Recently we became aware of the opening of Le Méridien in Maldives, marking the 6th Marriott property in this island nation. What sets Le Méridien apart though is that it is a Category 5 hotel. A standard award would cost you 35k Bonvoy points and even the peak-season pricing means 40k points, a true bargain considering how expensive everything is in Maldives. Notably you could in theory redeem an award certificate from Amex or Chase co-branded credit cards.
Of course, the challenge is to find the award availability, which was not very good—until now. Perhaps due to the surging number of COVID-19 cases in Maldives that impacted the projection of future tourist visitation, Le Méridien Maldives has released a ton of award nights in early 2022. Most of them are bookable with 40k Bonvoy Points, but you could also find regularly priced award nights at 35k. Considering the cash price often exceeding $500, this represents an incredible redemption value.
To sweeten the deal even better, you could directly be booked into an over-water villa facing east (sunrise view) though availability is not guaranteed. Suite Night Awards cannot be applied to this reservation, however.
A few things to keep in mind: you have 14 days to cancel your reservation for free and there is a transportation surcharge of $420 per person, which covers the air transportation from MLE, a common practice in Maldives.
Again in light of the ongoing COVID situation in Maldives it is hard to know how things are going to change 9 months from now. That being said, more than 450,000 doses of vaccines have been administered in Maldives according to Reuters, and if you have received the jab in the U.S., the risk of developing serious symptoms and dying from the virus is greatly reduced (evidenced by the recent outbreak in Seychelles). Of course it is possible that the mutant currently spreading in Maldives originates in India and chances are existing vaccines may not be as efficacious as expected. If that’s true perhaps you need to reconsider traveling to South Asia anytime soon. Still, since these dates are 9 months away, there is plenty of time to wait and see the development in Maldives.