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!
Food is very expensive in the Maldives. To save money, we tried to eat big breakfasts, which were included with the room because we had Hilton Diamond status. You also get free breakfast with Hilton Gold status, which you can get with the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve card.
Also consider bringing food with you to save money, but know that you will be charged if your luggage is overweight on the seaplane.
We had lunch and dinner at the Rangali Bar, which had the cheapest food on the island. To give you an idea, the hamburger was $30 and the club sandwich was $29.
We ate at the Rangali Bar most evenings for dinner to save money. The dinners are a la carte. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating.
It was very relaxing to be sitting outside, under the palm trees, listening to the waves.
The cheapest main courses (sandwiches, pasta, etc.) are ~$30. Even the soups and salads are expensive!
There was a selection of Italian food, including gnocchi, pasta, and pizza.
There were several American favorites as well, including sandwiches, salad, and grill menu items.
In addition there was Thai, Indian, and Japanese food.
We found a table right by the beach. It was magical watching the sky turn beautiful shades of pink and orange as the sun dropped from the sky.
The 1st evening, I ordered a BBQ chicken quesadilla that looked more like a burrito. However, it was delicious! I really liked the salsa and guacamole it came with.
We filled ourselves up on bread as much as we could.
The next evening, I ordered penne arrabiata. The pasta was a bit dry and flavorless. Daraius joked that each piece of penne cost $2. But it’s OK because we’re paying with our Chase Sapphire Preferred card to get 4 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per noodle. ($2 per noodle X 2X Chase Ultimate Rewards points on dining with Chase Sapphire Preferred.) 🙂
I preferred my quesadilla, but was glad I tried something new.
My mom and Mark split a cheeseburger. The meat patty looked small though, and I felt bad they split it (though they knew they could have ordered more).
Daraius and his dad split biryani.
We also got a pizza for everyone to share. The pizza was OK.
You can also ask for the lunch menu and order from that menu for dinner. It had a slightly larger selection of food.
The lunch menu has deli favorites and Italian favorites…
along with Asian and Indian food.
Finally, there were sandwiches, appetizers, and grilled food.
I also tried the potato gnocchi with beef bolognaise sauce, which tasted a lot like spaghetti. It was pretty good, but not as good as my chicken quesadilla.
My mom and Mark shared a salad.
Daraius and his dad shared Indian food…
…and a papaya salad.
The view from our table could not have been more breathtaking.
On our last night, my mom and Mark decided to enjoy a romantic dinner on the beach.
They ordered the lobster which came with mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables.
It was another beautiful evening.
We saw a small yacht pulling into the dock.
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!
If you want to save some money, eat a big breakfast each day so that you can order less for lunch and dinner. The food in all of the restaurants is expensive, with the cheapest meals costing ~$30 a plate.
The portions are small, so it’s difficult to share some dishes. Consider bringing food with you to the Conrad, but know that you’ll have to pay extra if your luggage is overweight on the seaplane.
We saved enough money that we were able to splurge and have an unforgettable experience dining underwater…I’ll show you in the next post!