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Sunday Reader Question: How to Get to the Maldives Using Miles?

by on July 15, 2012 · 14 comments

in Sunday Reader Questions

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TPG reader Demario asks:
“I would like to take my wife to places like Maldives so I can maximize my Hilton points, but I want to know how can I redeem a flight to some of these areas using the major American airlines miles with their partners?”

Use miles to get to the Maldives so you can stay at hotels like the Conrad Maldives.

No American carrier flies into the Maldives (MLE is the airport code), so you will need to leverage both alliance and other airline partners. Finding two seats will likely be a challenge, but with enough flexibility you should be able to make it work. Note: Once you get to the Maldives, the flying may not stop there- to get to the Hilton you’ll need to take a ~$500 seaplane flight to their atoll, so even if you use miles and points for air and hotel, it’s still going to be a pricey trip (though most likely an amazing one at that!).

oneworld
American Airlines classifies Maldives in the Indian/Subcontinent zone, so one-way coach would be 45,000 miles and 67,500 for business. British Airways flies from London Gatwick to the Maldives several times per week and they still fly Tampa and Orlando to Gatwick (though you’d have a long 10 hour layover), essentially taking two days to get there, plus you’ll be stuck paying hefty taxes and fees on the tickets (think $1,000+). Award space searchable on aa.com.
Malaysia Airlines will join oneworld late in 2012 and they fly from Kuala Lumpur, though you can currently use Delta SkyMiles to redeem for awards. Economy award space searchable on Expertflyer
Cathay Pacific flies to Colombo, Sri Lanka, which is only 483 miles from Male and the flights to/from Male are generally inexpensive- even in business class. Award space searchable on britishairways.com or Qantas.com.

Using British Airways Avios: Expect to spend 180,000 Avios and $1,400+ in fees for roundtrip awards in business class (See picture above for one-way pricing). BA Visa Travel Together ticket. The same award booked using AA miles will only cost 135,000 miles and $1,300 roundtrip.

SkyTeam
Delta charges 60,000 miles for economy and 120,000 for business to Maldives since it’s classified as South Asian Subcontinent. Delta allows a stopover and open jaw, so you can also include a stop in India. Delta also partners with Jet and Kingfisher, which opens up a lot of access to India.
Aeroflot flies via Moscow (SVO). Award space searchable on Expertflyer
China Southern flies via Guangzhou and also has a lot of Los Angeles to Guangzhou availability, especially in business class. Award space searchable on Expertflyer
China Eastern flies from Kunming with a stop in Colombo. Award space searchable on Expertflyer

Star Alliance
United and US Airways both charge 80,000/120,000/ 160,000 for coach/business/first class partner awards.
Singapore Airlines flies between Singapore and Male, but availability is limited and is best checked using the ANA Tool.

Austrian also flies seasonal service from Vienna from November through April. Searchable on united.com

Non-Alliance options
Emirates flies from Dubai to Male (via Colombo) and they partner with Korean Airlines (A Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner) and ANA (American Express Membership Rewards partner). Emirates award availability can be searched via ExpertFlyer, but I’d recommend calling to confirm availability before transferring any points. Award space searchable on Expertflyer

Etihad flies via Abu Dhabi and you can use American Airlines miles to book those awards, but you have to call American for availability and there needs to be  a published fare for your route, or else you may be charged two separate awards- US to Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi to Male.

Qatar flies via Doha and is bookable using United miles until that partnership ends September 15, 2012. I priced out a sample award on united.com and it was 120,000 miles and $72 for business class roundtrip. Award space searchable on United.com.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Peggyap

    We went to Maldives from Detroit in May, and I saw Alitalia in Male going from/to Milan. I was thinking it may be possible to go almost all Sky Team via Italy on route to Male. Awesome trip, but seaplane was expensive.

  • LoveLuxury

    Redeem Hilton HHonors to Conrad Maldives Rangali Island is much worth than redeem for Hilton Maldives Iru Fushi as they are both 50,000 HH points per night

  • Rybaylor

    Hey Brian,
    Seeing this post reminded me that I owe you a big thank you. I asked you about a year and half ago how to do a certain routing and watched your site on how to get the points to do it. Well my wife and I just got back from the most awesome trip of our life. We spent 22 days and went from Texas to London on aa ans stayed at the London andaz. We then rode the bullet train to and from Paris via London and stayed at the park Hyatt Vendome ( amazing hotel). We left gatwick and went to the Maldives and stayed at the park Hyatt there. The island is very small and transfers and food are very expensive, but it’s beautiful. We then took Qatar over to dubai. We stayed at the grand Hyatt Dubai., which has an amazing club lounge. We loved this property. Lastly we went to park Hyatt Abu dhabi and loved it as well. We rode ba back to the states. All flights except one were business class and all hotels except 5 night were on points. It would have cost in the neighborhood of 65k I believe. With your guidance we got it done for 7k. Thank you so much from Texas, keep it up.

  • http://thehustleblog.com/ the hustle blog

    Just made this award booking for next yer. 2 4-night AXON7 stays for 145k each!

  • dhammer53

    Brian, I think I’d like to see an article on how to get from the airport to the various hotel chains, along with the cost per person.

  • LoveLuxury

    which month? try to apply upgrade on arrival for Retreat Water Villa, it’s worth !

  • Tom

    Emirates is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Starwood’s

  • http://twitter.com/hungarianhc Kevin Hanson

    There are a couple other options – Etihad also flies from Abu Dhabi to Male, and you can use AAdvantage miles to do this. I did this. See here: http://upgrd.com/blogs/cloudcommuting/great-value-to-the-maldives-cairo-to-abu-dhabi-to-male-on-etihad.html

    Also, consider booking a cheap flight out of Male to a place where there is good award availability. Two options are Sri Lanka (CMB) and Bangalore (BLR). For our upcoming honeymoon, we have a cheap flight to Bangalore followed by first class travel home.

    Just a couple other options!

  • Michael

    Just a little correction: Etihad flies via Abu Dhabi. Also it is good to note that if using AA miles there needs to be a published fare between the 2 city pairs otherwise will most likely be priced as 2 awards.

  • thepointsguy

    Fixed and added the routing caveat w/ AA. Thx!

  • Gabed1

    I do not think that Emirates is partnered with ANA.

  • traveller

    So if Emirates is a KE partner, can we book an Emirates flight on a Delta award? Or does that depend on whether or not that Emirates flight is a code-shared KE flight?

  • Eli

    Currently at the Park Hyatt Maldives! What a coincidental timing for this post Brian! Used AA miles on Royal Jordanian through Aman and connected in Colombo. A cheap business class ticket later we were in Male. We are currently on our honeymoon doing a “one world ticket” for 150k miles in business class. Brian have you covered those tickets? Theyare a mileage STEAL! For the 150k AA miles each we’ve flown from SFO connected in London and ended up in Italy for a week then proceeded to Tel Aviv for a few days and continued onto the Maldives for
    6 days. Our route back is through Hong Kong straight to LAX and we even had enough distance miles left over for a trip to cabo san lucas in a few months since you can have the onle world ticket travel go for nearly a year! Talk about a steal at 150k miles for all of these flights! I think my new hubby realizes I’m not so crazy about all this mileage stuff after all :)

  • http://thehustleblog.com/ the hustle blog

    May. And I definitely did apply for the e-upgrade. Here’s to 10 months of waiting!

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