Hi everyone, I am Chenyuzaoya, a guest writer to introduce how to use points comprehensively. I always think it is important to earn points, but it’s more important to know how to use points as well as earning points more efficiently. Today I am going to talk about how to plan a trip to Maldives for a family of three.
Background: I am planning to travel to Maldives with my parents next January. January and February are the busiest tourist seasons, and Maldives is the most expensive among several island tourism resorts (like Bali and Bodhi Island). It is not easy to persuade them to go to Maldives since they’re very frugal. The reason they agree this time is that I don’t need to spend money on air tickets and hotel, but only reward points. Here I am going to talk about how to book air tickets and hotels by using points.
For a trip to Maldives, the most important thing is to choose an island, which should be done together with choosing a hotel because there is usually only one hotel on an island. Besides, you need to pay for a expensive ticket for each trip between islands, so it’s not wise to go back and forth between two islands in a few days.
I spend some time searching for information about hotels in Maldives, and find that it’s relatively practicable to book rooms with points in Sheraton (SPG) on Full Moon Island, Conrad (Hilton) on Rangali Island, and Park Hyatt (Hyatt) on North Hadahaa Island. As you can see from the following screenshots, if we only search for rooms with lowest rates, Sheraton is slightly cheaper than the others, and needs 20k SPG points for one night; Conrad Hilton need 95k points for one night; Hyatt Hyatt need 25k points for one night.
3. Park Hyatt
Conrad and Hyatt have better hotels, so I am hesitating them. These two have quite close prices as well as transition fee (about $500 per person). Conrad is better constructed and has its famous underwater restaurant; Hyatt is on the largest, deepest island in Maldives which was developed later and protected better with rich coral and ocean creatures that are far better than those of other islands. I read detailed reviews of two hotels on FlyerTalk (Conrad and Hyatt) from people who’ve been there. They’re very useful, and I recommend that people read from the bottom (newest) to the top. I finally choose Hyatt, mainly because of its unparalleled natural scenery.
I don’t have Hyatt points yet, so I decide to apply for two Chase Hyatt Credit Cards (one for my husband, one for myself). Each card gives me 2 Free Nights (FN) + 5000 points for adding an authorized user + $50 statement credit after spending $1,000 in first 3 months. So it is 4 FN in total for two cards, which is quite appropriate for us. Please note that Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred into Hyatt points directly. Besides, Hyatt has points redemption package for Maldives sometimes.
The Park Hyatt in Maldives has four room types: Villa, the Pool Villa, Water Villa, and Water Sunset Villa. The last two are built on water with house reef. When you jump into the pool in the room, you can see kinds of fishes. If you want to upgrade the room, you can consider Water Villa with high cost performance. The difference between Pool Villa and Villa is just a swimming Pool, and the advantage of Water Sunset Villa is just that it has a broader vision. It costs money to upgrade to either a Water Villa or a Sunset Water Villa, and you can’t use points. You can search for prices information on Hyatt’s official website. Moreover, as I’ve mentioned before, there is a transition fee to get on an island, which is currently $510 for the island where Hyatt is located.
Note that spending at Hyatt is relatively expensive. Activities (including snorkeling and scuba diving) at Hyatt can be ordered in advance with 10% off. In addition, breakfasts are not free for Hyatt Platinum members (provided by Chase Hyatt card) if you book your rooms with points (but Platinum members do get free breakfasts for paid rooms). You need Hyatt Diamond membership in order to get free breakfasts for rooms redeemed with points. You can save a lot by planning your meals properly.
Then let’s talk about air tickets. I decide to leave from Shanghai PVG near my home. I find that redeeming for SQ flight (PVG – SIN – MLE) using ANA miles needs least miles: it only takes 22k miles for an round trip in economics class, and 48k in business. ANA miles can be 1:1 transferred from Membership Rewards (MR) Points, but you need to call ANA to redeem SQ flights. So please call ANA first to make sure tickets are still available before transferring you points. Besides, you can redeems ANA miles for your relatives. You can add relatives without proof, up to 10 persons, while 5k miles are needed to change a relative. In addition to ANA, you can also use Air Canada miles to redeem for SQ tickets, but you need 50k miles for a round trip in economics class.
As the planner, you’re the one who need enough patience and prepare fully for overcoming any difficulties you may confront in the journey. The most important thing you should keep in mind is safety. For example, when snorkeling or diving in Maldives, you need to pay attention to potential wave and vortex in the ocean. Water near Hyatt is particularly deep, so please be careful.
Finally, I should post a few photos of Maldives and the beautiful Park Hyatt (the cover photo on top of this page is not Park Hyatt), but I’m afraid there will be some problems on copyrights. You can google Maldives Hyatt to see the fabulous pictures.