My Fourth Around the World Trip (India + Singapore)

After the misery that was Christmas 2021 (we all got COVID-19), and a rough fall 2022 where I was constantly sick from one virus to the next, things were finally looking up at the start of December. I was finally sickness free and ready to go on my first trip in over three months. It’s not like this trip to India wasn’t planned ahead of time, but I always feared a last minute cancellation given the previous year’s events. And so I ended up booking my tickets using miles as opposed to paying for the tickets (BA actually had a very juicy $2600 fare from DFW to Chennai). Because of a lack of travel throughout the course of the pandemic, we had accumulated a decent stash of points for this trip.

How I booked the flights: 

DFW to Delhi

I became an Aeroplan 75k Elite Member in 2021 due to a generous status match challenge they were running at the time. And so my dad and I ended up with a bunch of Aeroplan eUpgrades to use. Luckily Aeroplan opens up its calendar exactly 365 days ahead of time and their was wide open availability for 4 people on Air Canada’s new Montreal to Delhi nonstop. The cost to me was 62,000 Aeroplan points + 13 eUpgrades per passenger for DFW-YUL-DEL. I could’ve just as well chosen to pay for the tickets but I already had a decent stash of Aeroplan points to make the booking.

About six months out, Air Canada cancelled the Saturday departure leaving me with the choice of either spending a night in Toronto before catching a flight over to Delhi or flying Lufthansa via Frankfurt. I ended up choosing Lufthansa because it gave me a Friday afternoon departure, which was more convenient for work.

Delhi to Hyderabad

For our flight from Delhi to Hyderabad, I booked Vistara economy for my sister and I for 7500 United miles each while I booked Vistara business for my parents for 15,000 United miles each. Nothing special at all here, other than the crazy lines at New Delhi Airport I suppose.

Hyderabad to Madurai

We flew Indigo from Hyderabad to Madurai and it cost 5000 INR per person or around 80 bucks. The flight was only 90 minutes so not much to report on.

Hyderabad to DFW

For the way back I was able to find four award seats on Singapore Airlines from Hyderabad to Seattle via Singapore for ~120,000 KrisFlyer miles. I had a reasonably large stash of KrisFlyer miles from a Cambodia trip I booked for December of 2020. The Hyderabad-Singapore flight was on Singapore’s new “regional” business class product. I laugh when I say this because it’s an outstanding product in its own right.

The Seattle flight ended up getting cancelled for the day I booked it and all the other flights to the U.S were booked solid so the agent put us on a flight to LAX on the 1st of January with a 3 night layover in Singapore.

We stayed a night in LAX before flying Southwest back to Midland (MAF) on the 2nd of January. The cost of these flights were approximately $120 per person, the experience however ended up being priceless. Here is a view of SoCal and the stars soon after leaving LAX and steering back to the mainland:

How I booked the hotels: 

New Delhi

We stayed a single night at the Andaz Delhi next to IGIA (DEL airport) for which I paid for using 8,000 points. It was a late hour and I have to say it was an odd experience, which I will talk about in detail.

For our next two nights in New Delhi, we stayed at the Leela Palace using our AMEX Platinum Fine Hotels and Resorts credits (amounts to $200 per year per card). The rate we booked was $280 per night and included breakfast as well as a $100 food/beverage credit for each room. So I definitely came out ahead despite spending $80 out of pocket per room per night.

Hyderabad

We stayed at the Park Hyatt Hyderabad for the majority of our stay in India. It ended up costing 8,000 points per night per room. My dad is a Hyatt Globalist so he got a complimentary suite upgrade throughout our stay.

Madurai, Tamil Nadu

In Madurai we booked the Marriott Courtyard for two nights, which seems to be one of the only decent hotels in town. The rate booked was ~$110 per night and I was offered free breakfast based on my Marriott Platinum status from the AMEX Bonvoy Brilliant Card.

Munnar, Kerala

In Munnar I booked a “Moonlight Bliss Room” at the Fragrant Nature Munnar Resort for $150 per night for three nights. The rate included breakfast as well as evening tea and snacks.

Singapore

In Singapore, I booked the Andaz Singapore for 18,000 points per night. Again because of my dad’s Hyatt Globalist status, we got upgraded to rooms with views of the Singapore skyline. So on New Year’s Eve we were treated to the fireworks (albeit at an angle) from our hotel room.

 

The Sights 

Delhi was the usual mix of pollution, traffic, and some pretty decent architecture. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening out at the Qutab Minar, but hated our time spent in traffic trying to visit the Red Fort.

My time in Hyderabad was mostly spent working from my hotel or taking care of work related events. I did get a chance to have a splendid walk at KBR “National” Park one cool morning where the light rays were just going berserk.

And then there were the beautiful temples of Tamil Nadu from another time: the Meenakshi Temple in Madurai and the Brihadishvara Temple in Thanjavur. They were stunning works of art and our experiences contrasted night and day between the two.

 

The highlight of my trip had to be my trip to Kerala and the Western Ghats region of Southern India. The layers upon layers of tea plantations with the silhouetted mountains as the backdrop were just next level. I couldn’t get enough of them:

And then of course there was sticky and hot Singapore, which never fails to impress on one note or another. There’s always a new attraction or two to see in this city. I finally got to visit the famed “Jewel” at Changi before catching my flight back to the US:

 

Credit Cards that made this trip possible/affordable:

Card(s) I HIGHLY Recommend:

Card(s) which may be useful depending on your circumstances:

Card(s) I don’t particularly Recommend at the moment:  

Anyway stay tuned for this trip report over the next week or so. Here is the trip report index for your quick reference. I will update the links as I go through and finish it up:

Trip Report Index

Introduction: Xmas in India & NYE in Singapore

Lufthansa Business Class DFW-Frankfurt-Delhi

Lufthansa Business Class Lounge B @ Frankfurt

Andaz Delhi

The Leela Palace – New Delhi

Park Hyatt Hyderabad

Hyderabad to Madurai: A Pictorial Journey

Courtyard by Marriott Madurai

Focal Point: The Temples of Thanjavur & Madurai

Fragrant Nature Munnar

Singapore Airlines Regional Business Class Hyderabad – Singapore

Andaz Singapore

SilverKris Lounge Singapore

Singapore Airlines Long Haul Business Singapore – Los Angeles

Hyatt House LAX/Century Blvd

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