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.
Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too Index:
- Part 1 – Introduction & Planning
- Part 2 – Flights from US to India
- Part 3 – Flights from India to the Maldives
- Part 4 – Conrad Airport Lounge and Seaplane Ride
- Part 5 – The Grounds of the Conrad Rangali Island Hotel (Conrad Rangali Island Base Room)
- Part 6 – A ~$1,300 per Night Beach Villa for Free
- Part 7 – Saving ~88% on a $3,000 per Night Overwater Bungalow
- Part 8 – Activities at the Conrad Maldives
- Part 9 – Breakfast in the Maldives
- Part 10 – Cheap Food
- Part 11 – Underwater Restaurant
- Part 12 – An Afternoon in Male
- Part 13 – Male Airport and Plaza Premium Lounge
- Part 14 – Conclusion & Blog Giveaway
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 Bora, Maui, 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.
There were many drinks from which to choose…
As well as fresh fruit and snacks to eat.
There was a full bar with a small seating area.
My mom and Mark toasted to the beginning of our vacation together! Mark couldn’t get over the fact that the wine was free.
Daraius published a last minute blog post at the work tables.
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
We walked up the stairs…
And we were in the new Business Class. It was very nice!
The cabins felt spacious.
And I liked the storage space and other thoughtful details.
The seats came with TVs and footstools.
Under the TV, there was space for newspapers and magazines.
Beneath that, there was additional storage space.
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…
A pillow and blanket were also included.
Underneath the windows, there was more storage space. I could fit a lot in here!
There were 2 outlets to charge your electronics.
The table, remote, and headphones were stored within the seat.
You could adjust your seat easily.
Additionally, there was a small, built-in reading light.
I showed Mark where the controls were.
My mom was so happy!
We received basic amenity kits. The kits included the usual: socks, earplugs, toothbrush and toothpaste, etc.
We also received food and drink menus. Here’s the food menu:
And here’s the drink menu:
About an hour after takeoff the meal service began.
To start, I had ricotta with plum and apricot puree that was very fresh tasting. It was served with a salad.
And Daraius had grilled beef with lime vinaigrette.
The menus were OK. The food I had was good, but I’ve had better on other airlines.
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.
Daraius had beef tenderloin with mashed potatoes and Rendang sauce.
We followed our meal with New York cheesecake for dessert. The cheesecake was pretty tasty!
After dinner, Daraius went straight to sleep.
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.
My mom and Mark enjoyed their food.
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.
We had some snacks and relaxed before our flight.
There was freshly prepared salad…
and chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
For dessert, there was rice pudding with cherries.
There were 2 types of draft beer. This was a nice perk of the lounge!
The seating was also modern and comfortable.
We then made our way to the gate for the flight!
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.
The seats looked newer.
My mom and Mark were happy to be in Business Class and were looking forward to the last flight before arriving in India!
The seats were fairly basic.
There was a TV directly across from the seat.
The controls were in the armrest.
Headphones were also stored there.
There was a little bit of room for magazines and books.
There was enough legroom, but no footrest.
There were outlets to charge your electronics.
I was also excited that this was our last flight!
The seats recline, too.
Everyone was ready for a nap.
We received menus, but were looking forward to sleeping.
Finally, we arrived at the new Mumbai airport ready for our next adventure!
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
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
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
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!
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!