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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!
Conrad Rangali Island King Beach Villa
The retail cost is ~$1,300 per night. But we used just 95,000 Hilton points per night to stay for free. We paid no cash for our room for our 5 night stay. There are a lots of ways to earn Hilton points and you can use the 2 free weekend night certificates you earn with the Citi Hilton Reserve card after completing the minimum spending.
We stayed in room 207. I liked the location because it was close to the restaurants, the swimming pool, and the gorgeous snorkeling reef! The room was very nice and almost felt like a suite! It was luxurious, spacious, and had access to a deserted beach.
The overwater bungalow costs 95,000 Hilton points and $375 per night. We booked our parents in this room for a special treat. We will review this room in the next part of this series.
You can book a room at the Conrad Maldives up to a year in advance.
And here’s how you can collect points for your stay!
Tour of the Conrad King Beach Villa
When you walk in, you enter the foyer/bathroom area.
The coffee and tea were free, but you had to pay for items in the fridge.
The hallway opened up into the bathroom.
The bathroom had double sinks. It had a clean, simple, and natural feel to it.
I really liked all of the natural light.
The bathroom had regular Hilton amenities, but we read that you can request Shanghai Tang (a luxury brand popular in the East) amenities. So we decided to make the switch and we were glad we did. All it took was a call to the Front Desk! They smelled so nice and I loved the bright colors!
The shower was outside. The only thing I did not like about it was that the water often wasn’t hot, just lukewarm. The shower was located outside in a private jungle setting. So I was not worried about privacy.
Past the shower, at the end of the stone path, was a huge bathtub.
There was 4 seats, candles, bath salts, and a loofah.
There was a corridor separating the bathroom from the main living area.
To the right of the hallway was an inner courtyard with a fountain.
To the left was a separate toilet room.
After passing through 2 doors was the main bedroom and living area. The layout was a bit choppy because you had to walk through 2 doors to get from the bathroom to the bedroom and living area.
It was spacious and simply decorated with tropical accent colors. We were so excited for our 5 night stay here!
The room was warm and inviting.
I liked the bright colors.
The villa felt spacious and inviting.
The inner courtyard brought in lots of natural light to the bedroom and living area as well.
There was a king size bed with 2 nightstands. According to the Conrad Maldives website, the room sleeps 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children.
Directly across from the bed was the sofa with a small coffee table.
We received fresh fruits, champagne, chocolates, and an adorable manta ray stuffed toy.
The champagne was Duval Leroy.
The chocolates looked delicious!
There was a large desk with marketing pamphlets on top.
There was also a large flat screen TV…
…along with an iPod loaded with music.
We thought that our backyard was extremely private.
I really liked having such close access to the beach and thought the beaches and snorkeling were much better than the water by the overwater bungalows.
There were 2 lounge chairs, table, and 2 chairs.
There was a curvy pathway to the beach.
From the beach you could not see inside our room.
It was very secluded.
The beach outside of our room was picture perfect. There was no one at the beach and during our entire stay we saw only a few people.
Daraius camped out on the many lounge chairs lined up along the beach.
It was so peaceful.
Some of his favorite days at the hotel were just relaxing outside of the room, reading a book.
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!
Daraius and I loved staying in the King Beach Villa at the Conrad Rangali Island Resort and Spa! We paid $0 for the room, and 39,000 Hilton points per night. Currently, the room can be booked for 95,000 points.
Even though our room wasn’t a bungalow we had direct beach access. As an added bonus our room was located very close to the best snorkeling spot on the island, which we will describe later in this series!