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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.
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!
Eating at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
Food is very expensive in the Maldives. To save money, you can try to eat 2 big meals a day. You can also bring your own food, but be aware of weight limits. The seaplane airfare includes strict weight limits and you will be charged extra if you are over the weight limits.
If you want to save money on breakfast, I’d suggest packing some granola bars, dried fruit, and nuts. The food is very expensive in the hotel, averaging $30 a dish for a basic meal, such as a sandwich or hamburger. And the portions are also a bit small, which makes sharing difficult
You can save even more money by taking advantage of the free breakfast which you get with Hilton Gold and Diamond status.
The easiest way to earn Hilton Gold status is by signing-up for the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card, which gives you Hilton Gold Status for as long as you have the card. This is a valuable benefit if you stay in lots of hotels. If we had to pay for breakfast each day at the Conrad Maldives, it would have cost us hundreds of dollars.
For breakfast our 1st day, we met at the Vilu Lounge, which is located on the smaller, more residential island. It’s in a beautiful location right by the beach. Breakfast here is pricey, but we didn’t have to pay because we were Hilton Diamond members.
We were so lucky to be sharing a meal together in such a beautiful place!
We ordered from their iPad menus.
They offered a fairly large selection of made to order foods, including eggs benedict, eggs Florentine, and various omelets.
You could also choose from up to 4 side dishes to go with your main course, in addition to having waffles, pancakes, and a traditional Japanese breakfast.
Inside there was a small buffet area.
You can help yourself to anything that’s on the buffet, even if you ordered from the menu.
There was freshly baked bread…
Maldivian tuna salad, chapati bread, and sliced meats….
There was cereal and fruit salad.
There was whole fruit as well as sliced fruit and yogurt.
There were several different kinds of milk and apple juice.
They also had still water, sparkling water, and Prosecco.
They even had newspapers in various languages.
The view from our table was beautiful since we were so close to the water.
Daraius’ dad, Rustom, ordered eggs benedict.
He was anxious to dig in!
Daraius ordered fried eggs and bacon.
I got waffles.
My mom and Mark ordered omelets.
Everything was delicious! And the big breakfast filled us up so that we could have a light (and cheap!) lunch. We went back to the Vilu Lounge a few days later to try another breakfast.
I ordered pancakes with maple syrup and bananas. They were very tasty
!! The portion was a bit small though, so I’d recommend getting separate dishes and not sharing.
My mom got a ham and cheese omelet.
Mark, my stepdad, ordered poached eggs.
Daraius ordered a regional Maldivian specialty.
And Rustom had scrambled eggs, bacon, and ham.
Again, everything was very good!
The restaurant was located under the palm trees which gave it a nice ambiance.
A lizard wanted to join us for breakfast, too.
Atoll Market offers a HUGE buffet. The buffet usually costs $100 per person, but it was free for us because we have Hilton Diamond status. You also get free breakfast with Hilton Gold status, which you can get with the Citi Hilton Reserve card.
It was almost too big for me, and I preferred Vilu Lounge because my food was made to order and I felt safer with my fish allergy. Almost everyone else preferred the buffet though because of its large selection of all kinds of food!
There was so much food that I felt like I was in a large Las Vegas style resort.
There was freshly cut fruit…
…including watermelon, figs, and apples.
There was fresh juice of your choice…
You could choose the following fruits and vegetables:
I was excited to try my apple and carrot mixture!
Also on the buffet were hot foods.
The hot food selection was expansive.
There was a wide selection of hot food from different Asian countries.
There was also fish.
Eggs and sausage…
mushrooms, baked beans, and bacon…
hashbrowns, pancakes, and waffles….
and an omelet station.
The pastries looked divine…
I couldn’t wait to try a few!
The buttery, flaky croissants were especially good.
Next to the pastries, there was cereal.
…butter, Nutella, and peanut butter…
…and fresh bread.
There was cheese….
…that looked very good!
There were sliced meats…
You could get local tuna salad……
…and make your own salad.
You could choose from lots of ingredients.
There was such a big selection that it was difficult to decide what to eat!
There was also honey…
Daraius loaded up on Asian food…
…while I ate packaged foods to avoid a possible allergic reaction. I’m sure I could have asked the chef to prepare something separate for me, but I was perfectly happy with my croissants and yogurt (and peanut butter and Nutella!!).
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 Vilu Lounge had excellent made to order dishes. There wasn’t much of a buffet, but I liked that it was a smaller, more private setting. Also it was closer to the beach. Everyone else preferred the Atoll Market because of the huge selection.
Breakfast at the Maldives is NOT cheap and you could pay $100 per person each day! But if you have Hilton Gold or Diamond status, breakfast is free! If you don’t have Hilton Gold status, you can get it by signing-up for the Citi Hilton Reserve card.