Hey, it's Ben Schlappig here, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, and the guy who introduced you to my uber-luxury travel lifestyle — which I've achieved by using miles and points. When we last left off I had managed to book a $12,000 flight from Hong Kong to London for nearly free compared to that rate, with the first-class cabin all to myself (yes, really). But in the meantime, I was enjoying myself at the W hotel in Bali.
The chic interior of the W hotel in Bali
Day two at the W in Bali was especially fun, as my boyfriend, Ford, was joining us for a portion of the trip. Originally, he wasn’t going to come for the trip, but we realized it’s Valentine’s Day, so he might as well. Besides, that’s the beauty of miles and points — it’s easy to fly someone halfway around the world in comfort at the very last minute.
Ford does a great job tolerating (and even embracing) my crazy hobby and lifestyle. When we first met and traveled together, he was understandably confused when I told him we were going to travel internationally at a certain time, and that I’d take care of flights last minute. But since then, he has become a champ about dealing with that.
My boyfriend, Ford, who is easy-going enough to go along with all of my last-minute planning!
The day before departure I found business class availability for him on Virgin Australia from Los Angeles to Brisbane to Bali. That’s right, he was routing from the US to Asia via Australia. As crazy as that might sound, it’s just about the most direct routing, and consisted of a 14-hour flight followed by a five-hour flight (that’s roughly the same as taking the most direct routing, from Los Angeles to Hong Kong to Bali, for example).
So, he arrived in the afternoon, and then a couple of hours later we headed to the waterfront bar for sunset cocktails. While this hotel doesn’t really have a swimmable beach this time of year, the sunset views we had out over the ocean were among the best sunsets I’ve seen in a long time. They also had a live DJ at sunset, so it was a fun ambiance.
Ford was understandably jet lagged, so we took advantage of one of this hotel’s unique features — a 24-hour spa. They even get you discounts if you get a treatment overnight. That might sound crazy, but with crazy work hours combined with jet lag, I can sometimes use a massage at an odd hour. So, we scheduled a 4 a.m. massage after getting a solid night of sleep.
What better way to manage jet lag than with a 4 a.m. massage?
The spa had all of the products and amenities we could need.
What Ford didn’t find out until he arrived in Bali is that we’d be going to London the next day via Hong Kong. As I’ve said several times before now, I plan all my travel last minute, and let award availability dictate the routings we take. So, the idea behind this trip was truly that we’d go wherever the award availability took us. In this case, that meant going to London a day after Ford arrived in Asia.
Fortunately, Ford has learned to let go of control a bit when it comes to flight planning. He tells me where he wants to go and when, and I find the award space — even if it’s just hours before departure. When we first met, it would make him super anxious, but over time he has gotten used to it — I haven't let him down yet!
As we were flying out the next day we got a major surprise at the airport in Bali. Cathay Pacific did a surprise Valentine's Day flash mob at our gate. A great flight and a free show to boot. Doesn't get much better!
Get ready for our next adventure as we spend a few hours in Hong Kong before jetting halfway around the world again.
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Ben Schlappig, the blogger behind One Mile at a Time, experiences about $1 million worth of travel every year using miles and points — and covers about 400,000 miles annually this way. Ben has teamed up with Bravo’s Jet Set for a series called The Upgrade, in which he shows you how you — yes, you! — can score real-world-ready strategies for upping your travel game. Come along for the adventure!
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