W Maldives makes it easier to book overwater villas using points

Feb 16, 2020

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The Maldives is one of the most aspirational destinations in the world for award travellers, with hotels that occupy private islands famous for beautiful turquoise water, an impressive array of marine life, and perhaps most importantly, those iconic overwater villas.

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Most hotels in the Maldives have a number of overwater bungalows or villas extending off the island, allowing guests to climb into the water from the comfort of their own room. With cash rates reaching several thousands of dollars a night during peak season, this is a trip for which you’ll definitely want to use points.

St. Regis Maldives (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy)
St. Regis Maldives. (Photo by Ethan Steinberg/The Points Guy.)

Unfortunately, most hotels in the Maldives designate their base rooms (for the purpose of award bookings) as beach or garden villas, with upgrades to an overwater villa costing several hundred dollars per night. I just completed a five-night stay at the W Maldives, where I bumped into fellow TPG contributor and frequent Maldives visitor, Tyler Chapin.

I booked this stay last year, long before Marriott introduced peak- and off-peak pricing. Since the W Maldives is a Category 8 hotel, this allowed me to pay 85,000 points a night with a fifth night free. Now, with peak- and off-peak pricing, Category 8 hotels can cost up to 100,000 points during peak season and as low as 70,000 during off-peak dates, though you probably don’t want to travel all the way to the Maldives during rainy season.

I was originally booked into a two-story beach oasis, but due to my Titanium elite status I received a complimentary upgrade to an overwater villa. Tyler mentioned to me that since I’d booked, the W has changed its policy to make ocean-facing overwater villas its base room for award travellers. The W has two types of overwater villas: lagoon view and ocean view. With about 25 ocean-view villas on the property, it should be relatively easy to find award space.

This is an absolutely fantastic redemption, with these rooms starting at about $1,000 (about £768) during the low season and climbing to over $1,300 (about £998) during peak season.

Overwater villas at the W are more than 1,500 square feet, and include a glass porthole that lets you look down at marine life swimming under your villa.

Photo by Nick Kelvin / The Points Guy
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)

The spacious decks feature two lounge chairs, a circular couch for lounging, a plunge pool and a net hanging over the water.

(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)
Photo by Nicky Kelvin / The Points Guy
(Photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.)

If for some reason you decide you’d rather stay over land, the W’s two-story beach oases are not a bad choice at all. You can “upgrade” from your overwater villa for $350 (about £269) a night or 70,000 points a night. You can also upgrade to a lagoon-view overwater villa for $450 (about £346) or 90,000 points a night, but the view isn’t that much better and definitely not worth those prices.

Bottom line

We’ve seen a number of hotels in the Maldives change which rooms they make available for base award bookings to reflect demand, though it’s quite rare to see hotels that let you book directly into an overwater villa without any cash or points copay. Not only is the W a simply fantastic property (I may even like it better than the St. Regis Maldives) but the ability to book directly into an overwater villa using points should make this the top choice for any Marriott award traveller coming to the Maldives.

Featured photo courtesy of Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.

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