I woke up today to the news of wide open 2022 award inventory from Conrad Bora Bora. This is BIG news, like drop everything you’re doing and get on it big. I did my duty and am sitting on a stay for next summer. I hope some of y’all got in on it too. If not, there are still some dates available. Here’s March 2022:
However, that’s still in the rainy season (Nov – Mar). As the title of this post suggests, I won’t consider it. Why? I’ll explain in a bit. But first, let me just acknowledge what a UNICORN this inventory dump was. I have been following its award trends recently, and it’s one of the toughest awards I’ve ever pursued. Here’s a recap of my experience over the years, including finer times early on:
- I first looked for availability in 2014. I got my Citi Hilton Reserve (RIP) free nights around March and had no problem piecing together a 4-night stay for July (high season). Availability was plenty.
- in 2018, I started planning for a stay a year out. At the time, there was reliable award availability a year out, and almost nothing before then. The year-ahead availability would stick around for a day or so before disappearing (presumably snatched up).
- In recent months, the property upped their game. They release award inventory about a year out, but in a completely unpredictable way: they would release a tiny amount of the entire month’s inventory on a random day/time. This entire month’s awards would be snatched up in a hour or so. If you missed it, good luck next month. You had to check 10 times daily, and even then some people still missed it!
(I have tried Open Hotel Alert, but it didn’t work that well for me.)
So to go from “monthly award released at a totally random time for 1hr” to “the entire year is available” is pretty extreme! I wasted no time, as the dump had happened the previous morning and I was already late to the party.
Why I’m Picky about When to go
My first visit to Bora Bora was pure paradise. I was new to miles and points and loved the luxury and pampering. Since I went in July, the weather was great – sunny skies and perfectly turquoise water. However, on the last day, it got cloudy, and the whole place changed. It was dark and gray, and so was the mood. I remember thinking what a waste it would be if more of my time there were like that.
We’re talking about this kind of difference:
I can’t speak for anyone else, but the sunny sky and turquoise water makes a huge difference to me. It sets the mood. An overcast day in that kind of environment is depressing to me. Don’t get me wrong, I can handle a few hours of it out of a few days, but I don’t want that to be the defining condition of my exhaustively planned, top dollar (or points) vacation.
One of my all-time favorite places, Ha Giang province in Vietnam, was very rainy and view-obstructive when I went. However, it’s meant to be a rugged experience so I didn’t mind it. It’s just that when I’m staying at a $1,000 hotel whose selling point is relaxing in a picture perfect lagoon-front lounge chair when you’re not snorkeling (whose visibility depends on sunlight), the importance is amplified.
In a Nutshell
Maldives and Bora Bora are too pretty and expensive to not experience on sunny days. For me it’s either going in the dry season or not at all.
Would you go in the rainy season?
We did 10 days in July 2018 at the Conrad Bora Bora and had perfect weather (clear skies). We did 10 more days in July 2019 at the same Conrad Bora Bora property and had terrible weather (high winds, gloomy skies). I learned through the experience that you can’t time and plan the weather. There are times when weather is perfect in Feb, March. There are other times when it rains non stop for two weeks in Feb.
We have been at the Conrad Maldives three times in December. Perfect weather each time. My brother and his family were there a week before us in 2019 (mid December) and had nothing but rain for 6 days.
Points Adventure says
Yep, we can’t control the weather, all we can do is maximize our chances with historical data.