Like so many bloggers and Hilton Honors enthusiasts, I've been patiently waiting for Waldorf Astoria bookings to come online.
When we found out the opening date a while back, it was only a matter of time before award pricing would be released. A few days ago, the Waldorf Astoria did come online and WOW; prices are insane!
A standard room (which is a modest abode of 250 square meters with private pool) will set you back in excess of $2000 a night. Aussie dollars? Hell no; that's USD so thanks to a terrible exchange rate that's a casual AUD 2800 per night.
Of course, we all know that buying Hilton Honors points during a promotion can yield an excellent return on investment; especially when it comes to ultra expensive properties such as Waldorf Astoria Maldives.
Right now, and until February 26 you could book a 5 nights stay at the Waldorf Astoria Maldives for "only" US$2400 instead of US$14,000! (read the full guide on buying Hilton Honors points here).
As expected, the WA Maldives has THE highest points per night cost out of any Hilton property in the world. Coming in at 120,000 Hilton Honors points it's not cheap. However, I think the price will be 1000% worth it. If the property renders are anything to go by, this will be one of the hottest resorts to open in the Maldives.
5th Night Free
If you're a Hilton Honors Silver member or higher, you're entitled to a 5th night free when booking your entire stay with points. This brings the price per night down to only 96,000 points for a grand total of 480,000 Hilton Honors points + US$60 in taxes.
Since you're limited to how many Hilton Honors points you can buy each calendar year, you have to play it smart. Introducing family pooling & transfers! (For my quick tutorial on family pooling, check out this guide here). Family pooling and points transfers allow you to send up to 500,000 points from one account to another. The primary recipient can receive a maximum of 2,000,000 points per calendar year which is more than enough to make your booking become a reality.
The great thing about booking with points is that you will not be penalised if you want to change dates or cancel your booking; it's all free!
Due to its popularity, this hotel is booking out fast for points redemptions. I've been monitoring multiple dates and from what I can tell they are only opening up 2 Standard Room redemptions per day!
For my dates, I had to settle for the double Queen bed Villa since the King Bed Villa disappeared while I was waiting for my points to transfer.
The resort might release some more Standard Night awards if they can't sell all the paid nights but having only 2 rooms available each day means this property will fill up fast when it comes to points redemptions.
How to get there?
When prices first came online, many reported that confirmation emails stated a US$370 transfer cost + taxes of 23.2% which works out to $431.2 for a return per person.
However, it turns out this was an "error", and the price is now set at an insane US$862.4 return per person! Family holiday anyone?
Considering the distance to the airport is less than 10 nautical miles; this is clear extortion. However, it's just as easy to organise your own private transfer…. at least so I thought.
Being an Amex Platinum Card members, I figured it was an excellent opportunity to put the concierge and lifestyle services to the test.
After a quick phone call with the concierge, the agent went on her way to find me the cheapest and best transfer options. I asked for a private transfer, shared transfer and helicopter options.
Later in the day, she got back to me with the bad news; resorts in the Maldives don't allow private charter vessels to dock so the only way to get there is via their method of transportation.
Original Waldorf Astoria boat transfer price honoured
Early reports on FT speculated about the pricing being changed so of course, I took a quick screenshot of the original price in the hope that the hotel would honour this.
I since received a response from the hotel, who are now honouring my original return price as stated in the booking of US$370++ per person return.
Waldorf Astoria Maldives Conclusion
I think this resort is going to be next level luxury, if the cash price is anything to go by; we should expect big things.
As for points redemptions, the value is incredible, but you're still going to pay a big chunk of cash to get there. The boat transfer is going to be a significant deterrent for those looking to redeem on points (myself included); a family of 4 would probably have to sell a kidney before arriving at the resort 30 minutes later! It will definitely be interesting to see if this price is maintained and the same goes for the nightly rates.