An overwater bungalow trip to a remote island like the Maldives or Bora Bora is a must on many travel bucket lists. And luckily, these days there are plenty of ways to enjoy these unique destinations on points. However, the experiences and the value you will get can vary greatly from property to property. Some have limited accommodation options, and some are harder (and more expensive) to reach.
Here are the best international faraway island adventures you can book with points and some you might want to fly over.
Book: Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa
The Maldives is home to more than a dozen point hotels. However, some offer much better cashback value than others, such as Le Méridien Maldives. This is a relatively new property that opened in 2021.
Rates here range from 48,000 to 56,000 points per night, but if you stay five consecutive nights with points, the cheapest night is free, which could effectively bring the rate per night up to 38,400 points. You can top up your Marriott Bonvoy 35,000 point free night certificate with Marriott credit cards like Marriott Bonvoy Unlimited Credit Card.
You can upgrade to an overwater bungalow at sunrise for just an extra 10,000 points most nights.
By comparison, most Marriott Bonvoy hotels in the Maldives cost at least two to three times as much per night and charge significantly more points for overwater villas. Le Méridien charges $420 per person for seaplane transfers, which is quite low compared to other hotels in the Maldives.
Related: 10 private island resorts you can book with points
Skip: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa
With room rates starting at just 41,000 points per night, the Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort and Spa is also one of Marriott’s least expensive properties in the Maldives. However, in this case you get what you pay for. When the TPG team visited the property a few years ago, there were many flaws, such as litter in the water, disappointing overwater bungalows and a constant flow of air traffic due to the proximity to the airport – the opposite of what you’d probably want from a trip to the Maldives.
If you want to choose a resort at the lower end of the points scale in the Maldives, you’re probably better off booking Le Méridien instead.
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Related: It’s Not Your Grandparents’ Sheraton: Marriott Unveils First Group of Properties With New Brand Vision
Book: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
If you’re looking to redeem Hilton Honors points for a trip to the Maldives, look no further than Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. While Hilton also offers the stunning new Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, it’s significantly more expensive — both room rates and on-site restaurants.
Standard rewards at the Conrad are hard to find but cost 120,000 points per night, compared to the 150,000 points you should expect to spend at the Waldorf. If you manage to find a standard room, you should be able to book the sunrise water villa at the standard rate. The hotel is home to an underwater restaurant, probably the perfect place to use the Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card’s $250 annual resort credit.
Hilton Aspire card information was independently collected by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
Related: How to Maximize Hilton Free Night Rewards
Jump: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
The Park Hyatt Maldives is a solid hotel, and you can definitely get great value from your World of Hyatt points here. However, if what you want from the Maldives is an exceptional and unique experience, unfortunately the Park Hyatt may not be the best choice.
The resort is getting old. Also, many reviews say the food is overpriced and just average, which is a problem when you’re on an island in the middle of the ocean. Plus, it’s harder to get to than other resorts in the Maldives, as it requires both a commercial flight and a boat ride.
Related: The Most Award-Winning Hotel Program: Everything You Need to Know About World of Hyatt
Book: InterContinental Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa
If you find reward space, the InterContinental Bora Bora Thalasso offers Emerald Overwater Villas for 120,000 points per night. TPG values IHG Rewards Club points at 0.5 cents each, so considering these villas cost over $1,000 per night, this redemption is a bargain. These rooms offer over 1,000 square feet of space and direct lagoon access.
To get to the resort from the airport, you must take a boat transfer, which costs 7,334 Pacific Island francs (about $65 per person). That’s pretty reasonable compared to other high-end resorts in the area, which can charge upwards of $300 per person for transfer fees.
Related: 10 amazing overwater bungalows you can book with points
Skip: The InterContinental Tahiti Resort and Spa
While the Intercontinental Tahiti regularly offers rates below $300 per night, it’s dated and doesn’t hold a candle to some of the Marriott, IHG, and Hilton options on neighboring islands.
Located approximately two kilometers from Faaa International Airport (PPT), this property is popular with off-duty flight crews. When TPG’s Kyle Olsen traveled to French Polynesia in 2021, passengers and crew filled the concourse and hallways, namely the United Airlines Dreamliner arriving from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
If you take the United Airlines flight from SFO or the Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), you will likely arrive after the last Air Tahiti flight. Therefore, you will likely spend the night in Tahiti before heading to a nearby island.
If you find yourself in Tahiti for an overnight connection, consider booking the newly opened Hilton Hotel Tahiti.
Related: Which one to choose? 5 best hotels in Bora Bora and how to book
Book: The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
No hotel in the Pacific offers larger overwater bungalows than the St. Regis Bora Bora. When the hotel first joined Marriott Bonvoy after acquiring SPG, you could book it for just 60,000 points per night. Now, room rates start around the six-figure mark and end with room rates around 120,000 points per night – if you find a reward space. Finding five consecutive nights here for a free night is tough.
When TPG’s Kyle Olsen stayed at the hotel on points in 2021, the hotel gave him and his family a free upgrade to a two-bedroom overwater bungalow with a private pool, thanks to his status Ambassador Elite. It was, as he said, “the best hotel stay of my life”.
Related: How I Spend Over 5 Million Marriott Bonvoy Points
At the end of the line
A trip to a destination like the Maldives and Bora Bora is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most people.
You will likely have a positive experience at one of these hotels. Still, you want to make sure you get the best experience possible, and some remote island hotels fare better than others. After all, if you use your hard-earned points and go the distance, it’s worth it.
Additional reporting by Kyle Olsen.
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