Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

One man’s tale of a week on points at a luxury resort whilst spending no money

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My article on the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives yesterday sparked a lot of reader interest.

One issue, of course, is that even if you can get a $2,000 + tax per night Beach Villa With Pool for free using your Hilton Honors points, you’re still on the hook for your flights, meals and, it turns out, the $370 + taxes return boat transfer from Male.

Most of our readers would be happy with that.  The focus of HFP is on maximising your travel experience for a moderate cost, not trying to get a low level travel experience for zero cost.  Of course, there is always one ….

My friend Nick reminded me of a classic article which I published way back in 2012.  If you ever find yourself thinking like this person, take a step back …..

Perhaps you’ve been in this situation.  You have enough points to stay in a luxury hotel, but you are worried about the cost of food, drink and other extras once you are there.  One FlyerTalker had it all worked out ….

InterContinental Bora Bora

After she [my wife] saw the video of the room, she was happy to stay in the Coral suite [of the InterContinental Thalasso Bora Bora, clearly not a cheap place].  The main reason she would have liked to stay in the Coral is because of the kitchen.  When we first planned this trip, we had to figure out a way to make it affordable.  The best way to do this was to stay in the coral suite for the kitchen.

I contacted the hotel and asked if those rooms had a kitchen.  I was told yes but they didn’t have any utensils in the kitchen.  I asked for specifics and they said they don’t carry anything in the kitchen.  So we decided to pay for the extra luggage on the Tahiti domestic flight.  The $100 we spent on extra luggage for one of our fares went from 44 lbs. to 110 lbs.

As time got closer, I decided that I wasn’t ok with staying in the Coral suite.  I wanted to stay in the OWB [over-water bungalow] [with no kitchen].  So here is what we did. 

We purchased an electric burner from Best Buy.  We brought:

  • the burner
  • pans
  • cups
  • silverware
  • drink packets
  • a voltage converter, and
  • 50 lbs of food

We purchased:

  • box meals
  • chips
  • canned chicken/ham
  • peanut butter
  • jelly
  • tortillas
  • English muffins
  • mac/cheese
  • rice packets
  • turkey sausage links
  • soup
  • hot sauce
  • vegetarian food
  • protein powder

and other various items to be able to eat on the cheap while we there. 

We ended up eating in for every meal except three while being there a week.  (Honey is not allowed)  We did purchase limes, cheese and loafs of bread from Tiare Market.  We spent less than $150 on food while we were there.  That includes the market and the few times we ate out.

I do have pictures of the outside of the Coral Suites but not the inside.  I also have a picture of all the food we were able to bring with us.  Feel free to PM me and I will send them to you.

Mind is well and truly boggled.

IHG One Rewards update – June 2024:

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Comments (148)

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  • Charlieface says:

    For anyone who eats only kosher, all of this is completely normal anyway, because they need their own pots and pans etc. Some people take disposable aluminium pans and plastic cutlery, it’s a lot lighter.

    • SimonW says:

      Not really…. If you are that orthodox you will be staying and eating in Kosher hotels and restaurants. And if you arent that strict, you will eat non-offensive food (ie fish and veg) cooked in a non-kosher kitchen.

      • C77 says:

        You’d be surprised. There are plenty of high spending Jewish clients who want to observe a basic kosher diet without the need of a completely kosher kitchen And they don’t necesarily have a problem charging their iPad or using a hotel lift on the Sabbath. Most decent hotels will be able to source kosher ingredients with a little notice…. and charge accordingly. Using brand new cooking pots, pans, utensils and cutlery for kosher gets around the issue and they can be put into general use afterwards. Flexibility on both the client and the hotel usually finds a happy medium.

        • Rob says:

          No, if you’re orthodox you take your own private chef these days and he works out of a demarcated corner of the hotel kitchen using his own equipment. So the Jewish parents at school tell me.

        • Charlieface says:

          Rob, I will grant you there are high flyers who do that. But anyone on a more middle-class budget who’s any sort of orthodox cooks their own food, usually in a self catered apartment and they much prefer that. They won’t touch anything cooked by the hotel (unless the whole hotel is kosher, few and far between), just fresh fruit or cereal etc. In the USA apparently 25% of all food sold in supermarkets anyway has some kind of kosher certification so its no big deal.

  • zzzzzzzzzz...... says:

    Triprep – no PITA bread?

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