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There isn’t a millennial soul on earth right now that isn’t dripping with jealousy over Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner.
Recently wed in Paris, France, the current “it” couple of Game of Thrones and Jonas Brothers notoriety has just returned from their honeymoon at the opulent Soneva Fushi resort in the Maldives’ Baa Atoll. Aside from exciting clientele, the resort boasts giant water slides, private pools and spas, beaches, snorkeling with manta rays, sunset dolphin cruises, access to a “state-of-the-art telescope” for optimal stargazing and a myriad of other exclusive experiences.
You can also dine at the high-end sushi counter, Out of the Blue, on the water — which of course, Jonas and Turner did.
Villas prices for thee Soneva resort usually go between about $1,597 a night to $31,730 a night for the 9-bedroom Private Reserve. So, if you have the pocket change to fork over $90,000 for a few nights at the Soneva — by all means, do it. But if not, there are ways to enjoy overwater bungalows in the Maldives for free. That’s right, you don’t have to be a Jonas Brother to travel like one — all you have to do is finesse some points and miles.
Getting to the Maldives is surprisingly easier than one might think. Despite being lauded for its geographic isolation, the tiny Malé (MLE) airport has somewhat become a hub for international travelers over the past few years. But, if you do have some issues finding points flights to MLE, flying to Colombo, Sri Lanka is the next best thing — just keep in mind that flights from Sri Lanka to the Maldives tend to cost about $200 round-trip.
As of 2019, 22 airlines fly to the Maldives. For a guide on how to book with points, click here. Keep in mind that for some of the best resorts in the Maldives, once you get “there” you may still need to purchase an onward plane ticket or take a boat to get to your resort (or both).
At TPG, our favorite points-redeemable properties in the Maldives include the St. Regis Maldives (which might be the single most aspirational points hotel in the world and likely the most similar to Soneva luxury-wise), the Westin Maldives, the Category 7 Park Hyatt Maldives and the Waldorf Astoria Maldives.
The St. Regis is a Category 8 in the Marriott Bonvoy program. It’s a relatively tame 85,000 points per night, which is on par with what it used to cost as part of the Starwood Preferred Guest program, though not the screaming deal it was last year before Marriott finished its integration with SPG. When Marriott does get around to instituting its new peak/off-peak chart, don’t be surprised if this gem goes up to 100,000 points per night.
While the Westin shows up as a Category 7 on the Marriott website, it “displays” an initial rate of 85,000 points per night. Fear not (for the moment), as when you click through to book it’ll drop to the appropriate 60,000 points per night. For the moment, that property remains a pretty killer deal. Don’t expect that to last.
The Park Hyatt Maldives is a Category 7 with World of Hyatt. It will set you back 30,000 points per night and will be worth every single one. Hyatt added a Category 8 to its award chart along with the Small Luxury Hotels integration. For the moment, Hyatt has said that existing properties like Park Hyatt Maldives will stay in Category 7. Cross your fingers!
The Waldolf Astoria Maldives shows up on the Hilton Honors website at 120,000 points per night. However, the absence of an official award chart makes this number more of a guide than a rule.
While free Maldivian vacations are actually possible, it’s crucial that you have the right credit cards and have acquired enough points if you want to make it happen. Marriott has a variety of credit cards like the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card, which offers a welcome bonus of 75,000 points after spending $3,000 in purchases within the first three months and the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card — for which the same rules apply. A full list of the credit cards you need to get to the Maldives is featured in our guide, linked above.
Featured image courtesy of Soneva Fushi.
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NEW INCREASED OFFER: 60,000 Points
TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,200
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*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.
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