Book this, not that: Which far-flung international islands to book with points, which to skip
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A trip to a remote island chain like the Maldives or Bora Bora is a staple on many travel bucket lists. And luckily, nowadays, there are plenty of ways to enjoy these once-in-a-lifetime types of destinations on points. However, the experiences and value you’ll get can vary greatly from property to property. Some have limited lodging options and some are simply harder (and more costly) to get to.
Like we did with a look at which Caribbean getaways to book with points and which to avoid, here are the top far-flung international island adventures you can book with points, as well as some that you might want to fly on by.
Book: Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa
The Maldives is home to over a dozen points hotels — and the list of options keeps growing. However, some offer far better redemption value than others, such as the Le Méridien Maldives. This is a brand-new resort that just opened on Sept. 1, 2021.
It’s a Marriott Category 5 hotel so award nights range from just 30,000 to 40,000 points per night (or just 24,000 to 32,000 points when factoring in the fifth night free). This means that you can redeem your Marriott Bonvoy 35,000-point free night certificate that comes with Marriott credit cards like Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card here on standard and off-peak nights.
More excitingly, the hotel lets you book “Sunrise view” overwater villas at the standard award rate.
By comparison, most Marriott Bonvoy hotels in the Maldives are at Category 7 or 8 levels, meaning they cost two to three times as much per night and charge extra for overwater villas. Plus, the Le Meridien charges $420 per person for seaplane transfers, which is fairly low compared to other resorts in the Maldives.
Skip: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
As a Category 6 hotel, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa is also one of Marriott’s lower-priced properties in the Maldives. However, in this case, you get what you pay for. When the TPG team visited the property a few years ago, there were a lot of flaws, such as trash in the water, disappointing overwater bungalows and a constant stream of air traffic due to the close proximity to the airport — basically the opposite of what you’d probably want from a trip to the Maldives.
If you want to choose a resort on the lower end of the points scale in the Maldives, you’ll likely be better off booking the new Le Méridien instead.
Book: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
If you’re looking to redeem Hilton Honors points for a trip to the Maldives, look no further than the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Although Hilton also fields the stunning new Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, it’s a lot more pricey — both the room rates and the on-site dining — and it’s much harder to find standard award availability.
Standard awards at the Conrad are plentiful and cost 95,000 per night, compared to 125,000 to 150,000 points at the Waldorf. You can even book the sunrise water villa at the standard rate. The hotel is home to an underwater restaurant, which could be the perfect use of the $250 annual resort credit provided by the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card.
The information for the Hilton Aspire card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Skip: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
The Park Hyatt Maldives is a solid hotel and you can certainly get great value from your World of Hyatt points here. However, if what you want from the Maldives is an exceptional once-in-a-lifetime experience, unfortunately, the Park Hyatt may not be the absolute best choice.
The resort is aging all around and the reviews of the food are that it is pricey and just average, which is a problem when you’re literally on an island in the middle of the ocean. Plus, it’s harder to get to than some other Maldivian resorts as it requires both a commercial flight and a boat ride to get there
Book: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
The InterContinental Bora Bora offers Emerald overwater villas for 100,000 points per night. TPG values IHG Rewards Club points at .5 cents apiece so considering these villas go for over $1,000 per night, this redemption is a steal. These rooms offer over 1,000 square feet of space and direct lagoon access.
To get to the resort from the airport, you need to take a boat transfer, which costs $72 per person. This is fairly reasonable compared to other high-end resorts in the area, which can charge well over $300+ per person for transfer fees.
A trip to a destination like the Maldives and Bora Bora is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people.
You’ll likely have a positive experience at any of these hotels, but you want to make sure you’re getting the best experience possible and some remote island hotels definitely fare better than others. While air traffic noise and underwhelming rooms can be overlooked on short getaways, they’re definitely not what you want when paying top dollar (or points) for this type of vacation.
Featured photo of the InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa by JT Genter/The Points Guy.
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