Booking a Maldives Vacation on Points


Let’s talk about how to book a Maldives vacation on points since I just finished doing it for my husband and me. There are a variety of ways that you can visit the Maldives on points, which we’ve discussed before. In this post, I am going to go step-by-step through exactly how I booked this trip to the Maldives on points.

Note: Redemptions in points may have changed since the publishing of this post as well as credit card offers.


Le Meridien Maldives

Earlier this fall Marriott opened a new hotel in the Maldives, Le Meridien Maldives. Since we stayed here, Marriott has increased their redemption rates but it is still possible to book with a 50K certificate or points.  Even better than that, you can book right into an overwater villa at that price! I’ve used free night certificates at airport hotels in the past so being able to use them for an overwater villa in the Maldives is unreal!

Like many people in the points and miles world, I was very interested in this hotel and the ability to book an overwater villa for so cheap, but I wanted to wait to see some reviews before I decided if we going to make the long trek there. After hearing great things about this resort I decided we had to make it happen before prices went up (I just can’t imagine this place staying this cheap for too long).


Booking the Hotel

Mitch and I had a nice little stash of Marriott points- he recently earned 100,000 points by opening up the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless.  I recently earned some more points from a retention offer on my American Express Marriott Bonvoy BusinessTM Card.

I got to work searching for availability and went in with flexible dates. We had about a 2-week window I was working with. When searching for availability with Marriott I always do a flexible dates search and select a one-night stay so  I can see the price for each night in the month. If I find prices I like I then click on each night individually to see what rooms are available and what the price is. In this situation, I was looking for five nights in the Sunrise Overwater Villa. I wasn’t able to find five consecutive nights in the overwater villa- so what I ended up doing was booking each night individually.


Le Meridien Maldives points cost

Here is the monthly calendar for October 2022. You would then select a date to see which rooms are available at that 35,000 points a night price.


Update: Marriott has since gotten rid of their award chart and nights here range from about 50,000-70,000 points a night now. 


There are pros and cons to booking each night individually. The con- I won’t be getting the 5th night free (with Marriott if you book four award nights the 5th is free). The pros- I get the rooms that I want and was able to use a free night certificate.


le méridien Maldives sunrise villa

We booked four nights in the Sunrise Villa


Here is what my stay looks like:

  • Night one- Lagoon Villa 40,000 points + $100
  • Night two-  Sunrise Overwater Villa 35,000 points (used a free night certificate)
  • Night three- Sunrise Overwater Villa 40,000 points
  • Night four- Sunrise Overwater Villa 40,000 points
  • Night five- Sunrise Overwater Villa 40,000 points


The seaplane transfer fee from Male to the resort is not included in the breakdown cost. Those are unavoidable and pricey! For this hotel we will each have to pay $420 for that- which actually isn’t too bad as some resorts charge about double that. There will also be some resort fees and taxes- once we return from the trip I will do a write-up and share all of that. Our trip is just five nights, but we are leaving four little kids at home, and it gives me a little anxiety to leave them for too long. Plus, with the flights, we’ll be gone for 8 nights!


Flight to the Maldives

Update: Emirates has since raised their prices so check out their website for the current costs.

We are flying Emirates business class to the Maldives. These aren’t cheap flights- you can find cheaper ways to get to the Maldives. But this is a bucket list trip, so I want to go big and fly in real luxury. These were 117,500 points per person plus about $230 in taxes. As I said, not cheap! What’s great about this flight though is it is a lot shorter than what I was finding on United. Booking with United was 40 hours, and this is just over 18 hours! United was a lot cheaper at 80K miles so if you rather save more points and have a longer flight/more stops then that is an option.

For this flight, we will be flying out of JFK. Emirates doesn’t fly out of Salt Lake City, so we’ll be leaving the night before, staying over in NYC, and then flying out the next morning. We wanted to fly out of JFK, so we could be on the Emirates A380 because I hear that plane has its best business class cabin.

Originally we were going to do a stopover in Dubai and spend a day exploring the city but with all the COVID testing/precautions and already being gone for a while, we decided to cut that out. But, if you want to do that, you can add a stopover in Dubai when you book with Emirates at no extra cost. Just do a multi-city booking.


Emirates plane


The nice thing about flying Emirates is that it is pretty easy to get a bunch of points with them because all of the major transferable points programs are partnered with Emirates. You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, American Express Membership Rewards, and Capital One Venture Miles to Emirates.

I had 100,000 points from my Brex card. This was a business card that at the time I opened it (2020) had a really great offer, it doesn’t now. I transferred those 100,000 points to Emirates. Then I transferred 18,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards to my account to get the total. Mitch didn’t have an Emirates Skyward account yet, so I opened his and used the promo code FLYDUBAI to get 2,000 miles for free. I then transferred 64,000 miles from his Capital One Venture card, and 52,000 points from his Chase Ultimate Rewards account to book his flight.

After transferring the points (which was instant) to Emirates, I booked on the Emirates website. This was really easy to do.


Flight Home

The flights to the Maldives were really easy to book and really easy to find availability on. The flights home were more challenging. This is where the process of booking a Maldives vacation on points got more complicated. Flying home from the Maldives we will be Qatar Airways and will be flying their QSuites business class. We will fly from Male to Doha to Dallas and then home to Salt Lake City. QSuites are argued to be one of the best business-class seats in the world! I cannot wait to try it out!



To book this flight, we used American Airlines miles and booked on the AA website. A one-way flight in business class to/from the Maldives costs 70,000 miles. To get these points, I opened a Barclays AAdvantage business card. When I opened the card, the bonus was 65,000 miles plus an additional 10,000 miles if you add an authorized user and they make a purchase. It was great to get all the points I needed by signing up for this card.

Mitch signed up for the Barclay AAdvantage personal card and got 60,000 points by just making one purchase and paying the $99 annual fee. I then could have had him sign up for a Citi American Airlines card but I was worried about flight availability getting snagged so instead, I bought the 10,000 miles. This was about $300, and I had a minimum spend I was working on, so it worked out fine.


Booking the Flight

To find flights, you’ll search on American Airlines. If you are flying economy, it will probably be a lot easier to find availability than business class. I would start by searching your desired airport all the way to the Maldives.

After you put in your travel date and airports make sure you select “redeem miles”.  If you are lucky, some good flights will come up for your desired date. If not, then select calendar and switch from where it says “Show all classes” to “Business/First.” In the image below you can see what is available in the month of October going out of Seattle.


American Airlines flights to Maldives search

The calendar view lets you see all available dates for the month


If you search and you can’t find availability from your desired airport to MLE (Malé) in business class, then you can look into booking from your desired airport to Doha (DOH). All flights to/from the Maldives on Qatar Airways will connect in DOH. Then you will look at booking the DOH-MLE segment in economy, this flight is about 4.5 hours, so not too long.

This is what I did for our flights home. There were no business class flights from MLE all the way to SLC but there were business class flights from DOH-SLC. I then searched MLE-DOH to try to find a flight that would go well with my DOH-SLC flight and not has a super long layover in Doha.

Once I found the flights I liked, I booked the DOH-SLC segment for 70K miles, and I put the MLE-DOH segment on hold. You can do this by continuing through the booking process; when you get to the end you will have the option to put the flight on hold.

I had to get these two flights then (MLE-DOH and DOH-SLC) merged as one reservation, so I didn’t have to pay any more miles for the MLE-DOH segment. If you contact the USA American Airlines line, they might say that this can’t be done. At least when I tried and what I heard from others was that they can’t do it. Luckily, the angels over at the American Airlines line in Australia can and will do it! To reach them call +61 2-9101-1948, then press 4. If you don’t have an international calling, I recommend using Skype- it is super cheap and easy to use! After a quick call to the Australian line, I had my flights booked!

Update: My mom recently did this same thing, and the AA reps in the US were able to help her. If you try and they can’t help, then call Australia.

Now onto choosing the seats. If you are flying with a spouse/partner in business class, then I recommend the odd-numbered middle rows. These are the seats that are right next to each other and will create a double bed when in the fully flat position. When choosing, seats in Qatar, you can’t just hop onto their site and do it. I contacted Qatar on Twitter, and they told me the Qsuite business class seats in the middle row were blocked off, but I asked them to check with a supervisor because I was fairly certain that was not the case. They checked, and we got the seats we wanted- row 3, seats E and F. We weren’t able to pick our seats on the MLE-DOH segment yet. Those can be chosen for a fee later on or for free at check-in.


Bottom Line

Booking a trip to the Maldives on points will probably take some flexibility. It might mean you have to fly to a bigger city and stay the night before you go. It also will still have bigger costs, like the seaplane transfer fee, food costs, etc. But, I think it’ll all be worth it! It’s a bucket list trip for sure! Will you be booking a Maldives trip on points?




Maldives beach

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  1. zack says:

    Hello, Im marrying my high school sweetheart on sept 24 of this year. We just had a baby 7 months ago (she won’t be coming) and Maldives is our dream vacation. Id like to surprise her and do it with points. I have about 225k amex points 300k chase ultimate rewards and 115k mileage plus points. I can also get more cards and meet min spend since im paying for the wedding.

    Im just looking for some guidance on how to go about this. Im also willing to pay you for your services. Thank you!

  2. MCW says:

    This is a great post and very helpful. Just as an update, the nights now range from 104,000 – 140,000. Ugh! Still very helpful info.

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