Award Availability at the St. Regis Maldives is Better – and Cheaper – Than You Think

Until March the most expensive standard room redemption Marriott offers is 60,000 points which is amazing value at the St. Regis Maldives. (Come March we get a new more expensive category 8 and also peak date pricing pushing the top price up to 100,000 points per night.)

One of the best, most expensive, and best value redemptions at 60,000 points per night is the St. Regis Maldives. Marriott doesn’t require nearly as many rooms there get made available on points at Starwood did, but if you can find availability it’s hard to go wrong.

I’ve tried to make it out there twice and unfortunately had to change plans. I have a booking for later in the year in a standard room, and you can either spend more points for an overwater villa or ‘buy up’ with cash if you prefer that accommodation.

Recently the property has been quoting:

  • Overwater Villa with Pool $369.60/night
  • Sunset Overwater Villa with Pool $492.80/night
  • Overwater St. Regis Suite with Pool $739.20/night


Overwater Villa With Pool, credit: St. Regis

When the new Marriott program first launched they were mistakenly pricing awards for overwater villas at 85,000 points per night. I was told at the time that the ‘correct’ price for an overwater villa is 170,000 points per night. That’s still a good deal compared to what Starwood used to charge (the equivalent of 270,000 Marriott points per night).

However recently overwater villas were pricing at 386,000 points per night.

I reached out to Marriott, suggesting that surely that was not correct. The program reached out to the property, and now overwater villas are pricing at just 100,000 points per night which is an incredible value (33,333 old Starpoints per night, about 1/3rd of what the SPG program used to charge):

Note also that this is a December date showing available at this price, even though Marriott’s redemption calendar shows no December availability for one night.

There are a few points to note here.

  1. The Marriott award calendar isn’t showing all room availability. You shouldn’t rely on it.

  2. Overwater villas are pricing lower than they should be in my opinion, a bargain in any case. At an extra 110,000 (or 326,000!) points per night it’s a better deal to buy up with cash, at 40,000 extra points it’s better to buy up with points. And this is another award option which makes it possible to get inventory at a hotel with few standard rooms on offer.

  3. Remember also that 5th night remains free, making this a better bargain still.

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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Comments

  1. But what are the costs like to GET to the property and to eat there as a captive guest? 100K points a night sounds great, until you have to spend $600 on the seaplane flight to the property, $50pp for breakfast, and $20 for a beer. I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on the Maldives property that offers the best value including all other expenses of the trip too 🙂

  2. Your post had me thinking about the Maldives, Gary, but @tim made me look it up. Some of the pricing from TA:

    “A normal dinner with a bottle of vine easily 500 USD plus, not even dessert included. One evening was buffet evening and the bill for 4 went towards 1000 USD – there the fun stops !!! 21 USD for a Tomato Soup from the kids menu, 12 US$ for a bowl of plain rice, 50 USD for a room service Pizza… None of our dinners were less than $250/$300++ for two. ”

    “A beer is 13.00, pizza is 36.00, steak is 72.00, margarita is 20.00. Figure in service charges and taxes. Lunch can easily be over 100.00 and Dinner over 300.00 depending if you like a cocktail or an appetizer.”

    That’s a hard pass from me. Beautiful as it sounds, spending $500+/day on food and a drink or 2 at meals for a couple, let alone if you want to have more than 1-2 drinks/day there, is insane.

  3. I had 10 nights booked for February 2019 on points. But despite the colossal savings on the room costs I had very reluctantly to conclude the pragmatic reality of the whole trip being a financial black hole:

    The seaplane costs / taxes was quoted at USD1510 for two.

    If you don’t arrive in Mahe Airport during certain daylight hours (cut off seems to be about 3pm) you have the cost of overnighting in a hotel you might otherwise not have chosen – aside from the nearby but pricey Hulhule island Hotel the most cost effective seemed to be a cheap hotel near the airport or the Hotel Jen on Mahe Island itself (Shangri La chain) which has the 5 minute speedboat ride from the airport inclusive in some nightly rates: my understanding is that if you go over to the Sheraton you’ll pay a hefty speedboat transfer cost. Allow USD500 for hotel and food for positioning night.

    My SPG Gold mapped to Marriott Gold Elite so no free breakfast. Add USD150 daily for the buffet breakfast for two: USD1500 for 10 days.

    A light lunch – share a pizza (USD50) and a couple of beers – maybe another USD1500 for 10 days.

    Dinner – well folk report paying 3x upmarket restaurant prices – hard to estimate but let’s say at least USD500 per day or USD5000 for 10 days.

    So we’re up to USD8500 without any excursions or extras or a round of evening drinks.

    Then you have to get to MLE: only certain airlines arrive / depart at convenient times – maybe you’re Ok if you can use Qatar, the Emirates flights or even the Sri Lanka Airlines flights (although the latter doesn’t seem to release more than one business reward seat per flight).

    Otherwise, If you go through SE Asia, you’re facing a late arrival (you’ll miss the seaplane and need to overnight) and have a very late departure with a red eye to get out of the Maldives – thinking Cathay, Singapore, Hong Kong Airlines, etc.

    So an enormous opportunity cost to save money to stay on an island where you are captive to the local pricing.

    Then you have to ask is whether the location is what you want. There are reportedly better house reefs (I can’t confirm myself), if you want to visit the whales sharks / manta rays maybe you’d be better off staying on Baa Atoll or South Ari Atoll – need to research carefully.

    With the new Hilton property opening soon just a speedboat away from the airport, it seemed prudent to reconsider the Maldives for another occasion and use those Marriott points at another more practical location such as the Gritti Palace in Venice where you can still benefit from a USD1500 / night room and control your other costs.

    A personal perspective only.

    BTW there is a sweet spot on the AA award chart using Qatar business class between MLE and Europe, and to a lesser extent MLE and SE Asia and MLE and Australia 😉

  4. It seems like weekend nights are pricing higher than week nights. If you look at the week of 12/10, it prices at 120k/night until you add a weekend night. I checked a 5 night stay and it priced at 540k total with a weekend and 480k total Monday-Friday.

  5. @ Timo

    Business class between MLE and Europe prices at 42.5k AA points one way (via DOH) on Qatar. AA.com now shows Qatar availability so you can research options easily online to your heart’s content! Watch out for the A320 vs the A350, etc., on the MLE/DOH sector if you prefer the better product…;)

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