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Forums Frequent flyer programs Other frequent flyer schemes Maldives – reward flight recommendations please

  • NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Put this in another thread but think it will get lost. I’d be interested in knowing with the following options what the HFP community would suggest booking for my wife and I for March 2025 to MLE (I’m a travel agent, so have hotels and only need reward flights). I’m flexible on dates but no direct club/upper class direct available, do normally like direct flights but want to hear thoughts on whether it’s worth an indirect route to do business class.

    I’ve got 300k ish avios, 80k Virgin points, 165k membership rewards, AMEX plat but no status in any airline.

    1. BA – Premium out, economy back with a 2-4-1.
    2. Virgin – Premium both ways (need to check if my voucher still valid)
    3. Combo of above – BA PE out and Virgin in (waste of a voucher?)
    4. Business to India (BLR has plenty of availability) and India to MLE cash
    5. QR business out but requires an overnight in Doha.
    6. Emirates – cash economy with guaranteed upgrade by converting AMEX rewards to skywards miles (don’t quite have enough to do both legs)

    Any thoughts or other suggestions much appreciated. My wife is a nervous flyer so no crazy 3/4 stop routes please!

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    You may have missed the boat for March with BA and QR in J as these go fast. If you can get the first leg in J on QR, the second would probably be fine in Y as it’s only 5ish hours.

    Returning either consider BA PE as that might be acceptable on a day flight, or use your voucher to upgrade 2 of you on Virgin (award seats are released later than BA and QR so you chances will be better).

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Thanks @northernlass have definitely missed the boat for direct J on BA (and haven’t enough points for Virgin) in fact I can only get 2x PE out and 2x economy back on BA which feels like a waste of a voucher, hence considering a 1 stop strategy as an alternative (options 4/5/6 above)

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    If you could stand to be in Y & PE for that long, I bet using avios and a 241 still gives a significant saving on cash fares!

    If you also reserved exit or bulkhead seats in Y it would be a much more manageable experience than standard seating.

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    It does! 77,500 avios and £400 for 2. Definitely the cheapest of the options! Good idea with the exit seats for the economy leg…

    BBbetter 743 posts

    BLR is not a bad option. It’s a small clean airport. Used to have a very nice lounge called 080, don’t know if it’s still open. You need a visa though.

    BA flies daily. Last month both Virgin and Air India started flying, resulting in huge capacity on this route. If anyone has to reduce capacity, it’s more likely AI or VS.

    masaccio 740 posts

    I’d do the India thing again. Indigo were perfectly decent if very much no frills. Rather pricey in terms of £/mile but the whole thing was so much cheaper than cash to MLE.

    https://www.flightsfrom.com/explorer/MLE?mapview

    If I were to pick a stopover city it could be Cochi but direct flights are limited to Air India.

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Thanks, so @BBbetter, so visa needed to transit? That sounds a bit of a faff! Presumably yes as it’d be a separate ticket. BLR definitely has the best availability in J of any obvious route however.

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    @masaccio – thanks also. Your trip report was what got me thinking on these lines.

    masaccio 740 posts

    Thanks, so @BBbetter, so visa needed to transit? That sounds a bit of a faff! Presumably yes as it’d be a separate ticket. BLR definitely has the best availability in J of any obvious route however.

    Not a massive faff, but faff. The form took about 30 minutes per person and it’s about $25.

    If you are able to find flights that connect such that you don’t leave the airport then you don’t need a visa. But I could not find ones that landed in India in time for a 1pm flight back to the UK.

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Thanks for your help everyone! Managed to get Virgin (so direct flights) 2 x Premium on the way out and 2 x Upper Class on the way back. Only downside was my voucher expires in three days time and all the three agents I spoke to told me it was a ‘book by’ date so had to take the hit. Virgin were extremely helpful, got straight through each time and the agents held the seats for me pending transfer of AMEX reward points.

    Worth noting the upper class seats were still available at 7am- 330 days out.

    Cost – 165,000 reward points and £1591 for 2 people.

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    Surely “book by” is preferable to “travel by”, or am I missing something? My last VS voucher triggered on my anniversary date instead of 4/5 months later, which is going to cause me problems if I get an agent who insists it’s travel by!

    masaccio 740 posts

    Thanks for your help everyone! Managed to get Virgin (so direct flights) 2 x Premium on the way out and 2 x Upper Class on the way back. Only downside was my voucher expires in three days time and all the three agents I spoke to told me it was a ‘book by’ date so had to take the hit. Virgin were extremely helpful, got straight through each time and the agents held the seats for me pending transfer of AMEX reward points.

    Worth noting the upper class seats were still available at 7am- 330 days out.

    Cost – 165,000 reward points and £1591 for 2 people.

    Congratulations. Now on to the less stressful bit of choosing a resort! I find this tool a good one to get an idea of where to start looking.

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Surely “book by” is preferable to “travel by”, or am I missing something? My last VS voucher triggered on my anniversary date instead of 4/5 months later, which is going to cause me problems if I get an agent who insists it’s travel by!

    My mistake – clearly I wasn’t quite on it this morning. Was told by three separate agents I had to fly the outbound leg before expiry, which is Monday!

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    That doesn’t bode well for when I call in about 4 weeks. Got one expiring in December and another in October 25, I guess the December one is going to be wasted!

    NigelHamilton 218 posts

    Thanks for your help everyone! Managed to get Virgin (so direct flights) 2 x Premium on the way out and 2 x Upper Class on the way back. Only downside was my voucher expires in three days time and all the three agents I spoke to told me it was a ‘book by’ date so had to take the hit. Virgin were extremely helpful, got straight through each time and the agents held the seats for me pending transfer of AMEX reward points.

    Worth noting the upper class seats were still available at 7am- 330 days out.

    Cost – 165,000 reward points and £1591 for 2 people.

    Congratulations. Now on to the less stressful bit of choosing a resort! I find this tool a good one to get an idea of where to start looking.

    Thanks very much for this, I will use it in the future. I was lucky enough to win a competition so already have my resorts sorted, but it’s an excellent tool.

    phantomchickenz 317 posts

    It’s meant to be ‘travel by’ for the voucher:

    “You can spend your reward for up to 24 months from the date it’s issued. That means you have to have booked your flights and taken the outbound flight within those 24 months. You can take the return journey afterwards”

    https://uk.virginmoney.com/cards/vaa-cards/reward-plus-terms/

    NorthernLass 7,985 posts

    Yes but historically agents have been quite flexible in their application of the rules.

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