Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too: Part 7 – Saving ~88% on a ~$3,000 per Night Overwater Bungalow

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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.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
You Can Use Your Hilton Points Towards an Overwater Bungalow in the Maldives!

Our $27,000 Vacation to the Maldives for ~$4,300 & How You Can Do It Too Index:

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 BoraMaui, 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 ~$5,000!! These series of posts will show you how you can also take a trip to the Maldives on miles and points!

Conrad Rangali Island Resort & Spa Arrival & Check-In

We chose the Conrad Rangali Island hotel because we have a lot of Hilton points.  And with our Hilton Diamond status we got free breakfast everyday, which is a big money saver! 
There is also the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa which could also make a very good redemption at 25,000 Hyatt points per night.
Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Transfer Your Chase Points to Hyatt to Stay in the Maldives

We used 39,000 Hilton points per night because we booked before the devaluation.  It was $375 per night to upgrade to an overwater bungalow.

I reviewed the King Villa Suite, which also cost 39,000 Hilton points, but we didn’t have to pay the extra $375 per night to upgrade.

In today’s post, we will share our experience with the overwater bungalow, where our parents stayed.

When we arrived at the hotel by the seaplane, the staff excitedly greeted us and checked us in.  Because we had booked 3 rooms, they were careful to ensure the correct baggage was sent the right rooms.

We took a boat to the island where our parents were staying.  The Conrad is comprised of 2 separate islands, which adds privacy to the resort.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
This Was Our Transportation Between the 2 Islands

The water looked so blue and inviting.  I could hardly wait to go for a swim!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Residential Island Was Very Quiet and Laid Back

We sat down in the reception area while the employee checked us in.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
My Mom and I Waiting to See Our Rooms

We were each given fresh coconut water that was very sweet and refreshing.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
1st Sip of Coconut Water

My mom and Mark were really enjoying themselves.  We were all so excited for our stay!

My mom grew up on welfare with 7 other kids, and worked hard to provide for me growing up. This trip was a way for me to give back to her for all she’s done for me.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Cheers to the Maldives!

After a few minutes, the staff member escorted us to our parents’ rooms.  It was another ~5 to 10 minute walk from reception.  It was a beautiful walk to our rooms.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Island Felt So Peaceful & Serene

Soon, we had reached a small row of bungalows.

Conrad Rangali Island Overwater Bungalows

The overwater bungalows or King Water Villas go for ~$3,000 per night (depending upon your travel dates).

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Don’t Pay Cash to Visit the Maldives, Use Your Hilton Points

However, we used our Hilton points, so it cost us “only” $375 per night for a guaranteed upgrade, which is still quite a splurge for us, but our parents are worth it!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
A Row of Bungalows Dotted the Lagoon

After checking in, we were escorted to our rooms.  The wooden bungalows were built on stilts over the water.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The King Water Villas Are ~925 Square Feet

It was very peaceful and quiet.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
My Parents Were Excited to See the Inside!

My mom and Mark were so happy!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Get On With the Pictures Already!

The bungalows looked beautiful!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Bungalows Were Voted “One of the Maldives’ Leading Water Villas” at the 2012 World Travel Awards

Our parents stayed in rooms 321 and 322.  The rooms were very spacious, open, and airy.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
My Parents in Their Overwater Bungalow

There was 1 main bedroom and living area with a bed, desk, and couch.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Room Had a Very Earthy and Natural Feel

I liked that there were several places in which to sit and relax.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Furnishings Were All High End

The king size bed was accented with green pillows and a throw blanket.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Room Sleeps 3 Adults or 2 Adults and 2 Children (Over 12 Only). Children Under 12 Are Not Permitted in the Overwater Bungalows

It was very comfortable!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
After All That Traveling, I Could Have Easily Taken an Afternoon Nap!

On the opposite side of the room was the desk.  There was a glass bottom floor and large windows that let in lots of natural light.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
A Desk That Looks Like It’s Floating on Water!? That’s Quite a Change From the Desk at Home That Looks Like It’s Floating on a Carpet!

Near the desk, was another chair. It was a cozy little nook to relax and read a book or enjoy a glass of wine.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Small Sitting Area to Enjoy the Champagne

They received a bottle of champagne, fresh fruits, and chocolate.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Our Welcome Gift

The champagne was Geoffroy Nuance.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Champagne Was the Perfect Way to Celebrate the Beginning of Our Vacation in Paradise

And the chocolates looked delicious!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
And the Decadent Chocolates Were a Nice Touch!

The couch was large enough for 3 people.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
My Mom Was Glowing

There was a flat screen TV, which we used before we left to play a slideshow of the pictures and video we had taken during the trip.  Connecting our laptops and video cameras was very easy!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
It’s Easy to Play Your Own Slideshow on the TVs

There were also iPods in every room. I liked that there was some romantic music to set the mood.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Your Favorite Slow Jams at the Push of a Button

There was a minibar with a fridge and coffeemaker.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Fuel Up for Free With In-Room Coffee and Tea

There was complimentary bottled water and a Nespresso machine.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
High End Nespresso Coffee Maker for Coffee Geeks

The closet was large enough to store all of our luggage.  But it would have been nice to have more light for packing and unpacking.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Walk-In Closet Was Almost the Same Size as a New York Apartment

The closet had a safe, beach towels, and a beach bag for trips to the water!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Find Beach Basics in the Closet

There was a big bathroom with a walk-in shower, bathtub, and double sinks.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
My Parents Had Fun Showing Off Their Bathroom

There were double sinks with various amenities.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
 Two Sinks Cut the Time It Takes to Get Ready in Half (in Theory)!

Toothbrushes and soap were left out for us.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Forgot Your Toothbrush? The Conrad Has You Covered

The bathroom was very luxurious.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Hey, Any Couple Can Pose Together on a Sun-Kissed Beach…We Pose Romantically in the Bathroom!

The window above the bath tub had a gorgeous view of the lagoon.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Soak Away Your Stress

The bath tub looked comfortable, but was not a jetted tub.  It was also on the small side, and it would be difficult to fit 2 people.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
There Was Even a Soft Cushion for Resting Your Head

Included in the amenities were candles and matches.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Everything You Need to Set the Mood

There was also a walk-in shower, but it was on the small side for rooms that cost ~$3,000 per night.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Walk-In Shower and Bath Robes

The shower head was a rain shower.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Only Place It Rained the Entire Trip!

The best part of the room, however, was the view from their patio.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Highlight of the Room Was Walking Right Out to the Lagoon

The calm blue water seemed to go on forever.

The patio had lounge chairs, a dining table and chairs, and even a jacuzzi!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Which Should We Try Out First?

The table and chairs would have been a great place to enjoy some champagne and strawberries while watching the sunset.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Imagine Drinking Champagne and Eating Strawberries Here…

I was really impressed with their room.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Do Hotel Rooms Get Any Better Than This?!

The Jacuzzi was large enough for 2 people.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
I Could Sit Here All Day!

Their neighbors were separated by a wooden privacy fence on either side of them. You could not see your neighbors, but you could hear them if they were also out on their patio.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
The Neighbors Were Close, but a Privacy Fence Helped

I also enjoyed having a private entrance into the lagoon.

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Your Own Stairway to Heaven

There was even a shower for rinsing off after a swim in the lagoon!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Leave the Sand in the Lagoon

We loved the Conrad Maldives and are already planning our return trip!

Conrad Maldives Water Villa
Somebody Pinch Us!

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

Link:   American Airlines Award Chart

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

Link:   Alaska Airlines partner award chart to Middle East

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

Link:   United Airlines award chart

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!

Bottom Line

Booking the bungalow was a nice treat for our parents, but Daraius and I were extremely happy with our beach side villa (which required no extra cash).

The overwater bungalow made for an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we are happy we booked it for our parents.

We hope we can go back one day!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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