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 – Dining Under the Sea
- 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!
Ithaa Undersea Restaurant
Daraius and I had tried to save money at the Conrad by eating a big breakfast, light lunch, and a moderate dinner. We actually ended up spending only ~$125 a day for all 5 of us to eat (have a big breakfast as late as possible which was free because of our Hilton Gold status, skip lunch, and have bar food for dinner!), which was pretty good considering that 1 meal goes for ~$30 a person and up.
Since we had saved money on our other meals, we decided to have 1 splurge meal at the Ithaa Undersea Restaurant. We made lunch reservations, and we ate so much food at lunch that it filled us up through dinner. The restaurant is located off the main island.
This wasn’t cheap and was ~$200 per person. Dinner is even more expensive at $300+!
You can save even more money by having just a cocktail (~$90) at the restaurant.
When you enter, there is a small waiting area.
The table was very pretty with freshly cut flowers!
As we were waiting, we took a few pictures.
We were all so excited for our meal!
You have to take your shoes off to help minimize noise in the restaurant.
We then walked down a small spiral staircase and into the restaurant. The restaurant only had 8 to 10 tables.
There was only 1 other family eating with us.
There was a lot of coral all around.
We saw all kinds of fish, including zebra fish.
…and schools of yellow fish.
After admiring the fish for a while, we were treated to our 1st course, split pea soup.
The soup was delicious! In between courses, we took in the fantastic views.
We were all so excited!
Our 2nd course was quail and mushroom ragout.
It was going to be scallops but they substituted with quail due to my fish allergy. Our 3rd course, or the main course, was either chicken with a peppercorn sauce, mashed potatoes, and vegetables or lamb. I chose the chicken…
and Daraius had the lamb.
For dessert, we had a chocolate mousse cake and white & dark heart shaped chocolates.
It was a really cool restaurant and I am glad we went.
Our parents really enjoyed it!
Not long after they brought out lunch, the servers brought something else out…
It was a cake that said “Congratulations!”
No, no…I’m not pregnant…. I just finished my MBA! Neither of my parents finished college, so this was a big achievement for me and my family.
It was so sweet of Daraius to surprise me!
After lunch, we were able to take lots of pictures in the restaurant because the other family dining with us had left.
My mom and Mark could not have been happier…
I was glad we had made the reservation, even though it was expensive at $195 per person plus service charges.
Daraius: I much preferred the food at Villa Mahana in Bora Bora as a memorable splurge meal.
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!
The Ithaa Undersea Restaurant has fantastic views of Maldivian ocean life.
Paying ~$250 per person after fees was expensive, but it was worth it to treat our parents. We had such a big lunch that it also filled us up for dinner. It was a very unique experience and we are glad we did it.
Our parents weren’t big on snorkeling, so this gave them the chance to see the underwater life. However, if we return to the Maldives I don’t think we would do it again. You can find much better views by just swimming out to the reef with your snorkeling gear.
The food was good, but not that much better than the bar menu at the Rangali Bar. And I still preferred my BBQ Chicken Quesadilla to the main course I had at Ithaa!