Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too: Part 2 – Lufthansa New (& Old) Business Class From the US to India

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Emily Jablon:   Daraius and I used our miles and points to have a fabulous honeymoon in Bora Bora.

We heard that the Maldives Islands rivaled the beauty and splendor of Bora Bora, so we planned a trip to decide for ourselves!

The Maldives is known for its luxury resorts, and most resorts have their own private island.  There are beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear blue water.  The islands also have fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving!

We booked 5 nights using Hilton points at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island.  The Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is a 30-minute seaplane ride from Male, the capital of the Maldives.  We booked this trip to make the most of our Hilton points before the Hilton devaluation last year.

Lufthansa New Business Class

Ready for a Luxurious Ride in Lufthansa’s New Business Class!

Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too Index:

The Maldives are located in the Indian Ocean, just south of India.  Getting to the Maldives is a long journey, but the trip is definitely worth it!  Daraius and I have been to many beach destinations such as Bora BoraMaui, and Kauai on miles and points, but the Maldives tops them all!

Traveling to the Maldives is also very expensive, but you can do it for much less than the retail cost!  This trip would have cost us ~$27,000, but we only paid ~$4,300!! These series of posts will show you how you can also take a trip to the Maldives on miles and points!

United Airlines Club Lounge, Chicago

Daraius and I have always wanted to visit the Maldives and decided to make a family trip of it.  So we took my mom and my step-dad.  We all stayed in India for 2 weeks.

We flew a United Airlines from Austin to Chicago where we met my parents.  While we were waiting for our flight, we relaxed in the United Club lounge.  You can access the United Airlines lounge if you’re flying First or Business Class on United Airlines or a Star Alliance Partner.

You can also get free entry into the United Airlines Club if you have United Club credit card.  And if you have Star Alliance Gold status and are flying internationally.

Lufthansa New Business Class

My Step-Dad Mark’s Mind Is About to Be Blown

There were many drinks from which to choose…

Lufthansa New Business Class

Airport Lounges Are a Great Way to Relax in Comfort While Waiting for Your Flight

As well as fresh fruit and snacks to eat.

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I Couldn’t Wait to Get to the Sunny Maldives and Take Off This Heavy Winter Coat

There was a full bar with a small seating area.

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This Sure Beats the Stiff Chairs at the Gate

My mom and Mark toasted to the beginning of our vacation together!  Mark couldn’t get over the fact that the wine was free.

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Cheers!

Daraius published a last minute blog post at the work tables.

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Always Working to Find You the Best Travel Deals!

Lufthansa’s New Business Class to Frankfurt

Soon enough, it was time to board our Lufthansa flight from Chicago to Frankfurt.  Daraius was all excited because this was the s-t-r-e-t-c-h version of the 747 (his favorite plane).  You’d think the plane was filled with all kinds of different food given his squealing excitement!

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Our Ride to Germany

We walked up the stairs…

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Making Our Way to the Upper Deck

And we were in the new Business Class.  It was very nice!

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We Were Looking Forward to Trying Out the New Seats

The cabins felt spacious.

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Everyone Was Excited to Start the Trip

And I liked the storage space and other thoughtful details.

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Settling in for the Long Ride to Germany

The seats came with TVs and footstools.

Lufthansa New Business Class

You Can Watch Movies, TV, and Listen to Music

Under the TV, there was space for newspapers and magazines.

Lufthansa New Business Class

Storage for All of Your Reading Materials

Beneath that, there was additional storage space.

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And More Storage

The footstools were so close together that Daraius and I could almost play footsie!  However, a game of Footsie with an unknown business man may not be in order if you’re traveling by yourself…

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It’s Too Bad There Was a Divider

A pillow and blanket were also included.

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The Seats Had a Bit of a Mauve Tint

Underneath the windows, there was more storage space.  I could fit a lot in here!

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You Could Almost Fit an Entire Suitcase In Here!

There were 2 outlets to charge your electronics.

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The Outlets Were Easy to Access

The table, remote, and headphones were stored within the seat.

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Everything Fit Neatly Into Its Own Little Compartment Inside the Armrest

You could adjust your seat easily.

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You Can Adjust Your Seat 4 Different Ways

Additionally, there was a small, built-in reading light.

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A Nice Change From the Overhead Lights

I showed Mark where the controls were.

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“How Do You Work This Thing?”

My mom was so happy!

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She Took Lots of Pictures

We received basic amenity kits.  The kits included the usual: socks, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.

Lufthansa New Business Class

We Received Basic Amenity Kits

We also received food and drink menus.  Here’s the food menu:

Lufthansa New Business Class

For Dessert I Had Trouble Deciding Between the Cheesecake and the Fresh Fruit.  Ah Heck, We’re on Vacation, It’s an Easy Choice!

And here’s the drink menu:

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I Ordered Orange Juice and Daraius Had White Wine

About an hour after takeoff the meal service began.

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I Don’t Think My Mom Stopped Smiling the Entire Vacation

To start, I had ricotta with plum and apricot puree that was very fresh tasting.  It was served with a salad.

Lufthansa New Business Class

Everything Tasted Fresh

And Daraius had grilled beef with lime vinaigrette.

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I Was a Bit Worried When I Saw All The Greens on Daraius’ Tray

The menus were OK.  The food I had was good, but I’ve had better on other airlines.

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But He Still Enjoyed His Meal and He Even Had a Few Bites of Salad!

I was also very disappointed in the service.  When I told the flight attendant about my fish allergy and asked if there was fish in the food, she got very short and snippy.

I had caponata with zucchini for my main course.

Lufthansa New Business Class

The Food Was OK, but the Service Not So Much

Daraius had beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and Rendang sauce.

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Of Course Daraius Didn’t Eat the Green Beans

We followed our meal with New York cheesecake for dessert.  The cheesecake was pretty tasty!

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Not as Good as You Can Find In New York, but It Was Still Yummy

After dinner, Daraius went straight to sleep.

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Zzzzz…..

I watched some TV (not the best selection), and then tried to sleep.  It’s always tough for me to sleep on flights, and this flight was not any different.

Daraius slept at least 4 hours, the lucky dog!  Instead, I read my book and watched an episode of the Cosby Show.

Soon, it was time for breakfast, so I had the breakfast tray that included cold cuts, yogurt, and fresh fruit.

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Starting the Day Off Right

My mom and Mark enjoyed their food.

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Yep, Mom’s Still Excited

Lufthansa Lounge in Frankfurt, Germany

Before our next flight, we stopped in the Lufthansa lounge in Frankfurt.  We had several hours to kill, so spending time in the lounge was a good idea.

There were a lot of food and drinks to choose from.

Lufthansa New Business Class

Airport Lounges Outside the US Typically Have a Much Wider Selection of Food & Drinks

We had some snacks and relaxed before our flight.

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There Were So Many Choices!

There was freshly prepared salad…

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Everything Was Kept Very Neat and Clean

fresh fruit…

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Plenty of Healthy Snack Options

tomato soup…

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The Tomato Soup Was Popular

and chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

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They Had Something for Everyone

For dessert, there was rice pudding with cherries.

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The Pudding Looked Good, but We Just Had Cheesecake on the Plane

There were 2 types of draft beer.  This was a nice perk of the lounge!

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This Is an Upgrade From the Bud Light They Serve in the US Lounges!

The seating was also modern and comfortable.

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All the Furniture Looked Brand New

We then made our way to the gate for the flight!

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India Here We Come!

Lufthansa (Old) Business Class Flight From Germany to India

We got on the flight and found we had 3 seats together in the middle.  Daraius sat in front of us.  This is the old business class configuration.

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Our 3rd Flight of the Day

The seats looked newer.

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Clean & Shiny Seats

My mom and Mark were happy to be in Business Class and were looking forward to the last flight before arriving in India!

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It Had Been a Long Day and Everyone Was Starting to Get Tired

The seats were fairly basic.

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Not Quite as Luxurious as Our Previous Flight, but Still Very Nice

There was a TV directly across from the seat.

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In-Seat Entertainment

The controls were in the armrest.

Lufthansa New Business Class

You Can Control Everything Right From Your Armrest

Headphones were also stored there.

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Headphones Waiting for You at Your Seat, in Case You Forget Your Own

There was a little bit of room for magazines and books.

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Easy Access to SkyMall Magazine

There was enough legroom, but no footrest.

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It Would Have Been Nice to Put Our Feet Up

There were outlets to charge your electronics.

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You Can Make Sure Your Phone Is Fully Charged When You Land

I was also excited that this was our last flight!

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We’re Almost There!

The seats recline, too.

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Daraius, Getting His Bed Ready

Everyone was ready for a nap.

I Was Able to Catch 1 Last Picture of Everyone Between Yawns

I Was Able to Catch 1 Last Picture of Everyone Between Yawns

We received menus, but were looking forward to sleeping.

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This Flight Had Lots of Asian Options on the Menu, but We Were Too Tired to Try Them

Finally, we arrived at the new Mumbai airport ready for our next adventure!

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We Made It!

How You Can Do It Too!

Our favorite way to get to the Maldives from the US is with American Airlines miles on Etihad or Qatar Air.

If you’re willing to book separate award tickets (i.e. 1 award ticket from the US to Hong Kong & another from Hong Kong to the Maldives), you could even fly on Cathay Pacific or Malaysia Air using American Airlines miles to the Maldives.  

Here are ways to get lots of American Airlines miles.  And here’s my series on using American Airlines miles.  It could also be worth using an award booking service to book the flights for you.

You can also use Alaska Airlines miles on Emirates or Cathay Pacific. And folks say you can get the Alaska Airlines credit card multiple times.

We used United Airlines miles because we wanted to go to India first.  But folks who only want to fly from the US to the Maldives would likely use American Airlines miles or Alaska Airlines miles.

1.   Using American Airlines Miles

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

A flight from the US to the Maldives costs:

  • 45,000 American Airlines miles 1-way in coach
  • 67,500 American Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 90,000 American Airlines miles 1-way in First Class

You can use American Airlines to fly many different ways to the Maldives, including on Etihad, Sri Lankan, Qatar, Cathay Pacific and Malaysia Airways.  If you want to book on Etihad, first find the available flights on the Etihad website and then call American Airlines to reserve the tickets.  See this step-by-step guide for more information.

2.   Using Alaska Airlines Miles

Link:   Alaska Airlines partner award chart to Middle East

From the US to the Maldives you’ll pay:

  • 42,500 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in coach (Emirates)
  • 50,000 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in coach (Cathay Pacific)
  • 62,500 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class (Cathay Pacific)
  • 70,000 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in First Class (Cathay Pacific)
  • 72,500 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class (Emirates)
  • 90,000 Alaska Airlines miles 1-way in First Class (Emirates)

You can book Emirates flights on the Alaska Air website, except for Cathay Pacific, which has to be reserved by calling Alaska Airlines customer service.  See this post for more ways on using Alaska Air miles to get to the Maldives.

And folks say you can get the Alaska Airlines credit card multiple times.

3.   Using United Airlines Miles

Link:   United Airlines award chart

To fly from the US to India, you’ll pay:

  • 42,500 United Airlines miles 1-way in coach
  • 70,000+ United Airlines miles 1-way in Business Class
  • 140,000 United Airlines miles 1-way in First Class

Here’s a post on how to use United Airlines miles.

And here’s how you can get the airline miles and hotel points for your trip to the Maldives!

Bottom Line

We used our United Airlines miles for 2 Business Class tickets on Lufthansa.  The flight was comfortable, but the service could have been better.  I would still fly Lufthansa Business Class again.

It was wonderful to see my step-dad take his 1st international flight and in Business Class.  And thanks to miles & points he was able to do it for close to free!

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2 responses to “Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too: Part 2 – Lufthansa New (& Old) Business Class From the US to India

  1. “If you’re willing to book separate award tickets (i.e. 1 award ticket from the US to Hong Kong & another from Hong Kong to the Maldives),”

    I booked round trip in business class on one award, from ORD to MLE via HKG on Cathay Pacific and return from MLE to IAD via DOH on Qatar.

  2. Hi,
    How did you get 4 saver awards in business class to India? I never see those?!
    Thanks,
    Hargobind