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Does Radisson Rewards (Amex partner) offer the best Maldives overwater bungalow redemption?

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An overwater bungalow at a luxury Maldives resort is, for many people, the dream getaway.

(Not mine, to be honest – five days at One & Only Reethi Rah 15 years ago was enough for me – but I know many others feel differently.)

Redeeming hotel points in The Maldives can be, proportionately, good value. You will need a huge number of points, but the cash rates are so high that you are getting a decent ‘pence per point’ ratio. What happens if you don’t have 500,000 – 1m hotel points in your account though?

Radisson Blu Maldives resort

Radisson Blu Resort Maldives opened a couple of years ago, during the pandemic.  It’s probably not in the same league as Reethi Rah or Cheval Blanc, but it certainly looks like a solid five star resort.

The resort website is here.

All villas, either beach or overwater, have a private swimming pool.  They range in size from 215 sq m to 410 sq m for a three bedroom.

Food and drink comes courtesy of seven restaurants (plus room service) which seems a little overkill for a 128 villa resort.  Breakfast is included in all bookings which will keep your incidental costs down.

Radisson Blu Resort Maldives on points

Transfers will not be cheap, unfortunately.  Whilst some resorts in the Maldives can be reached by speedboat from the airport – Reethi Rah is one of those – the Radisson is amongst those requiring a seaplane transfer.  The seaplane costs $510 per adult and $300 per child (2-11 years) for a return trip. 

There is an alternative option of taking a domestic flight to Villa Airport Maamigili and then connecting by speedboat, but the cost is the same and sounds less fun.

There is plenty of additional information on the resort website.  I don’t intend to go into all that the Radisson Blu Resort Maldives offers here.

Radisson Blu Resort Maldives on points

What does Radisson Blu Resort Maldives cost on points?

Radisson Rewards has a maximum points rate of 75,000 points per night.  Impressively, Radisson Rewards has decided not to create an additional higher category for this resort.  75,000 points per night is all you pay.

Here is an example for a week in November for an overwater bungalow with a private pool:

On points, it is 75,000 + £8 taxes per night:

Radisson Blu Resort Maldives points

For cash, it starts at £717 for a B&B rate, which matches what you get on a reward:

points stay at radisson blu resort maldives

How can I get my hands on Radisson Rewards points?

I accept that it is unlikely that you are sitting on a huge pot of Radisson Rewards points.  However, Radisson Rewards is an American Express Membership Rewards transfer partner (see here) at the generous rate of 1:3.

This means that a 7 night stay at Radisson Blu Resort Maldives, costing 525,000 Radisson Rewards points, can be yours for (525/3) 175,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.  A lot of readers DO have that sitting around.

This isn’t a risk free transfer from Amex, of course.

If you had to cancel your booking later on, you’ll find that there are very few alternative high end uses for those Radisson Rewards points.

It is also very tricky to get Avios redemption flights to the Maldives, which at any rate only operate during the Winter season (November to March).  You CAN get availability year-round on Qatar Airways using Avios, but you wouldn’t be able to use a British Airways American Express 2-4-1 companion voucher.

The resort website is here if you want to dig into this idea a bit deeper.  I should also mention that these are, by Maldives standards, attractive rates for cash stays too given you get an overwater bungalow. The resort is presumably still struggling to build a following after its badly timed opening.


How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Radisson Rewards points and status from UK credit cards (June 2022)

Radisson Rewards does not have a dedicated UK credit card. However, you can earn Radisson Rewards points by converting Membership Rewards points earned from selected UK American Express cards.

These cards earn Membership Rewards points:

SPECIAL OFFER: The sign-up bonus on Amex Gold is increased from 20,000 Membership Rewards points to 30,000 Membership Rewards points until 19th July 2022. This card is free for the first year.

Membership Rewards points convert at 1:3 into Radisson Rewards points which is a very attractive rate.  The cards above all earn 1 Membership Rewards point per £1 spent on your card, which converts to 3 Radisson Rewards points.

Even better, holders of The Platinum Card receive free Radisson Rewards Gold status for as long as they hold the card.  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Marriott Bonvoy Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

(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 (51)

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  • Matt says:

    Le Meridien Maldives Resort and Spa is another contender, you can typically book a week in an overwater villa for <300k Marriott points (I.e. <200k Amex points).

  • Jon says:

    That is a good deal, but B&B in the Maldives is going to be pricey, especially at a 5* resort.

    I am still holding out for decent business class flights to MLE. It’s been a while since we’ve been and I just can’t bring myself to pay over £5k for a pair of business class seats and as for BA: WTP is more than Sri Lankan business!

    • Secret Squirrel says:

      @jon: we’ve been seeing these flights on QR from EU for 3K recently.

      • masaccio says:

        I can see £2146 from BRU but nothing better than that. Plus 2 stopovers and me being a bit anti-Qatar at the moment after they royally screwed up my Tanzania flights

    • Paul says:

      If you’re prepared to make an extra stop I booked BA/QR from Gatwick via Doha to Columbo. Then booked separate flights Columbo to Male the next day. That saved me over £6k on flights for three of us. Was c£2100 each for flights via BA hols. Its a bit of extra hassle but for that big a saving it was worth it.

      You can’t book the CMB-MLE flights on the same PNR I was told because there’s no BA codeshare number for it.

  • Softy25 says:

    I quite agree with you on ‘over water’ bungalows very impracticable. I’m not a fan of the Maldives but get one on the beach with a nice view.

  • Kevin C says:

    In case it’s of interest, the Maldives have just dropped the requirement for a PCR test for fully vaccinated tourists.

    Radisson looks good. We are going to the Conrad Rangali next month. Two villas with Hilton points, free breakfast from Platinum Amex, going business with Emirates points, returning club suite on BA with Avios. It’s been fun to put together.

    • Kevin C says:

      We also like beach villas. I think it’s because they’re slightly posher versions of beach huts in Clacton.

      And it feels rude not to say we wouldn’t have been able to organise our holiday without reading this site.

      • Rob says:

        To be honest I would also take a beach villa over an overwater but I assumed I was just odd.

        • Kevin C says:

          Rangali has beach villas and water villas for standard awards. Water villas cost more $$$ but we chose beach villas because we like hanging out in the garden and we aren’t on honeymoon. We’ve booked a staggeringly expensive two bedroom water villa for our last night so maybe we’ll be converted.

          • masaccio says:

            Water villas are sometimes a bit cooler depending upon the design as they get more of a breeze. If the resort has a good house reef and they’re close to the reef drop off, they can be awesome for snorkelling. But yeah, some resorts charge a fortune to upgrade

        • mutley says:

          Definitely, beach villa for me before an over water, especially with young children

  • Iain says:

    I will not use Radisson again and here is why

    I am just back from rescuing 3 children of friends from Kiev. Driving them from the border to Warsaw I asked my brother to book the Radisson in Warsaw for three nights, he did it on booking.com. When I arrived at hotel I remembered I had gold status, giving fre breakfast and free parking etc but they refused as it had been booked on booking.com. Absolutely no sympathy just a standard no…. so much for Radisson saying they are helping. Might have just been the receptionist but disgusting yet every other Pole has been amazing, giving up rooms in their homes free medical treatment etc left message for manager to speak to me … no contact !

    • Lee says:

      No free breakfast for gold status anyway

    • Benilyn says:

      Isn’t it normal to not provide on third party bookings?

      • Rob M says:

        Iain was likely expecting some generosity given the situation

        • John says:

          Well he could have booked it on his account, or offered to pay the 20% booking.com commission.

    • Lady London says:

      Sorry Iain it’s well known hotels don’t give benefits on bookings through OTA’s. Very possible the OTA is getting 25% commission on what you paid. Or the OTA might have secured a fractional price compared to direct rates, by taking a block of rooms and selling them off singly.

      And because it’s Monday and I’m feeling stroppy I’ll also comment that you using the kids and Ukraine card and you being a hero is just a bit cheap.

      Save it for something that really matters like if someone gives one of these kids free urgent medical treatment.

      • BuildBackBetter says:

        +1

      • rob keane says:

        hands up all those that personally got involved in rescuing 3 kids from ukraine…I just see one hand here.

        I don’t think it’s unreasonable to have gone to that magnificent effort to think the hotel might have slightly gone out of their way and supplied the kids breakfast whether it was within the contract or not, and to call out the hotel that didn’t.

        But I guess some will only see a negative in a tremendous positive.

        Well done Iain

    • BuildBackBetter says:

      If you book through an OTA – have zero expectations of benefits.

    • Mike says:

      Iain – you had unrealistic expectations. You don’t get membership benefits if you book via a third party

  • david says:

    £510 for the seaplane transfer alone would rule me out. Ive been planning a budget trip with inter island transfers for $1 on public ferries, thats more right up my street.

    • TKMAXX says:

      Maldives is not a budget holiday destination

      • John says:

        It can be.

        • Rob says:

          We did a (brief) review of Holiday Inn Maldives – https://www.headforpoints.com/2020/10/07/review-holiday-inn-kandooma-resort-maldives/

          The budget options tend to be for people who can nip across from Dubai etc for a long weekend. If you’re going to travel from the UK then most people want to go upmarket. It has done a very good job of branding itself though. At Reethi Rah, for example, despite paying four figures per night, you can’t even go for a paddle because of how sharp the coral / stones are in the water, which run right up to the water line.

        • Sam says:

          It’s simply not for budget travel by virtue. £510 is considerably an average price for transfer given WA charges £800+ for only a boat transfer. And most of the luxury hotels there are doing that. If the boat transfer rules you out then it simply means it’s not somewhere you should go, you’ll end up spending a fortune on food anyway.

          • John says:

            I went to the Maldives for 10 nights about 7 years ago, although we were in a group of 25 and we started in Hong Kong. It was around £2000 each for everything including (economy) flights and boat transfer, daily boat trips to different islands / activities etc. all meals and my extra spending.

            Yes if you want a private plane / boat and the highest luxury hotels it will be expensive, they are a more popular destination today and the whole world has experienced price inflation which will be worse for a country which has to import everything and makes nothing, but I believe you can still have a worthwhile experience there for a non-ridiculous price.

    • Erico1875 says:

      £20 beach hut in South Goa does us.
      Amazing food from beach shacks and cycle rental for £1 a day

      • masaccio says:

        We must have different tastes in Goa – the Taj is amazing. But agreed on eating at beach shacks

      • Lady London says:

        Ah….lovely

  • Cousin Greg says:

    Unpopular opinion but Maldives is very overrated and very boring. Felt like prison!

  • MCO says:

    Anyone know the kids policy here? Can you get 2AD and 2Ch in one room? Their website seems to suggest 3AD and 1CH max per room but when you go to book it only shows 2 bedroom options.

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