Two new Maldives resorts which will soon be bookable on points

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The secret of maximising the value of hotel loyalty points is to redeem them in ludicrously expensive places, where even the maximum possible price that the loyalty scheme can charge looks like a bargain.

I doubt there is a better place to find examples of this than The Maldives.

For many years, the Conrad Rangali resort, part of Hilton Honors, has been the de facto ‘best bang for your buck’.  95,000 points per night for a beach villa – which is the highest points price that Hilton Honors has for a standard reward – is a great deal given the cash rates there.

(One of our readers wrote a long review on Conrad Rangali for us which you can find here.)

The days of Conrad Rangali holding the crown for ‘best redemption’ may be up, however!  There are two new resorts riding into town.

Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi

The first up will be a sister hotel to Conrad Rangali, to be called Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi.  (Those of you with long memories will remember that there used to a Waldorf Astoria resort in The Maldives but it was rebranded.)

This is due to open early in 2019.  A picture of one of the very modern overwater bungalows is above.

As well as being brand new, this property will have one crucial price advantage over Conrad Rangali – it is accessible by boat from the airport.  If you stay at the Conrad there is a non-avoidable $500 per person charge for a seaplane transfer.

You cannot book yet, but the website of the developer here has a lot more information.

Rewards will presumably be 95,000 points per night, the current cap.  Hilton Honors lets status members book five nights for the points of four, however, which would take a five night stay down to an average of 76,000 points per night.

In particular, there is an excellent promotional video which will have you rushing to build up your Hilton Honors points.

JW Marriott Resort and Spa

The second newcomer is a JW Marriott resort, on an atoll called Vagaru.  There is a holding page on the Marriott website but, again, you cannot book yet. The opening date is meant to be November.

The most expensive Marriott hotel redemption is 45,000 points per night.  Like Hilton, you can book ‘five for four’ which would take it down to an average of 36,000 points per night.  That would mean, laughably, that anyone with a Starwood Preferred Guest points balance would only need 12,000 SPG points per night!  (SPG points transfer to Marriott Rewards at 1:3).

Alternatively, you could book it with a Marriott Travel Package which I outlined here.

There is very little information available.  Apparently the resort is a 55 minute flight by seaplane from Male. The property will feature 61 beach and overwater villas, ranging from 192 sqm to 638 sqm, all with private pools.

The only image I can find is the one above.

Get in early and rooms should be available

New hotels are generally very open with redemption availability.  It takes time to build up occupancy at a new hotel, and this is especially true for somewhere like The Maldives where you need to educate travel agents and where people tend to book well in advance.   Offering up rooms for redemption is a good way of getting people in during the early days.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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  1. I’ve been eyeing the jw Marriott Maldives ……. for a very long time. They bern claiming to build it since 2011. I won’t hold my breath but still excited.

    Thankfully went to Conrad rainfall for honeymoon. The seaplane although extremely memorable had jaw dropping prices. Monopoly by black rock.

  2. Dartmouth says:

    Wrong a review?

  3. I also read there will be a Curio by Hilton on the new Crossroads development – I’m sure that said opening either 2018 or early 2019 also.

    • This was announced on many travel websites in late March – scheduled to open late 2018. Like the WA only a boat ride away from the airport (MLE)

  4. Rob – IIRC, I did mention in mention about the WA in my review after chatting with the Conrad Rangali staff during my last stay. There’s also rumours of a DoubleTree in the works. During my seaplane flight, I also believe I may of saw the WA being constructed by building up sand to make the islands akin to how they built the Palm in Dubai.

    The WA water bungalows look stunning, of course my immediate thought was I wonder how good the house reef is for snorkeling. If it’s impressive I may overlook my need for WAs to be in keeping with the style of the NYC original. Gonna take a few years to snag enough points mind you…..

    One other thing worthy of note, free breakfast for Golds at WA 😉

    • Here’s what I said about the WA rumours a year ago…

      “I’ve read recent newspaper articles that highlight proposals for substantial foreign investment to develop many new resorts across the Maldives. There’s even rumours of plans to develop a Waldorf Astoria on a new large resort spanning 3 islands in the next few years. I also heard a guest speculate on the possibility of an existing hotel resort rebranding as a DoubleTree”

      So the DoubleTree rumour could may now be the Curio???

  5. Michael_s says:

    Hyatt Maldives is the one to go apparently. Sadly not bookable by points..

    • Sure it is- 25,000 per night?

      • Michael_s says:

        I just meant it’s hard to collect points for UK residents

        • that I agree!
          I have enough for one night – but can’t afford the other cash nights!

        • I’ve seen a few offers to buy points with a 30-40% discount over the last year

        • Arnie_b says:

          I am at the Park Hyatt Hadahaa at the moment. Brilliant hotel and especially good if you are a Globalist. Only about 60 rooms and has the look and feel of an Aman. Food, drinks and transfers are expensive and as such I would budget $500 per night for incidentals beyond the room and breakfast if you like a few drinks.
          (We redeemed points for 7 nights and a free night award. I travel extensively outside the UK & Europe, hence had the points)

  6. JW Marriott could be re branded from The Viceroy Maldives on Vagaru Island, you could find a bit more pics. Although if 45000 points will still be capped after merge with SPG by looking at W and St Regit redemption.

  7. I wonder how many points it will be, even if they allow you to use points on the new underwater apartments at Rangali currently being worked on as we speakl

    • WTF? Got a link?

      • Not seen anything officially but our host told us about it and beach side 200’s you could see a digger on a platform boat in the sea in the distance.

        • Really we’ve stayed in the KBV and Deluxe BV between 210-220.

          How on earth do they build underwater apartments there, it’s also the prime reef for snorkeling, seems v v bizarre.

  8. Presumably all this construction has no consequence on the beauty people are supposed to be there to see underwater? They all have amazing eco policies?

  9. AlanC says:

    And a Holiday Inn Resort showing at 40,000 points or 115 USD a night on a random night next week.

  10. I know Maldives seems excessive (and it is), but the amount development there in the next few years could ruin the place…

    Here’s another bizarre development…

    • I read somewhere that the Maldives are sinking due to global warming and that the government are trying to make as much money as possible before the islands are engulfed by rising sea levels. Apparently they have been scoping out land in Australia to relocate the entire population eventually.

    • Will Avery says:

      That’s just ridiculous!! Grrr….I can’t deny it is a great place for diving still but, after seeing the docs on those rubbish dumps, conscience says all these ridiculously swanky hotels and developments a bad idea. Can’t they keep it to the UAE?

  11. Chris says:


    I’ve just signed up to Amex Platinum and put my wife as supplementary card holder. Can she visit Amex lounges and Priority Pass lounges with her own supplementary card, or is it only the main card holder that can do this?

  12. I’m writing this from the deck of my superior water villa at the Conrad right now. Booked 5 nights on points and was offered the upgrade for 80usd per night.

    I reviewed a couple of different villas here, after our 2016 stay and absolutely loved it. This visit however has been rife with service errors and there appears to be a clear trend to devalue the product ahead of the launch of of the WA.

    The staff here are all telling me how much better the WA will be and how anybody with seniority is clamouring to apply there as they’ll be able to live with their families and commute each day by boat, rather than living at the Conrad.

    I’m not overly excited about the prospect of redeeming points at the WA though, one look at availability of points stays at the WA in Amsterdam will tell you why. The HH program doesn’t require hotels to classify any of their rooms as standard.

    • My partner and I got the Hilton credit card last year with the sole intention to redeem at the WA Amsterdam, and we were fully flexible to travel on any weekend but alas there was 0 availability of any standard room for the entire 6 month availability of the voucher! We more than happily resorted to redeeming at the WA Edinburgh and at the end of the day it’s a free night for spending £750 on a cc but still a little frustrating.

      • Amsterdam plays silly games. Under pressure from HQ they did open up all of January 2018!

    • Interesting insights Javier, shame about your experience there, hope the weather is kind. How’s the reef looking for snorkeling?

  13. Really excited about the WA opening up, been keen on a redemption in Rangali, but WA rooms look way better and not having to pay ludicrous amounts for seaplane makes it more worthwhile. Hoping to have enough points saved up for a couple of nights, and also hoping the free night comes back on the credit card!

  14. Mr(s) Entitled says:

    A quick word in support of the sea plane.

    The Conrad lounge is very good and the views of the sea planes coming and going cannot be beaten. The flight itself is stunning.

    For me, it’s the start of the holiday not the end of the travel.

    • Totally agree, the Conrad seaplane lounge is v good and as my review states, as an AV geek I loved chatting with the pilots and looking through the cockpit seeing them fly us in. And the scenery is outstanding.

  15. Mohammed Khan says:

    I went to Maldives but in an all inclusive package. How would it work when redeeming points to stay? IMO staying with an AI or FB package works out way more expensive. Or am I missing something?

  16. Shauna says:

    Wow! We might just have a realistic chance of going back for our 10 year anniversary!! Would it be possible to use points for a family room?

    • Depends how many the base villas sleep. Clearly they are big enough but there may be restrictions.

  17. Edward Clifton-Brown says:

    Gran Melia is due to open in the Thaa Atoll but it is part way through construction and not a lot was going on when I was there last month.

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