Question. Do you know what one of the most aspirational travel destinations is? Where do many of our readers dream of a travel hacked vacation? The answer is the Maldives, a series of islands off the coast of India. It is known for over the water bungalows, white sand, and crystal clear turquoise water. Sound heavenly? What would make it even better is this – our teaching you how to use points and miles to get to the Maldives!
Now my trip is due to a hack about cheap travel ideas when you are short on points. Obviously, I’m not short on points but I still love and look for a good bargain. We found a TravelZoo deal that was $1,600 for two people in an overwater bungalow including two meals a day. I couldn’t pass it up. We are hoping to go to Singapore for 3 days on points before the Maldives and also using miles for our lay-flat business seats. We are even flying in the Q-suites! I’m pretty excited. Report following when I return. Today, let’s get YOU there!
First of all, the Maldives are found amongst 20 atolls and islands. An atoll is a ring-shaped coral reef, including a coral rim that encircles a lagoon partially or completely. (thanks, Wikipedia)!
Note: The credit card offers and redemptions were correct at the time of publishing. These are subject to change.
American Airlines is a great choice to fly to the Maldives because of its partnership with Qatar Airlines. You can travel there in business class for 70,000 miles or economy for 40,000 miles. Let’s check out a possible scenario. I’m going to fly out of Houston. Remember, you can always position for a flight if you don’t find the same deals out of your airport.
You can see that there are several days and times that I could book the flight with miles. You can see that it is a long flight so let’s check out those lay flat business class seats too. These flights were harder to find. I had better availability just looking at one-way tickets. 70K for business class on a points and miles trip to the Maldives makes that long flight doable!
So how do we get AA miles? There are several Citi cards that offer AA miles. The Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select World Elite MasterCard gives you 50,000 AA miles after a $2500 spend in three months. The annual fee of $99 is waived in the first year.
Another option is the Citi Business AAdvantage Platinum Select MasterCard with its welcome offer of 65,000 AA miles after spending $4000 in 4 months. The annual fee is waived the first year with this card also.
United does fly to the Maldives with partner airlines but their flights were higher at around 90,000 miles roundtrip in economy.
Alaska is another airline that flies to the Maldives. Here is what I found searching there. The return flights were for similar prices. You could book with Alaska Miles by getting the Bank of America Alaska Airlines Visa Signature Credit Card. You get 40,000 miles after spending $2000 in 3 months. The annual fee is $75 but you do get a companion pass that can be used with a cash flight.
By far, the cheapest way to book an award flight to the Maldives seems to be through American Airlines. The option of getting to the Maldives on points and miles is totally doable.
The best deal going for hotels currently is to stay at the Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa, a Marriott hotel. It is a category 5 hotel and when you book 5 award nights, you get the 5th night free. I had a difficult time finding 5 nights for overwater villas when I looked. It was easy to find the beach bungalows though. Note: Marriott is going to dynamic pricing in March so the point values may differ after that date.
Alex is going in February and let me in on a little secret, book one night at a time after looking for flexible dates. This worked for her to get the overwater villa for all but one night of her stay. She won’t get the 5th night free since she didn’t book it as one stay but she was able to use a 35K free night certificate for one of her nights.
You could open one of the Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards to earn points for a stay here. The Le Meridien has received a lot of favorable press regarding its property.
While the 160,000 points for 5 nights is awesome for the Maldives, there are expensive transportation costs. No matter where you stay, you will have to pay for a seaplane or boat transfer. These are reflected in the final cost breakdown-which is based on seaplane transfer fees for two people. There’s no getting around it, you will have to pay for transport to your hotel if you stay on one of the islands. You might look at bank account bonuses to cover some of this.
Want to go fancier? There are lots of options in the Maldives. Most are category 8 hotels and will be going for 100,000 points a night with the 5th night free.
Another great option to look at hotels is through the IHG. You can open the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card and use those points towards a stay in the Maldives. You only have to spend $3,000 minimum spend in 3 months and the annual fee is waived the first year. Read why I love my IHG credit cards here.
I know you are thinking – a Holiday Inn in the Maldives? I have heard that it is a great family-friendly resort and NOT your typical Holiday Inn. It has a great kid’s club, lots of water activities, and is cheaper to get to from Male because it is on one of the closest atolls.
I looked at monthly calendars for available dates for the InterContinental Hotel and finally found some for 60,000 points a night that was available for 2 nights. If you want some of the nicer hotels, you have to be flexible in your booking.
Hilton has some great possibilities in the Maldives, especially if you want a luxury stay. The Conrad Maldives and the Waldorf Astoria Maldives look AMAZING! However, the points you need to stay at them are A LOT. The Conrad requires 95,000 points a night for the dates I looked at and the Waldorf Astoria a million! I love luxury hotels as much as anyone but I certainly won’t be using a million points a night to stay there.
While 95,000 points a night is a lot, you could get all of the Hilton cards and so could your spouse/partner. Even better, you could refer each other to them. That could get you a lot of Hilton points! The Hilton Aspire card also comes with a free night each year that can be used at these properties. Like Marriott, the 5th night is free on award bookings.
I love Hyatt hotels because they don’t pass along resort fees. Additionally, the Chase Sapphire Preferred’s Ultimate Rewards can be transferred to Hyatt.
A great stay would be at the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa at only 30,000 points a night. If you and your spouse got the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you could stay there for four nights for free! It looks pretty amazing!
The Maldives continues to be a sought-after destination despite it being hard to get there and pretty expensive. Now that we’ve taught you how to use points and miles to get to the Maldives, will it be on your radar? Let us know if you have other hints on getting there!