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Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here – Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard
From white sand beaches and turquoise waters to super-luxe overwater villas and some of the best scuba diving in the world, the Maldives are known for breathtaking scenery and unique geography. And like other exclusive destinations, many Maldivian resorts come with hefty price tags.
While redeeming points and miles can significantly reduce the cost of your hotel stay and international flight, not all travel rewards will work to cover additional and often forgotten expenses like transportation from the airport to your private island resort. With the right planning, however, you can still avoid paying out of pocket by signing up for and using the right credit cards.
One of the Maldives’ biggest draws — its insane level of exclusivity and solitude — comes with a notable catch: inaccessibility. Although several major international carriers that partner with US airlines and credit card programs — like Qatar Airways, Cathay Pacific and Singapore Airlines, among others — operate year-round flights to Malé (MLE), your journey from the airport to paradise often includes at least one other flight or boat ride.
Many hotels, each located in slightly different areas among the nation’s 26 atolls, require guests to pay supplemental fees for the air and sea transfers you’ll need to take to get to the resort. Use our handy chart below to compare the costs of plane or boat transfers among the top points hotels in the Maldives. We’ve also listed each program’s point valuation to provide a more complete picture if you plan to book an award stay. Note that price and points redemption rates at these hotels fluctuate according to availability and time of year.
|Chain||Hotel Name||Loyalty Program||Type of Transportation||Transfer (round-trip, ages 12+)|
|Hilton||Conrad Maldives Rangali||HHonors||Seaplane||$500|
|Hyatt||Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa||Hyatt Gold Passport||Domestic flight + speedboat||$520|
|Starwood||Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa||SPG||Speedboat||$136|
|Starwood||St. Regis Maldives Vommuli||SPG||Seaplane||$645|
|Starwood||W Maldives||SPG||Seaplane or Speedboat||$505 or $350|
Although you can’t use points or miles to redeem for the flight and boat transfers connected to your hotel stay directly, you can still minimize out-of-pocket expenses by choosing the right card.
Case in point: the Park Hyatt Maldives charges an additional $520 (per person) for the flight and speed boat ride needed to reach the resort from MLE. While you won’t be able to use the Hyatt points you redeem for your stay to cover these transportation charges, you could use your stash of miles from the Barclaycard Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard to wipe the expense from your statement. This card’s currently offering a sign-up bonus of 40,000 miles after you spend $3,000 in the first 90 days; since miles are worth 1 cent apiece toward travel charges, the sign-up bonus could almost cover the $520 fee, assuming the transfers code as travel with the service operator.
Of course you may opt to pay the fees and redeem your Arrival miles elsewhere, but if you’re planning your dream vacation to the Maldives, having this option can save you serious cash, especially if you’re traveling with your family and need to pay for several plane/boat transfers.
Have you ever been to the Maldives? Tell us about your trip below.
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