Two new Maldives resorts which will soon be bookable on points – JW Marriott and Waldorf Astoria Ithaafushi

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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.

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.

How to earn Hilton Honors points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

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. 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?

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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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