Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Move quickly: Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi wide open for points from Feb-May 2022

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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, was the de facto ‘best bang for your buck’.  One of our readers wrote a long review on Conrad Rangali for us which you can find here.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives

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.

Waldorf Astoria Maldives

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.

The resort website is here if you want to learn more.  The current ‘buy points’ offer is here.

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 and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (June 2022)

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.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

30,000 points and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

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 with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors 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.)

Comments (52)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • meta says:

    Many dates for Conrad this year as well up to 21 Dec incl. October half term.

  • KBuffett says:

    I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong, but I don’t see these redemption values in the app. I’m HH Gold

  • will says:

    I’ve lost touch with hilton a bit.
    What’s the current policy on breakfasts for status members at Waldorf properties?

  • Chris says:

    Most of us don’t have the luxury of spending $500 a night on a room with points or $2000 a night in cash. But I am sure there are some takers here

    • Anna says:

      Even if booking on points you have to factor in that ridiculously expensive yacht transfer and general F & B costs in the Maldives!

      • roberto says:

        Agreed @anna Its very expensive, 10 days food and beverage plus the seaplane was over $6000 for the two of us at the conrad last month. We had breafast included and mostly skipped lunch !

        Yes its was still “cheap” as we used points for the accomadation but we could have gone all incluse elsewhere for similar money of course. It was am amazing island and an amazing holiday.

      • mr_jetlag says:

        WA transfer cost is ridiculous, at least with the seaplanes you can understand some of the prices but they’re just taking the p*ss here. I’ve been to One&Only and Kurumba and, while not “cheap” are both value for money for the best combination of beach/water/sealife I’ll probably see in my lifetime.

      • chabuddy geezy says:

        Waldorf F&B prices are crazy even for the Maldives. This is probably the cheapest upfront cost you can get for a top spec over water villa with big private pool though.

      • Babyg says:

        Agreed the yacht is reassuringly expensive, but its on par with the cost of the plane Transfers, and to be honest the boat is way better than the plane, with plane transfers youre waiting around for a shared plane, but the boat goes when youre ready. I fully agree that the F & B costs are eye watering, budget around £500 per couple per day minimum, unless you want to skip meals/drinks etc….

  • Nick says:

    Just booked 5 nights in Feb for 480000. Thanks Rob.

  • YC says:

    Doesn’t seem like it allows you to mix and match 120k and 150k nights to get the 5th night free?

    • HH says:

      I’m waiting for points balance to update to see for myself, but I expected it to work in line with https://hiltonhonors3.hilton.com/en/promotions/5th-night-free-example.html

      I haven’t seen any 5-night stretches that are all 120k so I assumed I’d need at least 150k night in there.

      • YC says:

        I couldn’t get it to work so had to find a 5night straight with 120k. Also word of warning, the pooling of points can take 24-48hrs so its a bit risky. Points purchase was instant though!

        • HH says:

          160k (+160k bonus) purchase on the account I’m using to book wasn’t instant. Even the confirmation email said we’ll let you know when deposited to your account.

          Smaller purchase on another account came through immediately, and the email wording said balance updated. I initiated the transfer, as you say it’s not instant so fingers crossed it won’t be too late…

        • MKB says:

          The difficulty might be because the same room category is not available for all five nights. There are two room categories that show up for awards. One is the King Reef Villa. I think the other is the Twin Reef Villa.

          • YC says:

            I got to final booking page (same room for 5nights) but it was pricing it at 480+$2k+. Not sure if Hilton were just playing some tricks. This compares with 5nights (all at 120k) which the final bill came to just 480points so it felt wrong. Maybe just unlucky.

    • MKB says:

      I was still up when this opened up just after 4am this morning. My first 4 nights were at 120,000 each and the final night was at 150,000. It correctly priced at 480,000 giving me 5th night free.

      This is my third March booking here. Previous two succumbed to the shutdown.

  • will says:

    Does the old hilton CC earn more points at a hilton?

    Don’t suppose anyones tried to pay a non GBP bill with the old hilton attached to curve and had it post as a direct hilton transaction?

    • John says:

      Yes, and no it doesn’t work. So only worth it in the UK unless someone else is reimbursing you, or rarely if the hotel happens to be offering a good DCC exchange rate which they let you see before paying, and you are smart enough to work it out on the fly when checking out…

    • RussellH says:

      Certainly supposed to. I think I have only once used my Hilton Visa outwith the UK though. Extra points did not post, but a complaint to Barclaycard sorted that very quickly.

  • HH says:

    I stayed here for 5 nights a few months before covid hit. I bought and transferred points at lunchtime today to book again, but my points balance hasn’t updated yet. Frustrating! I’m happy to answer any questions people have about the property while I keep refreshing…

    • Peter K says:

      Have you tried signing out and back in again?

      • HH says:

        I have. Even the confirmation email said we’ll let you know when deposited to your account.

        I just went into the T&Cs – slightly concerned what’s causing the delay:
        “The Points purchased under the Point Purchase Program will be posted to the Member’s Hilton Honors account immediately (provided there are no technical issues that prevent immediate posting).“

    • Benilyn says:

      call ’em, they might lend u points to book (I have never tried before)

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