Insane deal: Le Meridien Maldives overwater villas from 24,000 Bonvoy points
Update: Some offers mentioned below are no longer available. View the current offers here.
This is definitely one you're going to want to lock in right away. Marriott's Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa is expected to open this August, and the property is currently available at an incredibly low rate, with five-night award stays starting at 120,000 points — that's just 24,000 Bonvoy points per night, worth $192, based on TPG's valuations.
As MileValue points out, that base rate even covers a Sunrise Overwater Villa, providing access to the ocean directly from your private deck. Overwater villas are the reason many people book a trip to the Maldives in the first place, so being able to lock one in so inexpensively is quite the win.
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Individual nights run between 30,000 and 40,000 points per night, and if you book five nights as one award, you'll get the lowest-priced award night for free.
30,000-point nights are available on most dates in September, before rates jump up to 35,000 or 40,000 points later in the year.
It's critical to note that a trip to the Maldives can still be expensive, even when you're using points to cover your flights and room. For example, Le Meridien adds a mandatory $420 charge per person for seaplane transportation from Male (MLE) — you may be able to arrange private transportation on your own and avoid that automatic fee, but you'll spend considerably more for a yacht ride or private flight.
You'll need to pay with points entirely to earn a free fifth night, but on nights that require 35,000 points or less, you could extend your stay using the free-night certificates that come along with several Marriott credit cards, including the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card. The Marriott Bonvoy Business card has a welcome offer of 75,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $3,000 in eligible purchases within the first three months of card membership. The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless card has a bonus of 100,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
Marriott's other Maldives properties are far more expensive when redeeming points, though, and I'd expect this particular resort to jump quite a bit as well. For example, a free night at the Westin will run you at least 50,000 points, while a night at the St. Regis starts at 70,000 points — or 40,000 and 56,000, respectively, with the fifth night free. Notably, overwater rooms require more points or a cash co-pay at both resorts.
Don't have enough points in your account? While you could technically use Marriott Points Advance to reserve your room, Bonvoy won't lock in the current rate until you actually redeem your points — if the points requirement goes up, as it almost certainly will, you'll ultimately end up booking at the current rate.
Instead, given the redemption value here, I might consider transferring points from Chase Ultimate Rewards or Amex Membership Rewards at a 1:1 rate — we value those rewards significantly higher than Bonvoy points, but it could make sense to move points over in this case.