A Reader Shares Their Success: First Class on Emirates/Etihad, 14 Nights in the Maldives, and a Suite in Dubai

I ran into four different couples who came up and introduced themselves to me last month at the Park Hyatt Maldives. I got another email from a reader who saw me there but didn’t say hello. That’s at a resort with only 50 rooms. We’ve taken over.

The Park Hyatt Maldives is a great aspirational property. As a category 6 (not 7!) hotel in the Gold Passport program, it’s a great value for 25,000 points a night when room rates often exceed $1000. And it’s a great use of the 2 free nights that come with the Hyatt Visa.

One of the folks I met there, Steve S., shared the rest of their trip with me by email:

    Once again, thank you for making luxury travel possible on an economy budget. It was great to speak with you briefly at the Park Hyatt Maldives during breakfast. Through reading your posts along with others my wife and I completed an awesome redemption:

    Emirates First New York JFK – Dubai 2 day stopover in Dubai with Park Hyatt Dubai (used a [Hyatt Diamond Suite Upgrade] here), first class to [Male, Maldives] all using Alaska miles

    4 nights at Park Hyatt Maldives – free night cert redemptions from chase credit card signup (1 credit card for me, 1 credit card for wife)

    10 nights at Conrad Maldives – two back to back AXON redemptions using Hilton HHonors points and free weekend night certs from the Citi Hilton HHonors Reserve Card

    Etihad business Male – Abu Dhabi, Etihad First Apartment Abu Dhabi – New York JFK (this was insanely cool) using American AAdvantage miles

    I haven’t traveled regularly or even really at all for work so most if not all points/miles were earned from credit card signup bonuses.

    I earned Hilton Diamond through credit card spend and got Hyatt Diamond by jumping quickly on the status match. By regularly visiting boarding area I was able to jump quick enough to match my Hilton Diamond to Hyatt Diamond.

    All this made possible from what we’ve learned from View From The Wing. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate people like you who are willing to educate others on the nuances of the travel industry and outline how to maximize earnings and redemptions for luxury travel on an economy budget.

(Photos, formatting, and explanatory links are mine.)

It was great to meet Steve and others, they all made the most of miles and points, stayed on top of award availability, and in Steve’s case leveraged elite status from credit card spend and a status match to make the hotel stays even better. There’s a lot we can all do to leverage these programs, even now.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I am assuming the Hyatt @ Maldives is insanely expensive once you get there. I.e food and stuff to do you have to pay extra. Even going into town costs money. Unless you just sit around in hot sun, looking at the ocean doing nothing. That sounds boring actually.

    What other Hyatt redemptions are better?

  2. @OP – Steve… if your reading this can you tell me how you arranged the transfer from Hyatt to Conrad? How was that handled?

    Am thinking of doing the same in the near future.


  3. @Credit – Read the prior reviews, which mention the costs to some degree, including the pricey transfers. I believe Mommy Points also did a couple of posts that included how to save money on food. As to the seclusion, some people like it. To each their own.

  4. @Credit – there is no going to town. You are going to be stuck on the island. My last review included a separate post just on food costs, including actual menus. it’s not cheap, but not more than eating on-resort at a nice place in the Caribbean. difference of course is you can’t go off property.

    There’s snorkling, diving, fishing, spa. Most recent trip I took a cooking class. But if you crave a busy active vacation then it may not be for you!

  5. Hyatt Maldives is a nice and relaxing place with wonderful and attentive staff. Prices are not that high compare to all other resorts in Maldives

  6. @Andrew – Great question. Trans Maldivian Airways does not operate their float planes between the two resorts directly. Before you ask, there isn’t a viable loyalty program, elite status or co-branded card for Trans Maldivian 🙂 The best way is to just go back the way you came and get on the float plane from MLE to the Conrad. I conversed with Gary about how I wished it were different but looking back on it, the flights over the Maldivian islands and reefs are other worldly unlike any other flight. Window seats are a must. The Maldives isn’t for everyone and there are some great posts out there about the pros and cons but for many, the Maldives is just the right departure from daily life. This was our second trip to Conrad and we will be back in 2018…maybe to try St. Regis.

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