Waldorf Astoria Maldives Now Bookable With Points!!!

Filed Under: Hilton

I’d argue the most anticipated hotel to join the Hilton Honors portfolio this year is the Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi. This hotel looks absolutely stunning, and isn’t far from Male Airport, so it can be reached by speedboat rather than requiring a seaplane.

Rooms at this hotel became bookable last week for stays as of July 1, 2019, and prices are outrageous — we’re talking $2,000+ per night for a standard room.

So I was curious how points redemptions would work at this hotel. Traditionally Hilton Honors charges at most 95,000 points per night for a redemption, and almost all hotels are included. In the case of some hotels they may only have one or two rooms you can redeem at, but it’s still possible to redeem.

If prices stick, this is going to be Hilton’s most expensive property, so I’m curious to see how this is handled.

I’ve been checking the website for this hotel every morning and night, and as of this morning it looks like the hotel is bookable on points. The standard room here is a 2,518 square foot beach villa with a private pool.

It looks like the Waldorf Astoria Maldives is now bookable for 120,000 points per night. Keep in mind that if you’re an Honors elite member you get a fifth night free (bringing down the average cost to 96,000 points per night), and you can also redeem any weekend night reward certificates here.

Best I can tell, points redemptions here have a two week cancelation policy, which is one of the more generous policies I’ve seen in the Maldives. The exception seems to be during festive season, when cancelations are required further in advance.

While Hilton doesn’t have a formal award chart, historically their highest cost properties have been 95,000 points per night for a standard room. It looks like with the introduction of the Waldorf Astoria Maldives they’ve raised that to 120,000 points per night for this hotel.

Personally I’m fine with that. I value Hilton Honors points at ~0.5 cents each, so here you’re able to redeem an average of 96,000 points per night over four nights, which is the equivalent of $480 per night including taxes, service charges, etc. That’s an excellent deal, as far as I’m concerned.

Furthermore, Hilton continues to let you redeem free night certificates here, so it’s nice they’re not putting a cap on those.

If you want to top of your Hilton Honors points balance for a stay here, keep in mind you can buy Hilton Honors points for 0.5 cents each at the moment.

Anyone plan on booking a stay at the new Waldorf Astoria Maldives?

  1. This is the old Hilton property that was renovated. I want to see a TR before booking. TBH, I’ve been to the PH and Conrad and I’m done with the Maldives. It’s been ticked off my bucket list.

  2. Its nice that they allow redemption bookings for 120k however the issue is this now introduces the possibility/probability of them eventually moving some properties up to this new category

  3. Meh beach villa. I am of the opinion of anyone wants the full Maldives experience doing an overwater villa is a must.

    Of course, everyone has different preferences, but there are only a few spots in the world where you can have an overwater villa.

  4. The introduction of a 120,000 point standard room redemption is obviously a negative devaluation for the system as a whole as you can image many Waldorfs/Conrads may also move to that level.

  5. I’ve booked for 18th-24th December and the deadline for cancellation is 19th September so not 2 weeks as stated in the article

  6. What? You’re fine with that!?! What?? Is this TPG in disguise?

    This is some soft bigotry of low expectations if ever there was

  7. How can you be fine with Hilton raising the max points per night by 26% ??
    95000 to 120000 is a steep increase.
    Please remember not everyone has unlimited points like you, and if hotels that currently charge 95000 points per night start charging 120000 per night, it will be a huge blow.

  8. @ Tom — First of all, I don’t have unlimited Hilton Honors points (at all). My biggest gripe historically has been Hilton’s lack of premium hotels. Now they’re introducing a hotel that’s truly special, that’s in a different league than anything we’ve seen from Hilton before. So I’m happy to see that, even if it’s at a higher price, rather than not seeing it at all. Of course I share your thoughts that it would be a big devaluation if suddenly all 95K properties cost 120K, but I don’t think that’s going to be happening (at least for now).

  9. @Anthony: “The introduction of a 120,000 point standard room redemption is obviously a negative devaluation for the system as a whole as you can image many Waldorfs/Conrads may also move to that level.”

    I agree wholeheartedly. The 120K/night rate at this hotel could be the dreaded opening of Pandora’s box. As long as the highest award rate was 95K/night, one could be sure that any devaluation within that cap would not be too drastic. If the STANDARD rate of 120K/night is limited to this new property and to new similarly HIGHLY ‘aspirational’ ones that were not part of the old award chart, the devaluation could be manageable. But if award costs for properties that were capped at 95K/night in the old chart [WAs and Conrads] start be raised to exceed that prior cap, it would mean a rather severe devaluation is upon us. That bears watching closely…

  10. February 11, 2019.

    Just want to note that this is the date where I said something positive about Hilton and DCS was skeptical of Hilton. The end is near, folks…

  11. Lucky – historically one of the best and most accessible uses of Hilton points is to redeem at 95,000 at their top end hotels. For me, that’s Waldorf Amsterdam, Waldorf Beverly Hills, etc (I am more of a city guy than a resort guy). So if that goes up to 120,000, it’s not a good thing, and is a much bigger impact than the availability of this property.

    What this does mean is that those Amex weekend night credits become even more valuable. That is worth over $2,000 at this hotel.

  12. @Lucky – The end must be near. First you limit trip reports, then you fly a premium economy product, and now you say something positive about hilton…..

  13. Lucky part of the problem is you buried the lede. If your headline had been “Hilton creates new top category at a 26% devaluation… silver lining one hotel in the Maldives is now bookable!” I think your readership wouldn’t be as annoyed by your tone

  14. @ Stvr — A devaluation compared to what? We didn’t know if they’d allow redemptions at this property at all (just look at the previous post, where there wasn’t widespread agreement). There are other Waldorfs that don’t allow standard redemptions at all, so…

  15. @Lucky — It shows how far you’ve come 😉 (kudos!), and also a couple of things: (a) I have always been the objective one, and (b) Hilton Honors has overcome the negative perception that had plagued it for years, largely because of constant disparagement by folks (like you) who knew very little about the program but thought they could pontificate nevertheless. What it all means is what I have been saying: HH is now unquestionably the dominant hotel loyalty program out there, hands down.

    Lastly, and more to the point, look at what I wrote and your response to @Tom, which you posted at 9:02am and I posted mine at 9:03am, which means that I was writing my comment when yours posted and I had seen it yet not. However, what you said to @Tom is pretty much the same thing that I said! As soon as Hilton Honors moved to the revenue-based system, I did do an analysis that concluded that we should carefully monitor the 95K cap because if it was ever exceeded it would like presage a severe devaluation (InsideFlyer seems dead now or I would provide a link to that analysis.) I just hope you are right that 120K STANDARD award rate at this property is not the dreaded opening of Pandora’s box…


  16. @ Anthony — Interesting you mention that, as I was just trying to redeem points at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. Have you looked at availability lately? There are three days between May 1 and the end of schedule where they have a standard room available. That’s because the hotel plays *massive* games with award availability.

    I guess that’s where my viewpoint comes from. I’d rather a hotel set a reasonable redemption rate where they’re less encouraged to play games, rather than set something that isn’t sustainable and cause them to basically block redemptions.

    I guess the Waldorf Astoria Maldives could have done what Amsterdam is doing, and claim 95K redemptions but almost never make any standard rooms available.

  17. “Meh beach villa. I am of the opinion of anyone wants the full Maldives experience doing an overwater villa is a must. ”

    I believe that true experience is underwater world. I’m not sure what people do there in resorts for 10-15 days, I would die of boredom. I had booking in Conrad once but changed 3 days in Malvides to a week in Tokyo, for the same amount of points. Then stayed in cheaper place and paid cash. Don’t think my experience was bad at all.

  18. I just booked a 5-night award stay with the fifth night free:
    Total cost in points: 120K * 4 + 0k = 480,000 HH points

    I also did a dummy cash booking:

    BAR Price: $16,480.00
    Taxes: $2,205.36
    Service Charge: $1,648.00
    Total for stay: $20,333.36

    ‘Nominal’ Redemption value” $20,333.36/480,000 = $0.04236

    Yup, that is right: an outsized ¢4.23/point !!!


  19. @Lucky — It proves what I have always known and have said a few times, usually as a compliment: you have the capacity to reexamine your assumptions, unlike those who call themselves “thought leader” 🙂

    Yes, it means you get credit for a higher level of objectivity than most in your profession 😉

  20. Maybe its just semantics, but if they had went with ‘premium’ rooms starting at 120k rather than standard, I might have preferred it. They could make an argument that all rooms here are premium to a degree. Using Standard terminology makes me think this is the start of a broader devaluation where lots of other Conrads/W-A will move to this new pricing

  21. @tom — That is indeed the major concern. But then again, maybe this is just a promotional rate. They did not want to call it ‘premium’ because it would have sent the wrong message: such a low ‘premium’ rate for this property would have raised eyebrows because the ‘premium’ designation is reserved for rates that are generally meant to be so exorbitant as to discourage redemptions when a hotel is busy (other programs would simply show no availability). Designating the 120K rate as ‘standard’ leaves a lot of room for interpretation under the revenue system. It could be that after the initial wave of promotional bookings, the top ‘standard’ rate would be brought back down to 95K even for this property…

    Time will tell.

  22. I would not have expected anything less. At least you did not write a dissertation-length post to make a case that would be the only thing ‘funny’ or risible for anyone who’s been here long enough to have read and understood my comments, as opposed to your knee-jerk obsession to disparage, attack or challenge practically anything I write, no matter how self-evident or innocuous…


  23. thinking about redeeming points for the conrad and use weekend night cert at this one. any chance for diamond upgrade?

  24. @wj — Generally, there are no Diamond upgrades at all-villa, ‘aspirational’ properties. The only exception might be when upgrading a Diamond would open up an entry-level villa for cash booking, and there is a next/higher-level villa that would otherwise go unoccupied.

  25. I think that 120k Points are reasonable. I was Looking for the Waldorf astoria in Amsterdam andiamo you have to put at least 320 k Points for a night !!

  26. @Daniel mijic – Apples and oranges.

    WA Maldives: 120K is for a ‘standard’ reward (this is what would be in an award table).
    WA Amsterdam: 320K is ‘premium’ reward (this is the same as ‘no award rooms available.’)

  27. I have found that the Waldorf Amsterdam has generally more standard hotel inventory very close in (a couple of days before). One strategy is to book another hotel in Amsterdam, but keep looking out for Waldorf availability as you approach your trip.

  28. I was in Amsterdam last October and picked the DoubleTree over the WA for a revenue stay because the former is located right next to ‘Amsterdam Centraal’ train station from where I could easily take the train every morning for 4 days to my conference in Utrecht and back. The DT is also within walking distance from where most of the night ‘action’ happens in the city with the famous ‘Red Light District’…

  29. DCS – I hate to call you out here, but don’t you also post a lot about the Hilton Pattaya? Pattaya in Thailand, Red Light District in Amsterdam… I’m noticing a pattern here

  30. I don’t see how one new property with extremely high cash rates raising it’s minimum for a point stay represents a devaluation of the program as a whole. Yes, it bears watching, but the sky is not falling, it’s one property and there’s no obfuscation by Lucky here. After all, if you can get a $.0043 redemption on a premium Hilton stay, I’d hardly call that a “devaluation” of HH points…
    Oh, and I do believe you’re right, one day the ceiling standard redemption at Hilton will be above 95k points at many properties, but that day is not today (aside from the one property), so why worry about what might or probably will one day happen??

  31. @DCS: “I would not have expected anything less. At least you did not write a dissertation-length post to make a case that would be the only thing ‘funny’ or risible for anyone who’s been here long enough to have read and understood my comments, as opposed to your knee-jerk obsession to disparage, attack or challenge practically anything I write, no matter how self-evident or innocuous…”

    As usual, you have absolutely no room to talk here.

  32. @Anthony – People claim to see ‘patterns’ all the time where none exist, but even if you’ve uncovered one that’s real I would not apologize. However, I’ve also posted a lot about Singapore, Shanghai, Siem Reap, etc, etc, etc, challenging the basis of your purported ‘pattern.’ Moreover, there are few cities in Thailand without at least one Red Light District, so I guess you’d conclude a ‘pattern’ if anyone told you that s/he’s been to both Amsterdam and in Thailand? Inquiring minds wanna know…

  33. @Miles ahead sez: “After all, if you can get a $.0043 redemption on a premium Hilton stay, I’d hardly call that a “devaluation” of HH points…”

    Yes, that would be a huge devaluation, unless you move the decimal point left to $.043 😉

    No one is panicking quite yet, but the situation bears watching closely because an increase in the top award rate beyond 95K/night without a corresponding increase in cash rates due to “market forces” would seriously decrease the redemption values at top-end hotels…

  34. Woah! Those of us who snatched award stays at the standard rate of ‘only’ 120K/night were fortunate! The same KING BEACH VILLA WITH POOL that was bookable for 120K points as a ‘standard Room Reward’ has now been designated as a…

    PREMIUM ROOM REWARD – Premium Room Rewards allow Hilton Honors members to use points to book premium rooms and suites, confirmed at the time of booking.

    …and for that, the rate has been increased to…are you ready?…. 1,126,000 HH/night!

    The 120K/night rate thus appears to have been a ‘promotional’ rate to designed to give a limited number of members a taste of new Hilton luxury. Now my purchase of 320,000 promotional points for $1,600 (the promo offered 160,000 points for $1,600 + 160,000 bonus points as a 100% discount) to replenish my points, which I’d drawn down from ~1M to just 1,596 points after redeeming for my 2018 Year-end Asian Escapade back in Augaust, not only allowed me afford this lucrative redemption but it also seems prescient in retrospect (especially since it was the first EVER I’d purchased HH points)!

  35. Why just accept Hilton’s unethical behavior and move on? When they did away with award charts they promised the top tier would be 95K.

  36. @ DJ — I guess it comes down to your perspective. When they eliminated award charts a couple of years back and said redemptions wouldn’t cost more than 95K per night, my expectation wasn’t that this would be the case forever. I’m surprised it took two years till they introduced higher pricing. If suddenly all 95K properties cost 120K properties I’d agree and would be angry, but seeing a new, super expensive hotel introduced for 120K doesn’t make me mad, personally.

  37. @Lucky put it exactly as I would have: “When they eliminated award charts a couple of years back and said redemptions wouldn’t cost more than 95K per night, my expectation wasn’t that this would be the case forever.”

    It is completely ludicrous to cry foul in this instance. Two years ago, I’d set the 95K/night cap, not as an immovable marker that would last forever, but as a marker that would let us know when Hilton Honors was contemplating some kind of change to how they price their awards. The cap has been exceeded only for one hotel, which gives us heads-up, so I fail to see the purported ‘unethical behavior’ to cry foul about. ONE BRAND NEW HOTEL OUT OF MORE THAN 5K HAS BEEN PRICED ABOVE THE CAP, WHICH COULD HAVE BEEN DONE BY SIMPLY DESIGNATING THE ROOMS IN THE PROPERTY AS ‘PREMIUM ROOM REWARDS’! See how silly?

    We should remember that Hilton just launched a new and highly exclusive luxury hotel brand called LXR. It now has only one hotel, the former St. Regis Dubai; and this spring the Biltmore, Mayfair Hotel, will become the second LXR hotel. I suspect that the new 120K cap is being phased in to serve as the cap for LXR and other super high-end hotels that are in pipneline. I also suspect most if not all existing hotels will likely remain under the 95K cap, to be raised selectively based on ‘market forces’… (for instance: WA Chengdu, which is gorgeous, super luxurious and brand new when I stayed there last month for ‘just’ 60K/night is not about to be raised over the 95K cap any time soon because of ‘market forces’ dictates…)

  38. 120k still available. I just added two nights end of October at that rate, adding to my 5 nights booked yesterday. one week for 600k – super happy! Lucky- thanks for the head’s up yesterday!!!

  39. They must have decided to make more villas available, which is great because it allows members with points to take advantage of what is a lucrative deal, by any measure.

    How lucrative? If this were a Hyatt property, it would be like getting a ‘nominal’ redemption value of:

    ¢4.23/HH point * 3HH points/WoH point = ¢12.69/WoH point.


  40. Quick dummy bookings just revealed a couple of things:

    1. There are no longer villas available for award booking at the end of the year (around New Year into early next year) during which I booked my 5-night award stay. Now, it shows ‘X’ for bookings between the following dates, exclusive:

    — December 06-21, 2019 (last 5-night block with availability)

    then nothing or all X’s until

    — January 07-12, 2020 (next 5-night block with availability)

    2. The cash room rates vary widely depending on the season:

    I just dummy-booked a 5-night revenue stay for September 2019 and got a cash of $2,122/night, the same as @Lucky got in the display above. I also found awards available @120K/night. The ‘nominal’ redemption value at that cash would be roughly ¢2.6/point.

    When I booked a dummy 5-night revenue stay for the end of the year, which now shows no award availability, the cash rate for the villa was $3,296/night, i.e., more than $1K compared to September! The lack of award availability at the end of the year (at least for now) suggests that folks may be preferentially redeeming their points at the end of the year to get the higher redemption value that I got (¢4.23/point), and/or Hilton may be limiting availability of awards in anticipation of increased cash bookings during the busy year-end season…

  41. I just booked 5 nights in early November. My main question here is how will Diamonds be treated? And all I am interested in is breakfast. If the main villa I am getting is over 2000 sq ft, I don’t need an upgrade.
    Also interesting is that the Park Hyatt Maldives is getting their points rate increased. Going from 25,000 points a night to 30,000. I luckily got the lower rate a year an a half ago and it was definitely worth it. The best service bar none of any hotel I have stayed at. Then again, I was a Globalist there too, but even so….
    Anyone hear what Diamonds at the Waldorf will be getting in the Maldives?

  42. It’s a Waldorf Astoria, which means free breakfast for Diamonds. There are no upgrades at all-villa/over-water bungalow properties, and none are necessary unless one has a large party, in which case it would be foolish to depend the upgrade lottery for comfort…

  43. Do we know if there will be afternoon tea or evening cocktails for Diamond members like what they typically do over at Conrad Maldives?

  44. Just an update. This hotel is no longer 120K points a night. It increased to a minimum of 655,000K a night. I checked the month of July. I’m not sure about other the other months.

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