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.
(EDIT: we published this article on Tuesday afternoon as an extra item. If you are reading this via email on Wednesday morning you may find that the rooms have all gone overnight. Apologies.)
The days of Conrad Rangali holding the crown for ‘best Hilton redemption’ are over, however.
Meet Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
A new Waldorf Astoria resort opened in mid 2019 – see the website here: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. A picture of one of the very modern bungalows is above.
As well as being brand new, this property has one advantage over Conrad Rangali – it is accessible by yacht from the airport in Male, meaning that you don’t need to take a seaplane. This is an astonishingly expensive boat ride, however, at $650 plus 23% tax per person return for the 30-minute trip. Children are half price if 6-11 and free if 0-5. The price includes airport ‘meet and greet’ and champagne etc on the yacht itself. No privately chartered transfers are allowed to land at the resort.
A huge amount of reward availability has dropped today, covering February to May 2022.
Take a look at an example here (click to enlarge):
The standard redemption price is 120,000 or 150,000 Hilton Honors points per night – it varies.This is not a Premium Redemption. It is clearly marked as a ‘Standard Room Redemption’ and is Hilton’s priciest reward property. Of course, in this case a ‘Standard Room’ is a 2,500 sq ft beach bungalow with a private pool.
This is exceptionally good value.
Hilton offers ‘5 nights for the points of 4’ to anyone with Hilton Honors status. Be clear: you need Hilton status to get ‘5 for 4’, a basic Blue member will not get this pricing.
A five night stay in a Two Bed Reef Villa With Pool will cost you, based on the dates above:
- $10,711 included taxes (cancellable with 3 days notice) or
- 480,000 Hilton Honors points (if you pick five days at the 120,000 point level)
To save you doing the maths, you are getting 1.57p per Hilton point.
My standard Hilton Honors points valuation is 0.33p. You are getting almost FIVE TIMES my ‘normal’ value here.
You can BUY Hilton Honors points for 0.35p each in a new 100% ‘buy points’ offer which launched today. The annual cap, including the 100% bonus, is 320,000 points per person. What I don’t know is how quickly they will post – it is usually very quick but you can never be sure.
There are restrictions on new Hilton Honors accounts buying points, so you can’t open one purely to do this.
Assuming that you and your partner buy 480,000 points between you via the 100% bonus offer, and use the relatively new Hilton ‘points pooling’ scheme which we discussed here to merge them, you would pay $2,400.
480,000 points costing $2,400 would get you $10,711-worth of stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, assuming that the person booking has Hilton status and can get ‘5 nights for 4’.
As well as buying points, you can also transfer American Express Membership Rewards points to Hilton Honors at 1:2, or Virgin Flying Club miles at 2:3. Do NOT transfer Virgin Points as they can take literally weeks to arrive. American Express transfers should take 2-3 days, which is a bit risky but may be OK if you are flexible on dates. Remember that you’d need a block of five dates which were all at 120,000 points, with no 150,000 nights among them, if you only had 480,000 Hilton Honors points.
PS. Due to a website glitch, you will be told that a cash deposit will be charged to your credit card immediately if you make a points booking. This does not happen and only applies to cash bookings.
How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (June 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.
(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.)