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W Maldives makes it easier to book overwater villas using points

Feb. 11, 2020
5 min read
W Maldives makes it easier to book overwater villas using points
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The Maldives is one of the most aspirational destinations in the world for award travelers, with hotels that occupy private islands famous for beautiful turquoise water, an impressive array of marine life, and perhaps most importantly, those iconic overwater villas.

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Most hotels in the Maldives have a number of overwater bungalows or villas extending off the island, allowing guests to climb into the water from the comfort of their own room. With cash rates reaching several thousands of dollars a night during peak season, this is a trip for which you'll definitely want to use points.

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.

St. Regis Maldives. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Unfortunately, most hotels in the Maldives designate their base rooms (for the purpose of award bookings) as beach or garden villas, with upgrades to an overwater villa costing several hundred dollars per night. I just completed a five-night stay at the W Maldives, where I bumped into fellow TPG contributor and frequent Maldives visitor, Tyler Chapin.

Related: Where to stay in the Maldives using points and miles

I booked this stay last year, long before Marriott introduced peak- and off-peak pricing. Since the W Maldives is a Category 8 hotel, this allowed me to pay 85,000 points a night with a fifth night free. Now, with peak- and off-peak pricing, Category 8 hotels can cost up to 100,000 points during peak season and as low as 70,000 during off-peak dates, though you probably don't want to travel all the way to the Maldives during rainy season.

I was originally booked into a two-story beach oasis, but due to my Titanium elite status I received a complimentary upgrade to an overwater villa. Tyler mentioned to me that since I'd booked, the W has changed it's policy to make ocean-facing overwater villas its base room for award travelers. The W has two types of overwater villas: lagoon view and ocean view. With about 25 ocean-view villas on the property, it should be relatively easy to find award space.

This is an absolutely fantastic redemption, with these rooms starting at about $1,000 during the low season and climbing to over $1,300 during peak season. This gives you a redemption value of about 1.2 cents per point, well over the 0.8 cents at which TPG value Marriott points.

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Related: Which Marriott Bonvoy credit card is right for you?

Overwater villas at the W are more than 1,500 square feet, and include a glass porthole that lets you look down at marine life swimming under your villa.

Photo by Nick Kelvin / The Points Guy
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)

The spacious decks feature two lounge chairs, a circular couch for lounging, a plunge pool and a net hanging over the water.

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)
Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)

If for some reason you decide you'd rather stay over land, the W's two-story beach oases are not a bad choice at all. You can "upgrade" from your overwater villa for $350 a night or 70,000 points a night. You can also upgrade to a lagoon-view overwater villa for $450 or 90,000 points a night, but the view isn't that much better and definitely not worth those prices.

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

Bottom line

We've seen a number of hotels in the Maldives change which rooms they make available for base award bookings to reflect demand, though it's quite rare to see hotels that let you book directly into an overwater villa without any cash or points copay. Not only is the W a simply fantastic property (I may even like it better than the St. Regis Maldives) but the ability to book directly into an overwater villa using points should make this the top choice for any Marriott award traveler coming to the Maldives.

Featured image by W Maldives (Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy)

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Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
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TPG featured card

Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 10X points
10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

80,000 bonus points
Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

Annual Fee

$550

Recommended Credit

740-850
Excellent
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more
Best premium travel card for value
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10xEarn 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
5xEarn 5x total points on flights through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
3xEarn 3x points on other travel and dining.
1xEarn 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®

    80,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $550
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

If you are looking to take your premium rewards to the highest level, this card is really a no brainer in our eyes. Chase's Ultimate Rewards make points easy to redeem, with a wide range of 10 airline and three hotel transfer partners and a friendly user interface. Despite the high annual fee, Chase is consistently adding new benefits to keep the card competitive in a fierce premium rewards field.

Pros

  • $300 annual travel credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year
  • Access to Chase Ultimate Rewards hotel and airline travel partners
  • Unlimited 3x points on the broad category of travel and dining
  • 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • Broad definitions for travel and dining bonus categories

Cons

  • Steep $550 annual fee
  • May not make sense for people that don't travel frequently
  • You must spend the $300 travel credit before earning 3x points for travel and dining
  • No automatic hotel elite status
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,200 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • $300 Annual Travel Credit as reimbursement for travel purchases charged to your card each account anniversary year.
  • Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards® immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Get 50% more value when you redeem your points for travel through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,200 toward travel
  • 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
  • Access to 1,300+ airport lounges worldwide after an easy, one-time enrollment in Priority Pass™ Select and up to $100 application fee credit every four years for Global Entry, NEXUS, or TSA PreCheck®
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more