I booked a trip to the Maldives… except not for me! January 31st is the last day to book United awards at the current rates. Starting February 1st the new award chart increases business and first class international award tickets tremendously, especially partner awards. I booked a trip to the Maldives for a client from my award booking service using 120,000 United miles (160K as of February 1) and I’ll explain how I did it.
Here is the request my client send me:
Goal: 2 tickets from LAX to Maldives in business class using United miles with a stopover in Taipei.
Since my client was booking far in advance, it was a lot easier to find award tickets. I recommend booking as early as possible to get the best flexibility. The easiest way to start booking tickets is securing the longest legs first.
Step 1: Find LAX-TPE. I used the ANA tool (ANA’s search engine) to find availability. I had to book two tickets but departing on different days. This part was not too bad because I needed to find just one business seat for each date. I even booked a Hello Kitty Jet for one passenger, which I enjoyed a lot!
Step 2: Figure out a way to get from TPE to MLE (Male). My client had already booked 4 nights in the Maldives, but was willing to change his reservation if needed. Getting to Maldives is quite a challenge on United miles because there aren’t many direct ways to get to Maldives on Star Alliance. The best way is to connect in Singapore to the Maldives. However, the flights don’t exactly time right and require either very long layovers, or overnight stays.
The second problem is that Singapore Airlines availability no longer shows on United.com. You must use the ANA tool to search for availability. The only way to book intra-Asia Singapore Airlines flights is to call in and work with an agent. This can be quite frustrating depending on their system. I was lucky and able to find tickets on Singapore Air from TPE-SIN-MLE in business class! The downside is that the arrival to MLE is around 10 PM, so it requires an overnight stay because you would have to jump through some hoops to get picked up by a seaplane or boat that late.
Step 3: Find availability on MLE to TPE to LAX. I could not find availability for MLE-SIN in business, so that was the only economy leg. Due to the late arrival, an overnight stay at SIN was needed. Both people wanted to fly back to US together, and I was lucky to secure two tickets on the same day on EVA Air from SIN-TPE-LAX.
In the end, the routing looked like this:
These flights log in at 21,817 miles of flying with 2,113 miles in economy and 19,704 miles in business class! This trip encompasses 2 weeks in Taipei, 4 nights at the Park Hyatt Maldives, 1 night in Singapore, and 1 night in Male. I would definitely love to take a trip like this, but my schedule is definitely not as flexible. Taipei is one of my favorite places, and I could use a nice trip to the nicest beaches in the world.
Only a few days to lock in your trip at the old rates. It was a challenge to book a trip to the Maldives with United miles, but it’s definitely possible! Anybody booking a trip anywhere on United miles?