Updated September 2013 to reflect most recent information
The following list of properties available in the Maldives using points is ordered by program name alphabetically, and then by property name.
As at the time of writing, the most attractive options are the Conrad Maldives and the Park Hyatt Maldives.
The Conrad Maldives is a popular property in South Ari Atoll in the Maldives, a location world-renowned for exceptional diving in particular for large pelagic species such as Manta Rays and Whale Sharks. If you want to see Whale Sharks, this is the place to go. It also happens to be what I consider one of the most incredible points value redemption of any property in any loyalty program.
Underwater dining at the Conrad Maldives
Official Web Site: http://conradhotels3.hilton.com/…
Points Redemptions: The base room type is a Beach Villa and is available typically for 95,000 Hilton points per night. All other room types require the use of Hilton premier room rewards which are typically exceptionally poor value. Cost is reduced to with the Hilton fifth night free for elites (380k for 5 nights or 76k per night) or AXON for Amex Hilton card members at 300k for 4 nights (75k per night)
Breakfast is not included in points redemptions and runs at $35 per person per day plus service and tax, but Hilton Gold and Diamond members do get breakfast for two included. Hilton Gold status can be obtained either through the Amex Surpass credit card or the Citi Hilton Reserve card and would be highly recommended for a stay here, being worth nearly $600 on a seven night stay for two.
Transfer Costs: For late arrivals only, there is an option to take a domestic flight and speedboat for $476 per person plus taxes. During daylight hours they run sea-plane transfers directly to the resort. I could not find exact prices but believe it is priced similarly.
Upgrades: From what I can gather on forums like FlyerTalk the property has become relatively stingy with free upgrades for elites, so don’t count on getting anything other than the room you booked. However they are amenable to paid upgrades, but the prices vary wildly by the time of year and their occupancy level. You can contact the hotel directly to try and obtain a price for a confirmed upgrade, or you are also offered standby upgrades after booking.
Tips: This excellent page posted by ConradMaldives on FlyerTalk gives lots of details and prices for restaurants and excursions and can help you plan out your costs in advance. The dive center is run by sub-aqua and their web-site is here.
Park Hyatt Maldives
The Park Hyatt Maldives is a beautiful property in the far south atoll of Gaafu Alifu, also known as North Huvadhoo Atoll. The southern atolls are significantly less developed than those closer to Male or in the North of the country, and this hotel was originally owned by Alila Hotels and was the first resort to open in this atoll. My wife and I stayed at the property when it was Alila for a wonderful 10 night vacation in 2010. Since then more properties have opened, but this remains one of the least developed parts of the Maldives. That is great news for ensuring an unspoiled environment, with exceptional diving amongst untouched coral reefs, though it does make getting there a little more difficult as the sea-plane network that serve the many hotels in the atolls nearer to Male do not come this far.
Park Hyatt Madlives reception made from an upside Dhoni boat
Official Web Site: http://maldives.hadahaa.park.hyatt.com/…
Points Redemptions: The base room type is a Park Villa and can be booked for 22,000 Hyatt Points per night as Category 6 property. There is no option to use additional points to book a suite to upgrade the room type.
You can also redeem the two free nights you get with the Chase Hyatt credit card for this property. However the single free night you get on renewal will not work at this property.
Transfer Costs: Transfers to the property are via a domestic flight to Kaadedhdhoo (KDM) or Kooddoo (GKK) followed by a boat transfer to the resort. Cost as at September 2013 is $482 per person plus taxes roundtrip.
Upgrades: By most reports the property will upgrade Hyatt Diamond members one class of room, so from the Park Villa to a Park Pool Villa. There are three classes, the highest being Park Water Villa. You can pay to confirm an upgrade. We were quoted $200 per room per night to confirm a Park Pool Villa and $365 per room per night to confirm to a Park Water Villa. Upgrades at peak times such as Christmas and New Years Eve may be significantly higher.
Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma
The Holiday Inn Resort Kandooma is a low/mid range hotel by Maldives standards, but does have the one advantage of being close to Male in the South Male Atoll so is accessible by speedboat rather than plane. It may be a good fit for some, but there are definitely better value options available with Hitlon or Hyatt.
Official Web Site: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/…
Points Redemption: Points redemptions book in to the base Garden View Villas for 35,000 points per night or 25,000 plus $70 cash.
Transfers: Transfer prices seem to be suffering from inflation on a scale not seen outside of Zimbabwe at this place. Latest is
$198 $209 per person
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort is a mid-range hotel in the North Male Atoll which makes it at least very conveniently located for the international airport at MLE. If this were a category 4 or 5 hotel, at 10-12k SPG points per night, it might make some sense, but as a Category 6 this place frankly makes no sense to anyone. I find this kind of hotel typifies why SPG is one of the most over-hyped points currencies.
Official Web Site: http://www.sheratonmaldives.com/
Points Redemption: Beachfront Deluxe Rooms go for 20-25,000 points per night depending on season, or 8,000 plus $150 Cash & Points. I don’t find either particularly good value given the cost of accumulating SPG points and the quality of the resort.
Transfers: Transfers are $113 per person and are a quick 15-20 minute speed boat ride.
W Maldives Retreat & Spa
While the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort is a bad value redemption, the W is just plain daylight robbery. It is virtually unattainable on points as the hotel has limited SPG participation and you essentially have to pay at least twice the price of a regular Category 7 award. Ouch. By all accounts it’s a nice hotel, located in North Ari Atoll, but I see nothing there that is superior to either the Conrad or the Hyatt. So once again remind me why Starwood is such a great program? Unfortunately at the aspirational end of the award spectrum, it really is not.
Official Web Site: http://www.wretreatmaldives.com/
Points Redemption: Base rooms go for a whopping 90,000 points per night. Cash rates are typically $1-2,000 per night, so the real problem here is unless you happen to like the silly W thing then there are probably many better properties you can stay at for that kind of cash price.
Transfers: This is the one good area. Flight transfers are $393 per person ++, but you can also do shared speed-boat transfers for $250 per person ++, or even a private speed-boat transfer for $800 for the boat.
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