The nice thing if you know your schedule and meetings well in advance is you have enough time to search for airfares or award availability.
I already knew dates of meetings for 2014 back in late August 2013 and decided to see, if can use some of my US Airways Dividend Miles for this trip to Taipei and Bangkok, especially after Eva Airways had joined Star Alliance which increased the number of possible flights to Taipei quite a bit.
Using US Airways Miles back in 2013 meant I was limited to Star Alliance because they did not switch alliances before March 30, 2014. This was on the one had good, as I wanted to fly Star Alliance, on the other hand, if something went wrong on this trip, I could be sure, that US Airways would be most likely unable to do anything. But having some experience I decided to take that risk.
Searching for award availability was not really a big problem. Flying to Taipei was possible on several days and since TG showed First Class awards seats from Frankfurt to Bangkok and on to Hong Kong I decided to fly First instead of Business Class. It was only 20000 miles more and trying out the Thai A 380, which I flew in October 2013 in Business Class between Bangkok and Hong Kong, seems to be a good option. From Hong Kong to Taipei Eva Airways had wide availability on Business Class and so it was not really difficult to book it making use of an overnight transfer in Hong Kong.
From Taipei to Bangkok was a little bit more difficult but Eva Airways was showing Business Class awards seats available and since I did not get any seats at this time in First on Hong Kong to Bangkok I decided to book this flight. On the one hand, waiting could mean, the seats to Hong Kong could not be available any more, on the other hand, Eva Airways was using the 777-300ER for this flights as it continued to London and trying out their long-haul product was also one of the things I wanted to do.
Back to Frankfurt from Bangkok was again the A 380 in First Class with Thai Airways. I had a week in Taiwan and over a week in Bangkok. US Airways used Points.com for buying / gifting points..
Flying within South East Asia is usually not a problem and there are quite often even special sales available. I had to go to Kuala Lumpur to catch up with a colleague and decided to book Malaysia Airlines as they had special fares in Business Class to various destinations. And since Taiwan to Thailand was cheaper than Taiwan to Malaysia, I booked Taipei – Kuala Lumpur – Bangkok – Kuala Lumpur – Taipei with an overnight transfer in Kuala Lumpur. The main reason to use Malaysia Airlines was than Taipei – Kuala Lumpur is more than 2000 miles which means I will earn longhaul tier points on my British Airways Executive Club Account.
The stopover in Bangkok, which was longer than the time I spend at my final destination Taipei, was also not really Bangkok. Having been there, I decided to pamper myself with a pool villa at the Le Meridien Khao Lak, before this hotel left Starwood. I have stayed there in 2007 and given that the recent reports were not that good any more, decided to book it and see myself. To fly to Phuket, I booked a flexible Business Class ticket on Thai, flexible for the main reason if I had to rearrange the flights in case anything went wrong or there was a schedule change. I decided to risk a 4 hour layover in Bangkok connecting from Taipei – Bangkok instead of spending a night in Bangkok.
As I learned that another friend / client wanted to catch up with me in Singapore, I booked Malaysia Airlines from Phuket to Singapore via Kuala Lumpur and back from Singapore to Bangkok again with an overnight transfer in Kuala Lumpur.
In the end, it was a nice trip with no flight in Economy Class, long haul in First and intra-Asian flights in Business Class. I helped me to re-qualify for my British Airways Executive Club Silver Card. It was also a relaxing way to fly and to spend more than two weeks in Asia.
If it came to hotels, I used my SPG Platinum re-qualification gift for a three night award stay at the Sheraton Taipei, a Hyatt Regency Diamond Suite Upgrade at the Hyatt Regency Tsim Sha Tsui Hong Kong and the Grand Hyatt Singapore and stayed the most times at Starwood Hotels with the exception of Singapore, where I split my two nights between the aforementioned Grand Hyatt and the Conrad. I was also able to get the Pool Villa at the Le Meridien for a three night special rate including breakfast for a reasonable price. Of course I maxed out any possible promotion during this time …
Of course, I could not travel always this way, but 2014 was a special year for me and every now and then I simply have to pamper myself with a little bit of luxury to survive during the everyday routine …