Earlier this week I compiled a list of options how to get to the Maldives on miles.
Once you get there you will need a good place to stay. Male island is very tiny and to experience the Maldives you need to select a nearby resort.
However there are some outstanding resorts which you can get for free or very little cash. Let's focus on them.
1) Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
The Park Hyatt is a category 6 hotel and requires 22,000 Gold Passport Points/ night. If you do not have any Hyatt points you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio.
Additionally you (and your spouse) can sign up for the Chase Hyatt card.
The card will give you 2 free nights anywhere including the Park Hyatt Maldives.
So if both of you sign up for the Chase Sapphire Visa card and the Chase Hyatt – that's almost 8 nights in paradise for free!
Before you travel get the Hyatt Diamond status (through a status challenge) and receive free, sumptuous breakfast.
Note that the flight from Male to the resort will cost about $500/person. Also the resort will charge you for lunch and dinner and while good it won't come super cheap.
2) Conrad Maldives Rangali Island & Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi Resort & Spa
Both resorts charge 95,000 Hilton Honors points/night since the recent changes (50,000 before or 35,000 with AXON awards).
Both are very well rated by travelers.
Hilton provides free breakfast to Gold and Diamond members. The easiest way to become a Gold member is through the Hilton Reserve card.
Each signup also gives you 2 weekend nights at any Hilton hotel. So you can use this certificate and burn 190,000 Hilton points for another two nights.
You can sign up for the Virgin America 65,000 miles card and convert the miles to Hilton Honors points. For the remainder you may sign up for one of the various Hilton Amex cards that give between 40,000 and 6,000 points.
Both hotels also charge around $500 per person for the return flight to the resort from Male.
3) Priority Club Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma Maldives
This resort is beautiful but can't compete with the Hyatt or Hilton in terms of luxury. But it does charge 'just' $200 for the speed boat transfer from Male airport.
35,000 Points/night are required which can be had by signing up for the Chase Priority Club Visa (80,000 per sign up).
Priority Club does offer free breakfast so if you'd like to avoid protein powder you'll need to pay for breakfast 🙂 Half Board is a reasonable $70 at the resort and the food is excellent!
4) Radisson Blu Hotel Maldives Hulhumale & Radisson Plaza Resort Maldives Naagoshi
Both resorts are scheduled (for some time now) to open in late 2013. So far they do not accept reservations. Once they become bookable Club Carlson should charge 50,000 points for them.
A good way to get the points is to sign up (as a couple) for the US Bank Club Carlson Visa.
5) W Retreat & Spa – Maldives
As much as I love Starwood usually – their top hotels are just beyond expensive – it's better to pay cash usually. Case in point is the W Retreat in the Maldives.
It requires 60,000 to 70,000 points per night! Given that Starpoints are worth much more per point than Hilton points (they transfer to many airline programs 1:1) I can't see a point to pay that many points for a W (I'm really not a fan of W hotels anywhere).
6) Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
The Sheraton often has Cash&Points rates available with 10,000 Starpoints + USD 180. Given that rates are sometimes below $400 this is not exactly a deal again.
The Sheraton is close to the airport and gets mixed reviews at best. So don't bother with this option unless you have a very short stay in the Maldives.
Also interesting most Maldives resorts do not aggressively price their inventory on hotel booking websites. BRG claims are usually of not much use here.
However most resorts sell at a substantial discount to tour operators. It might be worthwhile getting quotes from them if you decide to pay cash.
Hyatt is clearly the best offer in point/miles since the Hilton resorts have gone up in price substantially. I don't think this will last beyond 2014 and Hyatt will change it's award chart in 2014.
It will be interesting to see if and when the Radisson resorts will open – this could be a great way to continue to stay for cheap in the Maldives.