Le Méridien Maldives: An Amazing Deal for Overwater Villas

We tend to spend a lot of time dreaming about the overwater villas of the Maldives, as they’ve long represented one of the pinnacle award redemptions for which we can redeem our hotel loyalty points.

Whether it’s an engagement trip, a honeymoon, an anniversary trip, or just because, it doesn’t get much better than staying on a remote atoll with the open ocean surrounding you.

It’s even more satisfying when you’ve booked the resort stay for “free” using your hotel points, although as I’ve touched upon before, there are always lots of other cash costs involved on a trip like this too.

In the past, the sky-high redemption costs of the Maldives’ overwater villas have proven to be a major challenge, and this type of trip tends to be a fairly long-term goal for most points collectors.

But the Le Méridien Maldives will be changing the game when it opens this fall – it’s only priced as a Category 5 hotel upon launch, meaning that a couple of credit card bonuses could earn you a five-night stay!

Le Méridien Maldives – Main pool

Le Méridien Maldives, A Category 5 Hotel

Up until now, Marriott’s portfolio in the Maldives has consisted of the following properties:

  • St. Regis Maldives (Category 8)
  • JW Marriott Maldives (Category 8)
  • W Maldives (Category 8)
  • The Ritz-Carlton, Maldives (Category 8, opening in June 2021)
  • Westin Maldives Miriandhoo Resort (Category 7)
  • Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa (Category 6)

As you can see, every hotel except the Sheraton is either a Category 7 or Category 8, which makes it a fairly involved task to rack up enough points to redeem for a meaningful stay. These are no doubt amazing luxury resorts, as I had experienced when I stayed at the JW Marriott Maldives, but it may take several years of cobbling together credit card bonuses (or a large points purchase) to build up your balance.

The Sheraton is more accessible as a Category 6, but it’s also located very close to the main island of Malé, so it doesn’t quite have the same exclusivity factor as the other resorts.

By contrast, the Le Méridien Maldives will be opening in August 2021 as a Category 5 property, even though it’s located on Thilamaafushi, a 35-minute seaplane ride north of Malé. That means it’s more of a “true” overwater villa resort, which makes it all the more exciting that it’s bookable for such low rates:

  • An off-peak award night would cost 30,000 Bonvoy points
  • A standard award night would cost 35,000 Bonvoy points
  • A peak award night would cost 40,000 Bonvoy points

(That’s in addition to a mandatory seaplane fee of US$420 per person, which is an unavoidable part of staying at most Maldives overwater villa resorts.)

Best of all, the Sunrise Overwater Villa is considered one of the base rooms at this property, meaning you can book it directly on points rather than paying for the upgrade in cash or hoping to score an upgrade based on your elite status.

With the “Stay 5, Pay for 4” benefit, you could in theory book five nights at the Le Méridien Maldives for only 120,000 Bonvoy points, which works out to an average of 24,000 Bonvoy points per night. It’s mind-boggling that you could get a night in the Maldives’ overwater villas for less than the Courtyard on top of a Wendy’s at Yonge & College in Toronto.

In practice, you may not always find a block of five nights in the same room that are all priced at the off-peak rate, so the total cost might work out to something like 130,000 or 140,000 Bonvoy points, which is still an incredible deal.

Indeed, if you signed up for both the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Card and the Marriott Bonvoy American Express Business Card, you’d emerge with at least 140,000 Bonvoy points upon completing the minimum spending requirements. You wouldn’t even need to get Player 2 involved to treat them to a surprise overwater villa getaway!

Alternatively, you and your partner could work together to rack up the points required – by using a refer-a-friend link from one partner to another, you’d capture an additional 10,000 Bonvoy points along the way.

Marriott Bonvoy Credit Cards
Credit Card Best Offer Value
55,000 Bonvoy points $429 Apply Now
55,000 Bonvoy points $399 Apply Now

The Marriott Bonvoy co-branded credit cards will also offer another method to book the Le Méridien Maldives: their anniversary Free Night Awards worth 35,000 Bonvoy points.

You could combine a Free Night Award(s) stay with your fifth-night-free stay to book a total of six or seven nights in your overwater villa. Alternatively, if you don’t feel like staying for five nights, you could book a four-night sequence using entirely Free Night Awards between yours and your partner’s Bonvoy accounts.

(There’s no way to combine the fifth-night-free benefit with the Free Night Award; if you’re staying five nights, your fifth night is already free, so save the Free Night Award for another use.)

Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera Bar

Cash rates at this resort start at US$490 ($600), meaning that you’ll be getting a respectable value of 1.71 cents per point (cpp) based on the standard rate of 35,000 points per night (or even higher if you book off-peak or fifth-night-free).

That’s much better than our target valuation of 0.9cpp, even if it’s not quite as high as some of the more opulent alternatives in the Maldives.

Should You Redeem Points for the Le Méridien Maldives?

At a Category 5 designation, the newly-opened Le Méridien Maldives certainly makes the Indian Ocean overwater villa experience a lot more accessible than it was previously. If it’s always been on your bucket list, then only a couple of credit card bonuses will earn you enough points to check it off.

At the same time, there’s something to be said for splurging for the best-of-the-best accommodations when you’re making a trip to the Maldives, given the travel time and costs involved and the uniqueness of the destination.

If you’re spending a week in an endless ocean dreamscape as part of a special occasion with your spouse, for example, you’d definitely want to make it the best experience you possibly can. Some travellers will find exactly that in the Le Méridien, whereas others may be left to wonder what it would’ve been like had they splurged on the St. Regis or the JW Maldives instead.

Looking at the renderings of the Sunrise Overwater Villa, for example, I’d say that it’s in line with the positioning of the Le Méridien brand among all of Marriott’s brands (including the other Maldives properties), with the villas looking a bit smaller and simpler than their more illustrious counterparts.

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunrise Overwater Villa

But then again, when I think back to what made my stay at the JW Marriott Maldives so special, my enduring memory is of the horizon disappearing into the distance and the sheer magic of the direct ladder access down to the ocean – with the room, villa, and resort themselves coming second.

It looks like the Le Méridien’s overwater villas will certainly deliver exactly that – and plus, there’s even a cool little hammock built into the deck here, which I didn’t get at the JW Marriott!

(In terms of elite upgrades, if you’re visiting this resort as a Platinum or Titanium member, you might be able to score an upgrade to the Sunrise Overwater Pool Villa, which comes with its own “splashing water directly into the ocean” infinity pool on your private deck.) 

Le Méridien Maldives – Sunrise Overwater Pool Villa

In my opinion, those who have already stayed at a higher-end resort in the Maldives before might be less likely to find the Category 5 Le Méridien Maldives to be an attractive award redemption, even though the value is quite strong on paper.

I know I’d fall into this camp myself – after such a stellar experience at the JW Marriott Maldives, I’d want to do everything I can to make my next Maldives trip exceed that, rather than fall short of it.

On the other hand, if you haven’t been to the Maldives before and you’ve harboured an interest in going, but the Category 8 price points of the other resorts have been prohibitive for you, then the Category 5 Le Méridien might absolutely be the best choice.

If you’re interested in booking, I’d definitely recommend taking action as swiftly as possible. Not only are the Maldives open to tourists these days, but you never know when Marriott might decide to bump up the category on this property (which I think we can all agree is fairly undervalued), or the hotel might decide to no longer designate the Sunrise Overwater Villa as a base room bookable on points.

Le Méridien Maldives – Riviera adults-only pool

Conclusion

Overwater villagoers now have a brand-new Marriott Bonvoy points redemption option: the Le Méridien Maldives, a mere Category 5 hotel within the program that can be booked for as little as 24,000 Bonvoy points per night. 

If you’ve been dreaming of a trip to the Maldives, you’ll want to carefully weigh up the decision as to whether to book the Le Méridien at a more affordable rate or to splurge for the more luxurious Category 8 resorts like the St. Regis or the JW Marriott.

I’ll certainly be very curious to hear about the first guests’ experiences at the Le Méridien and find out whether it’s truly priced as a steal, or if it’s more of a situation where “you get what you pay for”. 

Either way, there’s no harm in locking in a booking for later in 2021 right now if you’re interested – even if it’s somewhat speculative!

23 Comments
  1. JH

    is the deal dead? I can only find Beach Bungalow now.

  2. Max

    How are people saying this is amazing? You don’t go to Maldives at 500$ a night you can get that anywhere.. this is a budget hotel plucked into a random Maldives island just for a check mark.

    A true experience is what the $1500/night+ plus resorts feature, why bother going to Maldives as a budget traveler its an insult to your self.

    1. Ricky YVR

      It’s not $500 or $1,500 a night that’s important – it’s 35,000 Bonvoy points, which is an awesome rate for an overwater villa.

      1. Max

        At $500 a night its more economical to pay cash vs using points. Also why go to Maldives to a category 5 hotel? Its like going to a Monaco and staying in a hostel, it just doesn’t fit.

        Maldives is about unimaginable luxury, service and tranquility. This place only has 2 restaurants, and a gigantic community pool that takes over most of the resort. How are people not understanding this hotel doesn’t come close to what true Maldives experience has to offer.

        Sure it’s 35k points but you can’t cheat life by going to Maldives on the cheap you are only cheating your self of a true experience.

        1. Ricky YVR

          Who said anything about cheating life? Not everyone can swing the Category 8 pricing and I think the Category 5 pricing offers a very welcome new option for the overwater villa experience, as evidenced by the hundreds of points bookings that have been made since reservations opened.

  3. Todd

    Would be good to add a link to this article that points to the article showing how to fly there.

  4. Dino

    I don’t think you can book a sunset water Villa with points. I can only see sunrise over water villa is available.

    1. Ricky YVR

      I think I meant Sunrise.

  5. Brian

    Can this be booked into 2022? Cant seem to find any days in 2022 Jan / Feb.

    1. Ricky YVR

      I’m seeing plenty of dates for early 2022 now.

      1. Brian

        Thanks! Would be nice to have a follow up article to how to get to Maldives with new Aeroplan.

        1. Jay*

          Pretty similar to the old AP, just with more options (more partners).

  6. Michael

    Maybe I’m doing it wrong but I tired different combinations 1, 2,3,4, 5 days and I can’t find and point redemption

    1. Ricky YVR

      Try using the “Flexible Dates” search feature starting in September 2021.

  7. Howard

    Love it I just booked 11 nights in September for 240k points plus one free night awards

    As being titanium will also get breakfast included

    Dinner I heard is Pricy on those kinds of resorts but hopefully prices are better at meridian compared to st regis 😚

    Hopefully I also get Upgrades to overwater villa with private pool 😍

    1. Jules

      September is rainy season. You’re better off paying an extra 5k per night to stay later in the year. Speaking from experience. I booked 6 nights in December, hopefully it will work out.

  8. Michael

    Everything full LOL nothing available

    1. Ricky YVR

      Plenty of dates available.

  9. Bokimon

    This is amazing, maybe not this year for me but I will try my luck in 2022 Aug/Sep provided the booking calendar for reward night can stretch out a year or so, I guess by the time Aug/Sep rolls around so it’ll be bookmarked for future checks. There will probably be at least a first month or so of shakedown period to fix up deficiencies and iron out any bugs and kinks with product, communications and service so YMMV even at those redemption deals

  10. Alec

    Yea great deal Ricky. Only problem is the flight cost! How much would a boat ride cost and how long would it take if available? A family of 6= $ 2550 USD- kinda kills the deal? But it’s great to dream about it😎

    1. Matthew

      Who takes kids to the Maldives?

      1. Jay*

        Quite a few families do (sometimes even with nanny in tow). You would be surprised what you see at some of the properties.

    2. Ricky YVR

      An overwater villa resort like this isn’t necessarily the best for children (especially young children). Consider a couple’s getaway instead 😉

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