How to fly from the UK to the Maldives with miles and points

Feb 22, 2020

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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 or other points currencies 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.

Related: The ultimate Marriott Bonvoy redemption: A review of The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort

There are several options to get you to the Maldives using popular points and miles currencies in the U.K. Here are your options

1. Avios

British Airways is the only airline that flies nonstop from the U.K. 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 (LGW) using a three-class Boeing 777, three days per week.

As the only nonstop 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

If you can’t find any Avios availability on the direct British Airways flight, there are some other options flying its Oneworld partners:

  • Qatar Airways has, in our opinion, the world’s best business class in its Qsuite product, which it operates on several U.K. frequencies. Qatar has frequent services from both the U.K. 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. The Qatar option costs more Avios, as it’s priced per flight, for 33,750 Avios in economy and 100,750 Avios in business class, one-way per person. (Qatar doesn’t have premium economy.)
  • SriLankan Airlines is a lesser-known member of the Oneworld alliance, operating 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 31,750 Avios in economy and 87,750 Avios in business class one-way. 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 British Airways, Qatar Airways or SriLankan, 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.
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)
(Photo by Ben Smithson/The Points Guy)

2. Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles

While Virgin Atlantic doesn’t fly to the Maldives, you can now redeem your Flying Club miles on flights operated by Air France, which flies seasonally from various destinations in the U.K. to Male via its hub in Paris (CDG). Flying Club charge the following miles, one-way:

  • Economy: 15,000 off-peak / 25,000 peak
  • Premium economy: 30,000 off-peak / 40,000 peak
  • Business: 61,000 off-peak / 71,000 peak

Related: French Connection: A review of Air France economy on the 777 from Paris to New York

(Photo courtesy of Air France)
(Photo courtesy of Air France)

3. Star Alliance miles

If you have miles in a Star Alliance airline programme, then there’s plenty of routing options from the U.K., including:

  • Air India, via Delhi (DEL);
  • Austrian Airlines, seasonally via Vienna (VIE);
  • Lufthansa, seasonally via Frankfurt (FRA);
  • Singapore Airlines, via Singapore (SIN); or
  • Turkish Airlines, via Istanbul (IST).

As some of these airlines involve back-tracking, I would be looking at Austrian-, Lufthansa- or Turkish-operated flights for the most direct routings.

Here are the miles required for these flights using some of the most popular Star Alliance mileage programme currencies (remember that you can use any of these miles on virtually any of the airlines flying between the countries, one-way per person):

  • Lufthansa Miles&More: 30,000 miles (economy), 40,000 (premium economy), 56,000 (business), 91,000 (first, where available)
  • Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: 27,500 (economy), 55,000 (business) flying Star Alliance airlines, not allowed flying Singapore Airlines only (because of the back-tracking)
  • United MileagePlus: 30,000 (economy), 55,000 (business)

Related: Credit card review: Lufthansa Miles & More Global Traveller Diners Club and Mastercard

(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

4. SkyTeam miles

There are also a few SkyTeam airlines flying from the U.K. to Male in the Maldives, including:

  • Aeroflot, via Moscow (SVO);
  • Air France, via Paris (CDG), as discussed above;
  • China Southern, via Guangzhou (CAN).

The most popular SkyTeam mileage currency for U.K. travellers is probably Air France/KLM’s Flying Blue programme. You’ll likely need around 27,000 in economy, 54,000 miles in premium economy and 67,500 miles in business class one-way. Delta SkyMiles is another option for SkyTeam miles, though because Delta no longer publishes award charts, it’s hard to put a firm number on how many miles you’ll need.

Related: New plane smell: China Southern in a 777 in economy from Dubai to Guangzhou

Bottom line

The Maldives has long been a bucket-list destination for many travellers, both inside and outside the miles and points space. It is very luxurious though can be also incredibly expensive to travel to, so it’s a great opportunity to use your miles and points.

Remember there are fees and taxes payable for all of these redemptions.

Featured image by Ishan Seefromthesky via Unsplash

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