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The best ways to get to the Maldives on points and miles

July 15, 2022
14 min read
Island in Maldives
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with current routes and mileage costs.


Sun-kissed atolls, coral reefs teeming with marine life, tropical weather and world-class hotels: The Maldives has all the trappings of a great beach destination.

It's a dream-like set of islands with no testing, quarantine, vaccination or visa requirement. However, the Maldives has long been considered a once-in-a-lifetime trip thanks to its remote location and ultra-expensive resorts (think overwater villas that can cost upwards of $2,000 per night).

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Recently, the Indian Ocean archipelago has attracted flights from more cities than ever, and new resorts keep cropping up. If you want to travel to the Maldives yourself, you are in luck. There are plenty of points and miles options for award tickets and stays at its gorgeous hotels.

Today we’re going to look at some of your best options. Note that some flight options discussed below may be temporarily unavailable due to the pandemic.

Ready to plan that bucket-list trip to the Maldives? Visit TPG’s Maldives destination hub for more stories about traveling to the region on points and miles, where to stay and what to do while you’re there.

Tips for finding award space to the Maldives

Two quick notes: If you’re having trouble finding award availability or cheap fares to Malé, you can consider flying to Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB) instead and purchasing a cheap ticket from there (usually around $200 round-trip). Interestingly, Emirates operates a daily fifth-freedom flight from Colombo to Malé.

Second, although options on single carriers are listed below, chances are your awards will involve a mix of carriers. You may need to book a separate ticket to get to an international gateway within the U.S., or you may have to fly on another airline via a hub in Europe or Asia before connecting to a partner that flies to Malé.

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Bottom line: Keep an open mind and consider all the choices. Don’t be afraid to mix and match airlines. You might even consider breaking up your long trip with a stop in Europe or Asia to give you better odds of finding the award space you need.

Related: These are the best times to visit the Maldives

(Photo by Ryan Petterson for The Points Guy)

Award redemption rates

Here are the various mileage and points currencies (and the airlines to which they apply) that you might be interested in using to fly to the Maldives. Note that this isn’t an exhaustive list, just the programs that provide the best value to North American-based travelers.

We also haven’t listed all the partners of each program. Instead, we’re focusing on the ones which would be a good use of miles to fly to the Maldives or include as part of an award containing a mix of carriers. The mileage numbers cited are specifically for round-trip travel to or from the U.S., though you’ll notice some are ranges due to overlapping mileage charts for specific partners.

Also, since most airlines have moved to dynamic award pricing models, these figures reflect starting award rates.

Miles / pointsTransfer partnersAirline partnersMiles needed round-trip
Aeroplan (Air Canada)Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Capital One, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy.Air India, ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai, Turkish, United.

Economy: 140,000.

Business: 200,000.

Alaska Mileage PlanMarriott Bonvoy.British Airways, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines.

Economy: 85,000.

Premium Economy: 120,000.

Business: 140,000.

First: 300,000.

American Airlines AAdvantageMarriott Bonvoy, Bilt Rewards.British Airways, Qatar Airways, SriLankan.

Economy: 80,000.

Premium economy: 125,000.

Business: 140,000.

First: 230,000.

All Nippon Airways (ANA)Amex Membership Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy.Air Canada, Air India,  ANA, Singapore, Turkish Airlines, United.

Economy: 80,000.

Business: 136,000.

First: 240,000.

Avianca LifeMilesAmex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One, Marriott Bonvoy.Air India, ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Turkish, United.

Economy: 85,000.

Business: 156,000.

Emirates SkywardsAmex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One Venture miles, Marriott Bonvoy.Emirates.

Economy: 147,500.

Business: 272,500.

Flying Blue (Air France-KLM)Amex Membership Rewards, Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One, Marriott Bonvoy.Air France, Delta, KLM, Saudia.

Economy: 70,000 and up.

Premium Economy: 200,000 and up.

Business: 230,000 and up.

** (Flying Blue award rates are highly variable.)

JAL Mileage BankMarriott Bonvoy.American Airlines, Emirates.

Economy: 100,000.

Premium Economy: 140,000.

Business: 200,000.

First: 290,000.

Singapore KrisFlyerAmex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards,  Citi ThankYou Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy, Capital One Miles.Air India, ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Turkish, United.

Economy: 102,000.

Business: 246,000.

United MileagePlusBilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Marriott Bonvoy.Air India, ANA, Austrian, Lufthansa, Singapore Airlines, Thai, Turkish.

Economy: 93,600.

Business: 187,000.

The best way to book awards to the Maldives

Now that you know the many good options available, let’s talk about the best ways to book them. Again, this is not a comprehensive list but instead includes the most convenient options and ones on which award seats are (relatively) readily available. Award availability varies heavily so make sure to use ExpertFlyer (owned by TPG’s parent company, Red Ventures) to set alerts to keep you updated when new seats open up.

Here's a list of some of the best airlines to get you to the Maldives on points and miles:

Air France

Air France 787-9 business class. (Photo by Nick Ellis/The Points Guy)

Air France flies from Paris Charles De Gaulle International Airport (CDG) to Malé seasonally from November to March. The Paris-Malé flights depart on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays, while the Malé-Paris returns depart on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. These flights are operated by a 787-9 with the airline’s fully flat, reverse herringbone, business-class seats.

The airline usually flies to nearly a dozen U.S. airports from its base in Paris, including Boston, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., using a mix of A350s, 777s, 787s and A330s

Where to search: I’d suggest searching for awards either on Delta.com or directly on Air France’s site. Here are some of the best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability.

Miles to use: Flying Blue miles are your best bet, since the airline releases more award space to its members than to partners. Unfortunately, Flying Blue’s switch to dynamic award pricing makes it nearly impossible to predict how much a ticket on this route will cost. Here’s a price calendar from New York to Malé in economy and business class.

It's extremely rare, but if you have a lot of flexibility on your travel dates, there are some Air France business class flights for 95,000 miles one-way.

(Screenshot from airfrance.us)

Flying Blue is one of just two programs that partners with all five major transferable points programs. This means you can transfer points at the following rates to your Flying Blue account:

Related: The ultimate guide to earning and redeeming with Air France/KLM Flying Blue

British Airways

British Airways interior
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

With its expansive U.S. network, British Airways is another solid option for award tickets to the Maldives.

BA used to operate its flights to Male out of London's Gatwick Airport (LGW), which made transfers difficult. Now, however, the flights to Male operate out of London's Heathrow Airport (LHR) making for much easier connections.

Unfortunately, on a round-trip, business-class ticket, you'll pay around $3,000 in taxes and fees alone. That's because of the exorbitant U.K. air passenger duties. There's no way to bypass these — unless you opt to transfer in an airport other than London.

Where to search: You can search for award availability on American Airlines’ site or on another alliance partner like British Airways.

Miles to use: Your best option will be AAdvantage.

In business class, American charges 70,000 miles one-way.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

On the other hand, for the exact same seat, you'll up end up spending 137,500 Avios booking with British Airways.

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Qatar Airways

(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Qatar’s Qsuite is one of the best business-class products in the world, and certainly one of the most comfortable ways to fly to the Maldives. The airline has expanded in recent years and now serves over 10 U.S. cities.

Most of these flights are aboard 777s and A350s that feature the newest Qsuite. From Doha, the airline flies A350s to Malé which either have Qsuite or Qatar’s older (but still excellent) reverse herringbone seats.

Where to search: Qatar is a member of Oneworld so you can search for award availability on American Airlines’ site or another alliance partner like British Airways.

Miles to use: One of the best programs for QSuite bookings is AAdvantage, though award space is limited. If you manage to find space, here's what you can expect to spend:

  • Economy: 80,000 miles.
  • Business: 140,000 miles.

I’ve only listed business class because you won’t find first class on the aircraft Qatar uses on these routes.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

Related: The ultimate guide to Qatar Qsuite

Singapore Airlines

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

Singapore Airlines flies a Boeing 737 MAX 8 from its hub in Singapore to Malé (so no first class on this flight). Despite this aircraft being a narrow body jet, it has lie-flat seats in business class. In the U.S., it operates a number of interesting fifth-freedom routes to Europe and Asia as well as nonstop flights to Singapore from the West Coast and New York.

Where to search: I’ll keep this simple and suggest you use Singapore’s KrisFlyer miles to fly the airline, since it generally does not release premium cabin award space to partner programs. In that case, use SingaporeAir.com to search.

Miles to use: Singapore KrisFlyer miles are far and away your best choice here for the reasons listed above and the fact that the program’s a transfer partner of Amex Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards, Capital One and Marriott Bonvoy. The possibilities to boost your account balance are endless — but there’s no guarantee that you’ll find any award space.

In our tests, we could only find waitlisted award space between the U.S. and Male on Singapore Airlines. (Screenshot from singaporeair.com)

Here’s how many miles you’ll need from the West Coast to the Maldives (round-trip).

  • Economy: 102,000.
  • Business: 246,000.

One last note about Singapore Airlines: Since Singapore Airlines doesn't sell mixed cabin awards, you'll need to find something entirely in economy class or business class. Remember that Singapore Airlines doesn't have an economy class product on its East Coast flights. So the only awards from the East Coast to the Maldives using Singapore Airlines are in business class for 273,000 miles round trip.

Related: Ultimate guide to Singapore KrisFlyer

Turkish Airlines

(Photo by Kyle Olsen/The Points Guy)

Between opening a new global hub in Istanbul and beginning the long-overdue process of updating its long-haul fleet with new 787 aircraft, Turkish Airlines is becoming a much more appealing choice for Star Alliance travelers flying to the Maldives.

From Istanbul, the airline flies an Airbus A330 to Malé, while it flies a mix of A330s and Boeing 777s to its nine U.S. destinations including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, Newark, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.. On top of that, award availability tends to be pretty good.

Where to search: I’d suggest using United, Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles — the Star Alliance mileage currencies you’re likeliest to use booking awards on the airline — to find award seats.

(Screenshot from united.com)

Miles to use: As noted above, your best options are probably United MileagePlus, Air Canada Aeroplan or Avianca LifeMiles. United and Aeroplan are transfer partners of Bilt Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Marriott Bonvoy, while you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards, Capital One and Marriott points to both LifeMiles and Aeroplan.

If you want to use Aeroplan miles, it’ll cost you the following amounts:

  • Economy: 140,000.
  • Business: 200,000.

Avianca LifeMiles offers significant savings, charging the following rates:

  • Economy: 85,000.
  • Business: 156,000.
The Waldorf Astoria Maldives. (Photo by Brian Kelly/The Points Guy)

Bottom line

Though it was once one of the world’s hardest-to-reach destinations, the Maldives is more accessible than ever thanks to plentiful flight connections on all three major alliances and many non-alliance airlines. The islands are open and ready to welcome tourists.

The keys are knowing which miles you can use on which airlines and coming up with a strategy for maximizing their value (such as booking one-way awards so you can fly one carrier there and another back).

If you want to plan your own Maldives vacation, look at your points portfolio and the mileage options available to you, then leverage them for the award ticket you want.

Additional reporting by Benji Stawski, Ethan Steinberg and Kyle Olsen

Featured image by GETTY IMAGES
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees