Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Two new Maldives resorts for 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.

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.

Hotel offers update – June 2023:

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

Want to buy hotel points?

  • Hilton Honors is offering a 100% bonus when you buy points by 18th July. Click here.
  • IHG One Rewards is offering an 80% bonus when you buy points by 7th June. Click here.
  • Marriott Rewards is offering a 30%-50% bonus when you buy points by 2nd July. Click here.

Comments (40)

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  • Jo says:

    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.

  • Dartmouth says:

    Wrong a review?

  • Tom1 says:

    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.

    • John says:

      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)

  • TripRep says:

    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 😉

    • TripRep says:

      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???

  • Michael_s says:

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

    • Tom1 says:

      Sure it is- 25,000 per night?

      • Michael_s says:

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

        • Tom1 says:

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

        • Yuff says:

          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)

  • Lee says:

    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.

    • Rob says:

      You would definitely want to book before 31/12 and the new programme, I agree.

  • Adam says:

    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

    • TripRep says:

      WTF? Got a link?

      • Adam says:

        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.

        • TripRep says:

          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.

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