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The Maldives is a bucket-list destination for many travellers, particularly for honeymooners. There are overwater villas, beautiful sunsets, cocktails and endless islands to explore.
You may be aware that it’s not a cheap destination at all — those overwater villas at that five-star resort can easily set you back more than £1,000 per night. But getting there is a bit more straightforward, and can be done more affordably. Cash fares in premium classes can easily be thousands of pounds, but you can save thousands of pounds by using Avios instead.
An event like a honeymoon is ideal for a points redemption because it’s likely to be organised a long time in advance, giving you the time to save those points, and then have the best shot at award availability, especially in premium cabins.
There are several options to get you to the Maldives on Avios — here’s how.
BA is the only airline that flies nonstop from the UK to Male Airport (MLE), which is the gateway to the Maldives. The British flag carrier operates a seasonal service during the northern winter months, from London Gatwick using a three-class Boeing 777, three days per week.
As the only direct service on this ultra-premium route, Avios availability on this flight is scarce. In order to book Club World, you will need to do so as far in advance as possible, when the seats are first loaded. If you miss this window it’s unlikely more Avios seat will open up. Even looking at the last week of the season (end of March 2020), seats were available only up to World Traveller Plus, though availability in lower classes is much better.
The direct service costs the following Avios amounts, one-way, off-peak:
- World Traveller (economy) — 16,250 Avios
- World Traveller Plus (premium economy) — 32,500 Avios
- Club World (business) — 62,500 Avios
Although not a direct service, Qatar has, in our opinion, the world’s best business class in its Qsuite product, which it operates on several UK frequencies. Qatar has frequent services from both the UK and onwards to Male (MLE) via its hub in Doha (DOH), meaning it’s far more likely you will find Avios availability with Qatar.
Qatar also operates to Male year-round. Now, there is a somewhat frustrating change of planes just over mid-way through the journey in Doha, meaning you can’t have a full night’s sleep. However, if you want to fly a great product all the way to the Maldives, there’s arguably no better carrier to choose.
The Qatar option costs more Avios, as its priced per flight, but availability is significantly better. Here are the one-way prices:
- Economy — 33,750 Avios
- Business class — 100,750 Avios
Qatar doesn’t have a premium economy product. You do have the option of spending more Avios by flying Qatar first from London (LHR) to Doha (DOH) on its Airbus A380s, but its business class is so good you may as well just save the Avios.
3. SriLankan Airlines
A lesser-known member of the Oneworld alliance, SriLankan operates daily flights from London to its hub in Colombo (CMB). Sri Lanka is geographically very close to the Maldives, so from there, it’s just a short hop to Male. Availability on the leg from London can be hard to come by with Avios, but if you can find it, it will cost you the following, one-way:
- Economy — 31,750 Avios
- Business class — 87,750 Avios
SriLankan has a very respectable business class product on its A330 — you can read a full TPG review here.
If there’s no availability on these carriers, there are other options like Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific. But because these flights involve a significant amount of backtracking geographically, and British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, these options are not optimal both in terms of the number of Avios required, and the time spent flying this route.
Remember there are also fees and taxes payable for all these redemptions.
Featured image by Ishan Seefromthesky via Unsplash
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