More than a destination, Bali is a state of mind. Long a tropical getaway from the Hippie Trail, Bali remains a stylish spiritual retreat for all walks of life. With beautiful people and Hindu culture, the island provides entertainment, relaxation and enlightenment to its many visitors each year. With yoga retreats, surf camps, family resorts, peaceful rice paddies and scores of pagodas, everyone can find a sense of discovery and awe in this tranquil beautiful gem in the Lesser Sundra Islands.
Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), just outside Denpasar, is the 2nd
busiest in Indonesia, serving over 23 million passengers in 2018. As such, it is
very well served by multiple international carriers. No US airline, however, flies
directly to DPS so creativity helps when booking award travel to Bali.
If you have Star Alliance miles, United flies from the US to Singapore, where it's relatively easy to find award and/or cheap tickets to Bali. Additionally, United partners Lufthansa and ANA both connect in their respective hubs of Frankfurt and Tokyo and continue directly to DPS. Another good option using United miles is to use them on Singapore's Business or Suites Class for a luxurious treat, connecting in Singapore.
Using Oneworld, American flies to Japan where you can connect to DPS on partner JAL, while British Airways flies to Bali via London. Do watch out for BA's famous UK transit surcharges when using this route.
For Skyteam, there are multiple options including Delta which flies to DPS via Tokyo, as well as partners Korean Air, Air France and China Airlines. There can be some great business class award seats using Delta SkyMiles on their partners' flights.
Given the number of flights into & out of Denpasar, it can be relatively easy finding awards back to the US, Europe, further into Southeast Asia, India or even Australia directly from Bali. Use the same methodology above to look for partner awards. A number of SE Asian low cost carriers serve the Denpasar - Singapore route (Air Asia for example), and these tickets can often be found for relatively low cost considering the distance. Note that Bali is close in flight time to a number of interesting destinations. Perth, Australia and Bangkok, Thailand are about 4 hours away, Singapore less than 3 hours, and Borneo's Kalikpapan airport is less than 2 hours. Alternatively, many travelers go east and west from Bali to other parts of Indonesia. Yogyakarta is a lovely traditional Indonesian artisan city in central Java, less than 2 hours by air from DPS. Or you could hop a boat from Bali and head to lovely Lombok or the stunning Gili islands.
Bali is full of serene and beautiful hotels, and all the major hotel award groups have stunning properties in Bali. The fabulous Intercontinental Bali has an incredible location right on Jimbaran beach, and can booked for 40,000 IHG points or about USD $200 per night. This is a great spot for families in particular. In peaceful Ubud, an amazing value can found with World of Hyatt points at the Viceroy Bali. Use 30,000 Hyatt points, or USD $1650 for a night. That rate values Hyatt points at $0.055 each, which is also a great value if you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to your World of Hyatt account. And in Bali's far south, try the St. Regis Bali Resort in Nusa Dua for 85,000 Marriott points or USD $420 per night.
We have 3 tips for Bali.
Tip #1: On Jimbaran beach (just in front of the Intercontinental) on Saturday nights, a number of "Warungs" are set up right on the sand. These are basically family-run seafood grill restaurants, where an incredible assortment of delicious fish is cooked and served right in front of you on fires in the sand. Quite an experience.
Tip #2: Massage is a must in Bali. In addition to the pricey treatments at your hotel, there are often small massage schools in many towns (Seminyak and Ubud in particular) where incredible massages can be had for less than USD $20.
Tip #3: Monkeys. Watch out for them. Consider yourself warned!