The Maldives – Points can be amazing, use them quick!
Everywhere you look, the Maldives are picture perfect, postcard quality stunning islands. Two months after our honeymoon, I still find myself day dreaming about the colors of the clear, blue water and fine white sand. But as fellow airline and hotel point gurus, you’re much more interested in how we got to stay there for free! When my partner proposed, one of the first things I looked into was the honeymoon. I had hundreds of thousands of Hilton HHonors points I had been saving for a trip like this, all courtesy of work travel. The proposal coincided within a few days of Hilton announcing a devaluation of their points program. That meant that a top tier Hilton reward would go from 200,000 points to 380,000 points for a 5 night stay! Naturally, I looked around for the most beautiful, expensive, luxurious and romantic hotel in the Hilton HHonors program and booked it the day before the devaluation occurred. diminish
Waldorf Astoria hotels are very nice, but unless they are very new, they can feel rather stuffy and pretentious. Conrad Hotels are by far my favourite Hilton brand, and always seem to strike just the right balance of luxury, service, modernity, and amenities. That being said, the Conrad Maldvies was the nicest hotel I have ever stayed at. No Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, or other Conrad even comes close to the experience we had. Most importantly, you can usually book a Beachfront Villa for 95,000 Hilton HHonors points, and once you arrive, you can pay to upgrade to an Overwater villa, which was stunning. I will never forget the sound of the waves literally as I fell asleep over the ocean. I’ll let the picture of the main resort beach speak for itself, but a few things to note:
1. TransMaldivian Airline pilots fly around the different islands wearing flip flops.
2. Smartly (for all of us), British Airways never has mileage redemption opportunities from London to Male, but hopefully Qatar joining OneWorld will help a lot.
3. The best time to go is mid-January to mid-April, since it does not usually rain during those months. But paradise is paradise.
4. Be prepared to spend extravagantly in the Maldives. Everything is imported. A bottle of water costs $20+, which is insane, until you realize it’s from Iceland and you’re on a little coral atoll in the middle of the Indian Ocean.
5. Just go! Buy your tickets now and just go. If you can find a points/ mileage reward, great, but if not you should still go, you won’t regret it!