Updated: Jun 27
***Updated a few things after finally taking our trip to the Maldives! All updates will be starred.***
Here is our planned trip to the Maldives this summer. We took advantage of our saved up points and miles, and even a Marriott promotion to buy points.
We saved over $30,000 from points, miles, and loyalty programs. You'll see why we have multiple travel credit cards and loyalty programs to get top CPP value for our points and miles. Okay, here is the full breakdown of our trip to the Maldives...
Frankfurt stay (1 night)
We’re going to pay the cash price at one of the two airport hotels in Frankfurt.
Both hotels are Marriott properties located inside the FRA airport.
Our return flight to Frankfurt will bn the Qatar Airways Q-Suites. We had to schedule everything around our Qatar flights because Q-Suite availability isn’t always certain. The hotels we chose to stay at had availability for every dates we checked.
***we canceled our plan to stay in a hotel and took the train to the airport the same day of the flight.***
FRA to MLE (Qatar Q-Suites & Cathay Biz)
85k Aadvantage miles + $303 taxes and fees
(P2 Advantage Miles)
The $250 Hilton Aspire Card incidental airline credit covered the majority of taxes and fees charged by American Airlines:
$303 (taxes and fees) - $250 (Hilton Aspire Credit) = $53
Listed Price: $5,591
CPP Value: 6.2
This part of the trip was a tricky one. Our sole purpose in flying with Qatar Airways is to experience their world-class Q-Suites.
We had to accept that the two legs of our journey would not be in the Q-Suites. What surprised me about our booking through Qatar Airways is that I figured out through countless google searches and websites is that Qatar leased Cathay Pacific airplanes for our destination!
The seat map was confusing, so I couldn’t sleep until I understood our exact cabin and seating. After a couple of hours of google searches, I finally came across this website: https://onemileatatime.com/news/marriott-bonvoy-changes/
The funny thing is that I wrote AA via chat and called Qatar Airways, but no one understood my issue and only told me that I’m in business, not economy! (They don’t understand the urge to get top value from points)
We will fly one leg in Q-Suites and one leg in the old Cathay Pacific business class.
Sheraton Maldives Full Moon
FNC 50k Bonvoy points + $12 taxes and fees
Listed Price: $515
CPP Value: 1.0
***The room rate changed to $339 within the window I still was allowed to cancel. Because the CPP value dropped so low, we decided tp pay cash. We then used one of our SNA's (Suite Night Award) to upgrade our room to an over water bungalow that has a listed price of $965!***
We chose the Sheraton Full Moon for convenience, value, and reviews. The reviews were great.
We will have to fly into the Maldives one day before our reservation because it was the only way to get the flights we desired (Q-Suites).
The Full Moon will serve as a pit stop for us. We will arrive early in the morning after a fifteen-hour trip, so we’ll be able to catch up on rest before our real experience begins! Also, we get all the Titanium Elite benefits while at the Full Moon, which is a great benefit.
Ritz Carlton Maldives
340k Bonvoy pts + $1,356 (transfer to hotel) + $625 (buy points)
***Bonvoy Points 50% Promotion***
Buy Bonvoy points promotional bonus gives a .83 CPP ($625 = 75k pts) value
$14,750 ($2,950 per night) = 5 nights
$625 (75k Bonvoy pts) + current Bonvoy points = 5 nights
Listed Price: $15,400
CPP Value: 4.5
Now, the reason for this aspirational trip is the Ritz-Carlton Maldives. We love Marriott and usually don’t look to take aspirational trips with our Marriott Bonvoy points. They’re our preferred hotel company and don’t need aspirational trips to justify our loyalty.
After hearing the news about the Marriott Bonvoy points devaluation, we decided to at least check what our points could do before the change took place.
Here's the redemption price after the devaluation:
The required points went up 76k Bonvoy points.
Through some research, we realized there were a few properties we liked but only one we fell in love with and decided it was worth the visit. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives was that property.
MLE - DXB (Emirates Biz)
65k Emirates Skywards total + $183 taxes and fees
48k Emirates Skywards (upgrade to Business Class)
(P2 Citi Thank You points & P2 Amex Multiple Rewards)
Emirates has the MY FAMILY portable, making it possible for individuals to pool points together. This feature is great because it does not force you to transfer points from other programs under the same name. Tash and I were able to transfer from Amex and Citi to combine enough points for our first booking.
On the other hand, the AUTO UPGRADE feature by Emirates required us to have the required points in each of our accounts.
The $300 Ritz-Rewards Card incidental airline credit covered the taxes and fees charged by Emirates:
***this is an example of how to request your airline incidentals refund through Chase’s messag center online.***
$183 (taxes and fees) - $300 (Ritz Rewards Airline Credit) = $0
Listed Price: $5,815
CPP Value: 5
Our return flight to Frankfurt with Qatar Airways had to be changed to Dubai to Frankfurt for us to fly in the Q-Suites.
Emirates almost always has excellent points redemption value. When checking prices, I noticed a loophole in saving money and points. Our solution was to fly with Emirates from the Maldives to Dubai.
Booking economy, then using auto-upgrade to get business class seats saved us $300 and 9k Amex MR points! Here’s the breakdown:
32.5k Emirates Skywards + $91.40 taxes and fees per person ECONOMY CLASS
61.25k Emirates Skywards + $241.40 taxes and fees per person BUSINESS CLASS
The fact that to upgrade costs fewer total points and they don’t charge the difference in taxes surprised me.
I also checked seat availability on our flight before booking to ensure we’d get upgraded. We didn’t wait for the auto-upgrade either; I checked back daily to see if I could upgrade, and at the 90-day mark, I was able to upgrade through the Emirates website!
Aloft Dubai Airport
We decided to stay a night in Dubai because the Q-Suites weren’t available for our last day in the Maldives.
Our choice came down to price, convenience, and customer reviews. The Aloft Dubai Airport passed all three with flying colors! Also, they have a complimentary airport shuttle.
***We changed our stay to the hotel across the street, Le Meridien Dubai Conference. Our choice came down to the Aloft shuttle not being in service and the Le Meridien looking like a much better property. It was a great decision and post will be coming soon***
DXB - FRA (Qatar Q-Suites)
85k Aadvantage miles + $126 taxes and fees
The $200 Platinum Card incidental airline credit covered the taxes and fees charged:
$126 (taxes and fees) - $200 (Amex Platinum Airline Credit) = $0
Our return flight to Frankfurt will be in the Qatar Airways Q-Suites. We had to schedule everything around our Qatar flights because Q-Suite availability isn’t always certain. The hotels we chose to stay at had availability for every date we checked.
Listed Price: $5,941
CPP Value: 6.84
The final price for all accommodations and flights came in at 8%.
Total spend = $2,503
Listed Price = $38,218
6% of LISTED PRICE
With the combination of points, miles, and travel credit cards, we saved over $30,000! Searching for the best value is the joy of the points and miles game.
Until next time, before you pack your bags, don’t forget to PACK YOUR POINTS!
I am not a financial advisor and highly recommend doing your own homework about the credit card you want to apply for! All of the content on my website, page and channel are for entertainment purposes only.
If you’d like my opinion or help in forming an idea of what works, I’m here to help.
Here are REFERRAL LINKS to the credit cards mentioned in today’s post. By using them to apply, you’ll be supporting the website and channel because when approved, I’ll receive bonus points and miles as well!
*Be sure to check the public offer on the credit cards website to compare which is best for you!*
Schwab Platinum Card by Amex
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/KENNEHImXb?xl=cp105f
Platinum Card by Amex
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/NATASHkCtJ?XLINK=MYCP
Hilton Surpass Card by Amex
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/KENNEH60vq?xl=cp105f
Hilton Aspire Card by Amex
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved! http://refer.amex.us/KENNEHMKdm?xl=cp105f
Bonvoy Bold & Boundless Card by Chase (path to Ritz Rewards Card)
Earn 3 Free Night Awards with the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card or 1 Free Night Award with the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Credit Card. I can be rewarded too if you apply here and are approved for a card. Learn More.
Bonvoy Business Card by American Express
Apply for an American Express Card with this link. We can both get rewarded if you're approved!