooked the hotel’s beautiful garden area.
One afternoon we took a 45-minute Uber ride to the Stellenbosch region of South Africa, which is known for wineries. The highlight of our visit was to the Delaire Graff Estate, which offered majestic views of the region and also had a great wine tasting.
Through our hotel, we arranged to go on a day safari to the Aquilla Private Game Reserve. It took ~2.5 hours to get to the area and then we spent ~3 hours driving through the reserve with a very knowledgeable guide.
Along the way, we saw elephants, lions, giraffes, rhinos, and hippos. It was quite the experience. We hope to make it back to Africa in the future to go on a safari in a different region.
During our time in Cape Town, we also went on a peninsula tour and saw the Cape of Good Hope and penguins at Boulders Beach. And, we visited the nearby Camps Bay part of Cape Town to watch unbelievable sunsets.
After all of the positive reviews we’ve heard, Liz and I were definitely looking forward to visiting Dubai during our honeymoon.
After checking-in to our hotel, we went to see world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. We took the elevator to the 147th floor observation deck to take pictures and really admired how the city is developed with many modern buildings.
In the evening, we booked a luxury desert tour through AMEX Platinum card concierge. This was a very memorable experience as we got to experience traditional Bedouin culture, including wearing a head scarf and a 4-course dinner with Emirati dishes.
In Dubai, we also visited the luxurious Dubai Mall and Dubai Aquarium and Underwater Zoo.
It was an amazing experience in just 24 hours!
After a 24-hour stop in Dubai and a long flight to Bali, we wanted to spend a couple of days relaxing. The St. Regis Bali had a beautiful private beach and several pools. One afternoon we rented stand up paddle boards from the hotel.
Bali has so much to see. For ~$150, we arranged a 10-hour tour with a driver and private guide to take us to Ubud, Bali. On the tour we visited:
- a Balinese Hindu temple
- Elephant safari park
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
- Tegalalang rice terrace
- Ubud Palace
We also made it to a coffee plantation where we tried the world’s most expensive coffee called Kopi Luwak. At $12 a cup, I don’t think I’ll be drinking this every morning.
Meeting the Balinese people and learning about their culture was educational and unforgettable.
The last stop on our honeymoon was Singapore. The modern city was full of energy with lots to do.
Our stay at the Marina Bay Sands hotel was definitely a highlight of our time in Singapore. You could spend a week at this hotel alone with all of entertainment, shopping, and dining options.
Just a 10-minute walk from the hotel was the very popular tourist attraction Gardens by the Bay. You can see much of waterfront gardens without paying. But we paid for admission to the Cloud Forest and Flower Dome conservatories.
We also visited the iconic Merlion statue. It was a huge tourist attraction with many folks trying to take funny selfies.
Liz and I really enjoyed the restaurants in Singapore. We ate the famous black pepper crab, which was delicious. And we had phenomenal sushi.
In the last part of the series, I’ll give you tips to book YOUR around-the-world trip!