I outlined in my recent post how to do the Maldives cheap, on a budget of under $100/day without skimping on the amazing beauty of this group of islands.
But what would be my recommendation if you are actually Miles & Points rich? What is currently the best deal?
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Award Flights to the Maldives
American Airlines used to make you redeem two awards for many Etihad flights to the Maldives. In the last couple of months, Etihad began filing fares from many US cities all the way to the Maldives, so you can now book the trip in one award for 135,00 AAdvantage miles in Business Class. I reviewed Etihad's Business Class product to the Maldives recently – it's excellent!
If you can't make it work with American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you should consider a United MileagePlus redemption for 160,000 miles. The challenge is to find the long-haul flight to either Istanbul (Turkish) or Singapore. Another option is to use Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, but there will be fuel surcharges at about $400 per direction per person.
Best Hotels with points in the Maldives
The Park Hyatt gets a tons of great reviews and while I haven't been, this would be my first choice. The Chase Hyatt credit card gives you two free nights; as a couple you can get 4 nights for free. Budget accordingly for food ($100/day per person) and $500 for the return seaplane flight to the resort.
Hyatt Diamond status (or a Diamond trial) will also get you free breakfast.
My second choice would be Conrad Rangali Island – two free weekend nights with the Hilton Honors Signature card or 95,000 points are a good option too. Again, budget enough money for the pricey island food and transport to the island from Male Airport.
I can't see the point in paying $200/night extra to upgrade to an overwater bungalow. But if it's your honeymoon trip, it probably makes a lot of sense!
I reviewed the Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma, Maldives before and while I think it is a good hotel, it's not a great deal with points anymore. The two Starwood options are also just too expensive with points. Cash will most likely be the better option from a valuation standpoint.
For some time now, Radisson has been rumored to be opening not just one but two hotels in the Maldives. It hasn't happened yet, but when it does, this will be a great way to redeem Club Carlson points (which can be bought rather cheaply as well).
Do you have a trip planned to the world's bathtub? What points did you use?