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 ~$5,000 & How You Can Do it Too Trip Report 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!
The Male airport doesn’t have too much. There’s a Burger King…
…a coffee shop, ice cream, and a Thai restaurant.
If you need cash, there’s also an ATM in the airport.
However, you won’t find a whole lot of shopping until you get through security. We found lots of souvenirs, including shell purses…
…T-shirts, and tea. We also found shell jewelry.
And lots of postcards.
We found the Etihad counter and checked-in for our flight to Hong Kong.
This check-in area was small, but it was a quieter and more comfortable room than the regular check-in counters.
After checking-in, we were given our boarding passes, went through security, and to the lounge.
Plaza Premium Lounge
We had access to the Plaza Premium Lounge because we had Business Class tickets with Etihad.
You can also get access if you are flying Business or First Class on most airlines out of Male airport.
Certain card holders also get free access to the lounge.
The lounge was much nicer than I expected.
There were a few big comfortable chairs that would be ideal for a nap!
There were computers…
And lots of tables and chairs near the buffet.
The buffet had a decent selection of food.
I like lounges that provide full meals if you’re hungry.
This lounge had pea and mint soup….
…cashew nut rice and chicken pesto sauce…
…pasta alfredo and grilled vegetables…
I was looking forward to having some tea and snacks!
There was salad…
…and bread and butter.
There were desserts to choose from…
Inside a case, there were to-go sandwiches, fruit salad, and doughnuts.
There was a large selection of beverages as well.
Or if you preferred, you could have coffee…
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 Maldives to Hong Kong & another from Hong Kong to the US), you could also 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 Airlines 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 Airlines 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 Plaza Premium Lounge at the Male airport was a very nice lounge to unwind in before the flight. You can get free access by having a Business Class or First Class ticket on Etihad Airways airlines and many other airlines departing from Male.
You can also get free access if you have certain AMEX cards that are issued in Hong Kong.
If you’re flying coach you can access the lounge for ~$50 per day.