For a long time I’ve been wanting to put together a two-card trip to the Maldives, but it has just not been very easy. With the long travel time to get there, I didn’t want it to be a trip where you basically land, get off the plane, spend one night and come home.

No, I wanted a two card trip to the Maldives to be something real and worthwhile. Thanks to a new hotel option, now is the time to put together my idea and show you how you can take a vacation to the Maldives with just two new credit card welcome bonuses.

One important disclosure to this trip is this is a two card trip for one person. I know many of you might be thinking “why would I go to the Maldives by myself?” But I know plenty of people who have done it by themselves, or with friends who had a great time. That being said, if you are looking to do this with two people, it is going to be a bit more challenging.

Don’t believe me? Follow along, and you’ll see how it’s done.

maldives

The Card Options to Get You to the Maldives

One of the hardest things about booking a trip to the Maldives is getting the flights there especially post covid when a lot of airlines have decreased their flight frequency.

On top of challenging schedules, another issue you run into is just the amount of points needed to get to the Maldives. Even in economy, it takes a good chunk of points but for good reason.

Flights to the Maldives simply aren’t cheap. Even finding a flight in economy below $1,000 round-trip from the United States is often considered a good deal.

Given the high cash prices, we’re going to have to rely on using points to transfer to an airline partner.

HOT TIP

Avianca doesn’t pass through taxes and fees on award tickets, which can help you save hundreds of dollars.

avianca - capital one transfer partners

Avianca

Avianca requires 42,500 points each way in economy from the U.S. to the Maldives. One of the biggest reasons we’re choosing Avianca is because a lot of Star Alliance flights to the Maldives will go through Europe. European carriers are well known for having high taxes and fees. Avianca doesn’t pass through taxes and fees on award tickets, which can help you save hundreds of dollars.

So, you’ll need a total of 85,000 Lifemiles for your round-trip ticket to the Maldives. How are you going to get those?

Here’s the good thing about Avianca LifeMiles: they have a ton of bank partners. That means there are a few different card options to choose from. If you haven’t guessed, we’re going to be using Avianca LifeMiles.

There are several bank programs that transfer to LifeMiles, including American Express, Capital One and Citi. Since we are trying to get the flight with just one card, and we need at least 85,000 points as a welcome bonus from the card we choose, this eliminates Citi. Although they’ve offered high bonuses in the past, currently we can’t get there with just one card.

Let’s take a look at a few card options to choose from to get you to the Maldives.

Capital One® Venture® Credit Card

When I first got started in points and miles, the Capital One Venture Card was considered a very low priority card, but over time, Capital One has been adding a lot of value to their cards. One of the most valuable perks added in recent years are their newly added transfer partners.

When originally announced, all transfer partner ratios were 2:1.5, meaning for every 2 Capital One miles you transferred, you’d earn 1.5 miles in the transfer program.

Recently, Capital One announced some new partners, and updated the transfer ratio for others. Avianca LifeMiles became 1:1, meaning you’ll earn 1 LifeMile for each Capital One mile you transfer.

Right now, you can earn 100,000 bonus miles from the Capital One Venture Card, although it is a tiered bonus. You’ll earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months, and an additional 50,000 bonus miles after spending $20,000 total in the first year.

With 100,000 Capital One miles, you can transfer the 85,000 points needed to LifeMiles to book your round-trip ticket to the Maldives.

The Business Platinum Card® from American Express

The next option for earning the necessary 85,000 points is with The Business Platinum Card® from American Express (rates & fees). You can earn a 120,000 points welcome bonus after spending $15,000 in the first three months of card opening.

The higher spend in a short period of time does make earning the welcome bonus on the Business Platinum a bit more challenging for some people, but if you’re able to swing it this is another great option to earn the points needed to transfer to LifeMiles and secure your flights.

After meeting the minimum spend, you’d have a total of at least 115,000 points.

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Panorama of Water Villas (Bungalows) and wooden bridge at Tropical beach in the Maldives at summer day

American Express® Business Gold Card

Using the American Express® Business Gold Card (rates & fees) won’t get you all the points that you need to make this a successful two-card trip, but it will get you pretty close.

Currently, you can earn a welcome bonus of 70,000 Membership Rewards points after spending $10,000 in the first three months of opening the card. Once you consider that you’ll earn, at a minimum, one point per dollar on the $10,000 spent that puts you at 80,000 points. You’re nearly there, and continuing with the same spending velocity it will only take an additional month and a half to reach the goal of 85,000 points.

Where to Stay: Le Meridien Maldives

Recently, one of the writers over at MileValue identified Le Meridien Maldives as a new award sweet spot.

(oh, was that me! My oh my!).

The ability to book award nights at Le Meridien Maldives is really what made this two-card trip a possibility. Previously, one of the best award sweet spots in the Maldives was the Park Hyatt Maldives. A number of us on the 10xTravel staff have enjoyed the Park Hyatt. However, it costs 30,000 points per night. Making a two-card trip out of it would really limit you to just two or three nights, and I never felt like that was fair.

Given the travel time to the Maldives, I always tell people you should go for a minimum of five nights. I can’t in good faith make a two-card trip that doesn’t follow the same advice I give people.

Thankfully, Le Meridien Maldives changes that.

Le Meridien Maldives is now taking reservations starting in September 2021. What makes this so unique is that Le Meridien is going to be a category five property in the Marriott Bonvoy program.

Remember, Marriott introduced peak, standard and off-peak award nights. For a category five hotel, peak nights are 40,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night, standard nights are 35,000 and off-peak nights are 30,000.

Recall that Marriott offers the fifth night free on award bookings. So let’s take a look at what that translates to if you’re booking five off-peak nights.

For five off-peak nights, you’ll only pay for four nights. That’s 30,000 points per night, times four nights, which equals 120,000 Marriott Bonvoy points for a five-night stay.

Although not every night may be an off-peak night, ever since the news broke of Le Meridien being open for reservations, plenty of people have been finding lots of off-peak availability. It will require playing around with some dates, but with patience, you too should be able to find some.

You’ve got a few card options to make sure you can pull off your two-card trip to the Maldives.

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa | Photo Credit from Marriott

Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card

Here comes the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card (rates & fees). The Bonvoy Brilliant Amex Card is offering a 150,000 point welcome bonus after spending $5,000 in the first three months of card membership and a bonus free night award (limited time offer ends 11/3/2021). That’s more than enough for the 120,000 minimum needed.

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

Another option to earn the necessary points for a two-card trip to the Maldives is the Chase Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card.

Currently, the Chase Ink Business Preferred is offering a 100,000 point bonus after spending $15,000 in the first three months after account opening. After meeting the minimum spend, you’d have 115,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards.

Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to Marriott 1:1, so you could transfer your earned points to Marriott. You’d only need 5,000 more Marriott points to book the Le Meridien Maldives. Going back to the Business Platinum as the card of choice for your flights, you could transfer some of your leftover Membership Rewards to Marriott Bonvoy to book your hotel.

Park Hyatt Maldives

Park Hyatt Maldives

Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card

Let’s face it, hitting two high spend bonuses in a short time frame is going to be challenging for many people. Insert the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card. This $95 annual fee card won’t break the bank, and you can earn the bonus of 100,000 Marriott Bonvoy points when you spend only $3,000 in the first three months.

Paired with the Business Platinum, you could again transfer your remaining Membership Rewards points to Marriott Bonvoy to have more than enough points to book your two-card trip to the Maldives.

How to Extend Your Two Card Trip

With just the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant and one of the cards mentioned above for your flights, you’ll be able to fly round-trip and stay five nights in the Maldives.

However, if you want to extend your stay, a perk of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant card is that on each cardmember anniversary, you’ll get a free award night certificate. This free night certificate is good for a night up to 50,000 points.

Considering that even off-peak nights cost 40,000 points, if you’ve earned your free night certificate you can stay an extra night. Now, your two card trip turned into six nights in the Maldives.

Of course, you have to wait a year after opening the card before you can take advantage of this. And there’s always the possibility that Marriott raises the award category of Le Meridien Maldives by then, but it is something to keep in your pocket if you aren’t able to book right away.

If you choose the Marriott Bonvoy Boundless, you’ll also get a free night certificate for award nights up to 35,000 points. As long as the additional night isn’t priced as a peak award night, you’d be able to add a sixth night to your Maldives trip.

The Value of a Two Card Trip to the Maldives

It can’t be overstated that when planning a two card trip with up to two cards with a high annual fee, it is important to be sure you’re getting enough value from the cards. After all, it isn’t worth paying the annual fees if you could just pay for the cost of the trip in cash.

Flights to the Maldives in economy often cost $1,000 or more per person.

Checking the Le Meridien Maldives for the cheapest cash price for 5 nights comes out to $3,134 after taxes and fees. Even choosing the two highest annual fee cards, The Business Platinum Card® from American Express and the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant™ American Express® Card would bring the cost of the trip down from $4,134 to $1,000 in annual fees. By choosing some lower annual fee cards, you can get it down even lower.

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa -Seaplane Arrival Pavilion

Le Méridien Maldives Resort & Spa - Seaplane Arrival Pavilion | Photo Credit from Marriott

Final Thoughts

As a huge fan of the Maldives, I’m really excited that there’s the opportunity to put together a two-card trip to this beautiful island country. It really goes to show how you can put together virtually any trip with just two cards. You can book your flights through LifeMiles by earning the welcome bonus from either The Business Platinum Card® from American Express, the Capital One® Venture® Rewards Credit Card, or be almost there with the American Express® Business Gold Card.

The limited-time offer on the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant expires soon, but if you’re finding this after it has expired don’t worry. We may see a high bonus like this come back in the future. Given Le Meridien Maldives is only a category 5 property, you can use the bonus to book up to five nights, which really is the minimum you should shoot for if you’re traveling from the U.S.

In full disclosure, this property has received a ton of hype over the past few days since announcing it over on MileValue. Right now, you actually can’t find five consecutive award nights to book. However, the schedule was originally only opened through January 2022, so I’d expect this to change as the hotel opens up more of their schedule for booking.

Did you book this two-card trip? I’d love to hear from you if you did. In case I haven’t said it enough, I love the Maldives and feel that it is a very special country. I’m over the moon to be able to share this opportunity with the 10xTravel community so that you too may be able to experience one of my favorite countries in the world.