When we went to the Maldives, five years ago, it was a pain. At that point, British Airways did not fly the route. We ended up routing ourselves London-Frankfurt-Dubai (on Lufthansa miles) with a connection to a paid Dubai-Male flight that departed at 4am or something equally silly.
Coming back, we bought a one-way ticket on Emirates for cash through to London, since at that time (no longer) they offered exceptionally cheap tickets out of Male.
Since then, getting to the Maldives has become easier. BA launched the route, of course. As I wrote last year, Turkish Airlines is offering Male now as well, offering an option for Star Alliance miles holders.
And now, BA’s partner Cathay Pacific is launching flights from Hong Kong, starting in late October.
Now, lets be clear about this. Flying to the Maldives via Hong Kong is neither a cheap nor short thing to do! However, if:
you really want to go to the Maldives but BA isn’t showing Avios seats
you are happy with a two-centre holiday (ie Hong Kong and the Maldives)
you are flush with Avios
you are travelling as a couple and not with children
…. then it might work!
Cathay will fly to Male four times a week, on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The outbound timing is poor, leaving Hong Kong at 5.15pm and arriving at 9.25pm. Coming back, it is better (assuming you can get a late check-out at your resort), with an 11.35pm departure and an arrival into Hong Kong at 8.55am.
They are using an A330 with fully-flat seats in business class, which look pretty good:
It is a long flight from Hong Kong at 7 hours. You are looking at 50,000 Avios per person, return, in Business Class – and that is on top of the Avios needed to get to Hong Kong.
They also seem to limit Business Class redemptions seats to 2 per flight, which is why I said that this option was only good for a couple, not a family. I was struggling to find a lot of days with availability, so you’d need to be flexible.
Another option, by the way, is Malaysia Airways. Availability from Kuala Lumpur to Male in Business Class seems to be excellent, far better than with Cathay. This is just a four hour flight. However, it is still 40,000 Avios per person, return, in Business Class and they appear to be running a Boeing 737 on the route – potentially with short haul seats? For four hours, though, 20,000 Avios per person, return, in Economy may be better.
Neither of these options make a lot of sense if you’re simply planning to go to The Maldives and back. Your availability options will certainly improve, though, if you build in an Asian stopover as well. You could even mix and match these flights with the BA direct services in order to get availability for the dates you want.
Qatar Airways entry into oneworld on October 30th will also open up other options, with a potential routing via Doha. Other options include flying on BA to the Middle East or India – or even Singapore, which is a short onward flight – and getting a connecting flight for cash.
How to earn Avios from UK credit cards (January 2023)
As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Avios points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!
In February 2022, Barclaycard launched two exciting new Barclaycard Avios Mastercard cards with a bonus of up to 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You qualify for the bonus on these cards even if you have a British Airways American Express card:
There are two official British Airways American Express cards with attractive sign-up bonuses:
SPECIAL OFFER: Until 21st February 2023, the sign-up bonus on the British Airways Premium Plus American Express card is increased to 35,000 Avios from 25,000 Avios. You can apply here.
You can also get generous sign-up bonuses by applying for American Express cards which earn Membership Rewards points.
Run your own business?
We recommend Capital On Tap for limited companies. You earn 1 Avios per £1 which is impressive for a Visa card, along with a sign-up bonus worth 10,500 Avios.
SPECIAL OFFER: Capital On Tap has increased its sign-up bonus to points worth 30,000 Avios if you apply by 4th February. This is exclusive to Head for Points readers. Click here to apply.
You should also consider the British Airways Accelerating Business credit card. This is open to sole traders as well as limited companies and has a 30,000 Avios sign-up bonus.
There are also generous bonuses on the two American Express Business cards, with the points converting at 1:1 into Avios. These cards are open to sole traders as well as limited companies.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Avios. This includes both personal and small business cards.