Whilst well behind schedule (when we covered it last April it was targeting a November 2018 opening), the JW Marriott Maldives Resort & Spa is now taking bookings from September 2019.
You can learn about the resort on its website here.
As well as offering excellent value for your points, given how crazily expensive the Maldives can be, what is interesting here is that overwater villas are available for redemption. There are not many Maldives resorts where you can use points, and when you can it is usually restricted to beach villas.
The reason seems to be that the overwater villas are actually cheaper than the beach villas for cash. Whilst they are marginally smaller, this is a little surprising as there is normally a premium for being on the water.
For 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, you can book either:
Overwater Pool Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sofa bed, Sunrise view, Ocean view, Balcony
Beach Pool Sunrise Villa, 1 Bedroom Villa, 1 King, Sofa bed, Sunrise view, Partial ocean view
Annoyingly, whilst these are both around 250 square metres – three times the size of the average new build UK home – there is a maximum occupancy of three people on both. The only option which takes four people is the 2-bed beach villa which is not available for points, although you may want to try to negotiate a cash upgrade on a points booking.
What value do I get per point?
For a random night in November, the Overwater Pool Villa is selling for £996 per night including service charge and taxes. The Beach Pool Sunrise Villa is selling for £1,082.
This is well over 1p per Marriott Bonvoy point, compared to my usual valuation of 0.5p.
Head into January and rates are shooting up even further. In mid January, the Overwater Pool Villa is selling for £1,495 per night including service charge and taxes. The Beach Pool Sunrise Villa is selling for £1,623. You are getting 1.75p to 1.9p per Bonvoy point here.
Don’t forget that all Marriott Bonvoy members get ‘5 nights for the points of 4’ when redeeming. This would take the ‘value per point’ in January up to 2.4p for a Beach Villa.
This won’t be a free holiday, of course ….
Of course, this is The Maldives. Nothing is cheap. For a start, getting to the resort is a $600 per person round-trip in a seaplane. As the resort is 200km (!) from Male this is not hugely unreasonable. There is also the option of taking a domestic flight from Male and then a speedboat.
You will also have a chunky daily bill for lunch and dinner, although Platinum Elite and higher members of Bonvoy should receive free breakfast.
The JW Marriott Maldives home page is here if you want to take a look.
Don’t forget to take a look at the brand new Waldorf Astoria Maldives too if you have Hilton Honors points.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards (July 2021)
There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card usually comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year. Until 31st August 2021, the bonus is doubled to 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
You can also earn American Express Membership Rewards points with American Express Gold (20,000 bonus points), the American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus points) and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus points) and Business Platinum (40,000 bonus points).
(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.)