New Marriott Category 5 Maldives hotel: Le Meridien Maldives (use free night certs!)

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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.

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