Travis Cormier at Mile Value has flagged an exciting find: the Le Meridien Maldives Resort & Spa is taking reservations as of September 2021 and it is a Marriott Bonvoy Category 5 property with no resort fee! That means that you can potentially use 35K free night certificates like those that come with the various $95 Marriott credit cards or the 40K certificate you can choose with 75-night Titanium status. It even looks like you can choose between a large beach bungalow and a sunrise overwater villa for 35K points per night standard (or 30K off-peak / 40K peak). That could be a great way to use up free night certificates for someone who is comfortable traveling to the Maldives this year.
Note that like most resorts in the Maldives, you’ll need to take an additional flight from Male (the capital where international flights arrive) to get to Le Meridien Maldives. The fee for the seaplane transfer is a Maldives-reasonable $420 per person round trip. Let’s be clear: that’s not a reasonable price for a 30-minute flight, it’s a reasonable price for a Maldives sea plane transfer (it is even more expensive to get to many Maldives resorts from Male).
Since the hotel has no resort fee and Platinum members and above should get free breakfast, this could really be a steal for someone looking to go to the Maldives without blowing a ton of points. While I imagine the St. Regis and Ritz-Carlton properties are significantly nicer, those properties typically cost 400K points for 5 nights if you find a standard room available. Contrast that with 5 nights at Le Meridien, which could be as few as 120K points off-peak.
When a single hotel credit card bonus can get you 5 nights in the Maldives in an overwater villa, that’s pretty amazing.
Obviously you’ll have to consider whether or not traveling all the way to the Maldives makes sense for you. In a world of uncertain travel, it’s hard to predict where things will stand five or six months from now in terms of both vaccines and travel, but if you’re willing to take a swing at it, this looks like it could be a solid deal.
Note the cancellation deadline if you choose to make a reservation. The dates I checked had a 7-day cancellation deadline, but I’ve seen deadlines are far out as 90 days in some high-demand areas, so you should always check the details in advance.
Overall, this is certainly an interesting opportunity – particularly given how many of us are sitting on a lot of free night certificates.
Nothing there for 2022. Have they not opened booking up for that yet.
No. See this post for more on availability (though note that some has likely been booked up as this place has gotten a lot of attention). https://frequentmiler.com/le-meridien-maldives-worth-buying-a-travel-package/
For snorkelers / divers, be warned that it takes time for the reef around a new resort to recover from the sediment and debris created by construction.
There is a video of the Reef on flyertalk.
for the lazy https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=61&v=Tz13CAjtGs0&feature=emb_logo
The Ritz and St Regis charge about $900’ish and $700ish for the seaplane last time I checked. I always laugh on various forums when folks are concerned about getting free breakfast or resort fees but many clearly haven’t researched these properties enough to know about the seaplane transfer costs. I know food is expensive there but those transfers are very expensive for what it is.
1,140.00 USD Taxes and fees160,000 Points
This for 5 nights.
Depends on your dates. That’s peak pricing (40K per night). As noted in the post, Category 5 has 3 levels:
Off-peak = 30K
Standard = 35K
Peak = 40K
So 5 nights off-peak is 120K. 5 nights standard is 140K. 5 nights peak is 160K. Or some dates you may mix and match – just depends on when you’re staying.
The “taxes and fees” is $420 per person for the sea plane plus tax (though in my case that only came to $900 when I went through to checkout for 2 guests — perhaps you have a child or something?).
Looks like there is a $450 per person event charge for bookings around Christmas and NYE. Could explain the above pricing.
exactly, so taxes/fees came to 1800 for 2 ppl Dec 31-Jan 5
It is NOT taxes / fees. You guys are not properly reading it. It clearly says “Transfer / Transportation Charge” when you try to book.
distinction without a difference. The whole point here is to drum up enthusiasm for Amex/Marriott by doing the gee whiz, look how “cheap” these over the water bungalos are… All well and good to blare, “no resort fees”….. but then still have to factor in $1k in (whatever) fees required to get there. Same for the “free” breakfast (if you have platinum), but can only guess how steep the food fare will be at such company resort areas….. (and before I get tarred with, but it’s still a “relative bargain,” then I’d do the ole’ TIF Drew Macomber….. blinking…. ) Show me how to pay for all these extra fees & expenses via cc this and that, then I’ll be more interested.
The Maldives certainly isn’t for everyone and that is obviously understandable. For others, it can be intriguing. I think the average American spends around $1K per person on vacation going someplace domestically within the US (so a bit over $2K for a couple). For some folks, using miles to cover flights and points / certificates to cover the hotel makes it possible to consider a vacation to some wildly exotic locale like the Maldives for not much more than they’d have spent in cash to go someplace less exotic. That’s not to say one option is always right or the other clearly wrong, just that I can see how someone who would spend $2K-$3K on vacation ordinarily might say, “well, we’ll spend a couple hundred bucks on taxes for the award flights, $1K on transfers, and another $1500 on food” and be thrilled to get a more outlandish vacation than normal. And heck, have you seen the cost of rental cars in the US lately? It might be cheaper to pay for the airport transfer in the Maldives than to pay for a rental car at your domestic destination the way things have been.
In terms of food, it is obviously expensive on any remote island. That said, I stayed at the Sheraton when I went to the Maldives and while a hamburger was indeed like $30, there were some Maldivian entrees on the room service menu for something like $25. My wife and I actually shared one of those one night and it was fine. If you want to eat every meal in the restaurant and have an appetizer and dessert and bottle of wine, yeah, it’ll get really pricey. But if that isn’t essential to you (it wasn’t to us), then it doesn’t have to be quite as outrageously expensive as many assume. All that said, I have no idea what the menus will be like at Le Meridien — maybe you won’t be able to avoid spending way more than you want.
But even if you do get stuck paying a lot for food or airport transfers, there are ways around that. When you see a good Marriott Amex Offer, but a gift card at a hotel to lock in ~20% off. In my case, I have this weird Capital One redemption on an old CC that enables me to MS Marriott gift cards pretty cheaply. Since you pay the hotel for the transfers, there are ways like that to kind of hack the cost.
Did you read the above? It answers your comment. The “$1k or whatever to get there” you are talking about is already built into the price. Note the “Transfer / Transportation charge” when you book. Did you try to book yet? Go ahead and try and you will see that it answers your comment.
Nick – do you know what the “Transfer / Transportation charge of $1,260” covers? Is that the seaplane? I am about to book, or call the hotel to ask. If it covers the sea plane, then I am booking!
I see that, but on there it clearly states “Transfer / Transportation Charge for $1,260″ and then reflects “1,350.00 USD + 120,000 Points.” So then the question is, do we still get charged for the sea lift? Or is that included in the “transportation charge?” What does this transportation charge actually include? If it is the sealift, then I say it is worth booking.
Next frequent miler on the air title: Greg spending 2 weeks in the Maldives with his free night certs, how crazy do you think this elderly guy is?
Booked! At least 2.5 cents per dollar value, I have to earn 114k more points still, points advance is cool.
2,5 cents per dollar? I’d be really happy to sell you millions of cents at that rate! 😉
Haha per point.
any concern that they might change the category or the peak/off peak by the time you earn enough points? The text says the point rate isn’t locked in until you apply the points.
Well if your dates are already peak, there’s some risk they change categories only. Less risk of that happening in months then peak pricing. However, it is bonvoy after all…we just never know. The term bonvoyed comes to mind
Deal Killer! LOL!
You’re a naughty boy Nick!