All About Booking Flights to the Maldives


We probably hear from more people wanting to travel the 20+ hours to get to the Maldives on points and miles than any other destination. People aspire to visit the Maldives, which is made up of 26 atolls and more than 1,000 coral islands, and it is known for its stunning beaches, clear waters, and rich marine life. Booking a flight there isn’t a slam dunk, particularly if you are looking at a business-class redemption. Let’s try to simplify things a little when it comes to booking flights to the Maldives.

First of all, if you are willing to travel in economy class, it will be so much easier. However, for those of us 🙋🏻‍♀️ who can’t bear to travel that far in economy and HAVE to travel in business class, it can be hard to find the right redemption. So many different ways—let’s go over the easiest and compare.


couple in Maldives le méridien

The time it takes to find a flight to the Maldives is well worth it when you get there! Even if you have to fly economy class.


Qatar Airways with AA Miles

This is probably the cheapest AND easiest way to book a flight to the Maldives. An important thing to know is that Qatar only releases a couple of award seats in business class for each flight, so you need to grab them quickly. On some routes, people have seen four award seats available, but that is rare.

Unfortunately, AA is not a transfer partner of any of the four major transferrable currencies that we usually talk about—Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles, or Citi ThankYou Points. Luckily, there are several credit cards that earn AA (AAdvantage) Miles.

Qatar’s headquarters is in Doha, so most flights connect through there. These U.S. cities have direct flights to Doha:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Dallas (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (JFK)
  • Philadelphia (PHL)
  • Washington, DC Dulles (IAD)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

The nice thing about booking your flight to the Maldives through AA is you might not need to take a positioning flight. Typically they’ll put you on an AA operated flight from your home airport to one of those airports listed above and from there you’ll head to Doha and then to MalĂ© (MLE). Of course, if you are having trouble you’ll want to search straight from one of those airports above.

I’m going to check out a flight from Dallas on January 25th. I couldn’t find one for that day, but by looking at the 30-day calendar, I found a few available dates.

Screenshot of 30-day calendar for business class flights



Here is what I found for January 26th, but note that there is only one seat left. The prices are amazing if you can find them, though! This is how I prefer booking flights to the Maldives.


Screenshot of Flight to Maldives from Dallas


To make sure you are in Qsuite, you need to double-check the seat map online. All A350-100s have Qsuite. Nearly all Boeing 777-200LRs have Qsuite and most Boeing 777-300ERs, Airbus A350-900s have Qsuite. I was once booked on a flight from Doha to Dallas in a plane that I knew had Qsuite, only to have them swap the plane out. Everyone in business was so bummed, and from what I heard, this was not an isolated incident. Buyer or point user, beware!

Note: If you are having a hard time finding business class availability to MalĂ©, try searching for flights just to Doha. You can book business class to Doha and then economy from Doha to MalĂ©, which is what Alex did. You’ll need to call AA to help you with this.

Qatar Airway Qsuite Map

Look for staggered seating like this to confirm the aircraft has Qsuite. Image courtesy of SeatGuru.


Someday I am going to get to fly Qsuite!


Book with Qatar with British Airways Avios

This is kind of a backdoor approach to flying on a Qatar flight (and hopefully getting Qsuite). There are four programs that earn Avios:
  • British Airways
  • Iberia Airlines
  • Aer Lingus
  • Qatar Airways

All but Citi ThankYou Points transfer to British Airways, so that makes it easy to earn those points. You can link your British Airways Avios to Qatar Avios here.

You can look for a flight on the British Airways site, but I prefer to look on Qatar’s site. However, you must have 1,000 miles on that site to explore—easy to transfer from BA. I am going to check out the same date that I was looking at above, January 26th. Once I search, it shows me the cash prices (yikes!) and I can hit the “book using Avios” button to get the second screen.


Screenshot of Qatar airline search


Screenshot Qatar Airlines search


Those flights were unavailable (even though I found one on the AA site), so I changed to a different date and found this business class. However, whenever there is a green flag by the option to choose, it is a flexible ticket and will cost about double the standard fare, so keep looking at other dates. You should be able to find business class seats for 85K Avios if you have the flexibility to change. (Look at the economy class seats on the left, no green flags.)

Screenshot Qatar site


Now this looks better (like I said, if you want to go to the Maldives in business class, plan ahead and be flexible):


Screenshot Qatar flight


Using Singapore Airlines to Fly to the Maldives

Although flying Singapore Airlines to the Maldives isn’t as cheap as the above methods, it’s easier to find award availability in my experience. So that is what I did for a trip I have coming up this year. All four major banks transfer to Singapore Airlines, and I have a LOT of American Express Membership Rewards, so this worked for me. Again, I don’t get caught up in getting the BEST redemption all the time because Free Is Free to me.

I will take a positioning flight to San Francisco (LAX is always a good option, too). For 123K miles, I can book one-way business class seats on Singapore Airlines, and they are a great ride! There are some flights available that have 14-hour layovers in Singapore, so you could do a quick tour of the city!


Screenshot Singapore award flights SFO-MLE


Turkish Airlines

Turkish is one of our favorite airlines (love the tea lights and the onboard Chef). Capital One and Citi transfer to Turkish, so you have a couple of options to make a flight happen to the Maldives with them.


Air Canada Aeroplan

Again, many banks transfer to Air Canada (all but Citi). While business class is pretty expensive, economy is a good price, and the flights are on Emirates or Etihad (both good carriers).


Aeroplane Canada screenshot of award seat prices


Bottom Line

Booking flights to the Maldives on credit card points and miles is definitely more challenging if you want business-class seats. We’ve reviewed some of the main ways to book—how are you flying there?

maldives with boat

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