Best Overwater Bungalows to Book with Points
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Staying in an overwater bungalow is an unforgettable experience and a travel goal for many. Although the cost can be quite high if you’re paying cash, there are a number of amazing overwater bungalows you can book using points.
Here, we’ll dive into the best overwater bungalows you can book with points, as well as what to look for when you’re booking an overwater bungalow.
What to look for in hotels with overwater bungalows
If you’re considering booking an overwater bungalow, you should make sure to consider these four questions:
Does the overwater bungalow offer privacy from your neighbors? We recommend looking at pictures online and reading views on sites like TripAdvisor to see if your overwater villa is private or if others will be able to see inside. For instance, the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort is very private (and it’s hard to see into the villa from outside), whereas the Conrad Bora Bora Nui has overwater villas that directly face each other, with limited privacy in most of them.
Does the overwater bungalow offer a sunset view? You’ll sometimes need to pay extra for a guaranteed sunset view, but it may be worth the added cost — there’s something truly magical about watching the sun set over the ocean from your private balcony each night.
Are you visiting during the rainy season? Before booking your overwater villa, always check to see when the rainy season is and, if possible, try to avoid booking during that time. When I visited the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island in November 2019, it rained nearly the entire time — and although I saved myself from a sunburn, I would have been better off booking during the dry season instead.
How much will food cost on your trip? While booking with points can save you a significant amount of cash, keep in mind that many of these resorts are quite pricey when it comes to food. You should be sure to look online or ask the resort for a menu at one of its restaurants to get an idea of how much food will cost on your trip. Pro-tip: it’s usually cheaper to order room service for dinner than to dine at a restaurant at the hotel.
Top spots for overwater bungalow vacations
1. Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi
If you’re looking for one of the most luxurious overwater bungalows you can book with points, look no further than the Reef Villa with Pool, which will run you 150,000 Hilton points per night.
This 3,077-square-foot overwater bungalow comes with a private infinity pool, an outdoor terrace with several sitting areas and a hammock. It can sleep up to four people (two adults and two children). The cash price for this overwater bungalow can be as much as $2,729 per night after taxes, meaning you get a value of about 1.8 cents per Hilton point. This is 3x the average value as determined by NerdWallet, making it a great redemption value.
» Learn more: The complete guide to earning Hilton Honors points
2. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort
Bora Bora hotels with overwater bungalows rarely disappoint, and the St. Regis Bora Bora Resort offers lucky guests an opportunity to stay in the largest overwater villas in French Polynesia. These villas give guests separate bedrooms, living rooms and an outdoor terrace that’s perfect for sunbathing and enjoying your morning coffee.
This is a decent option for Marriott loyalists in search of hotels with overwater bungalows. Although the number of points required varies based on date, you can book a Superior Overwater Villa for as little as 265,600 points per night. Given that the cash value for the 1,549-square-foot villa is around $1,930, you can get a value of about 0.7 cent per Marriott point, which meets NerdWallet’s baseline value for Marriott points.
» Learn more: St. Regis Bora Bora versus Conrad Bora Bora
3. Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
The Sunrise Water Villa at the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island easily makes our list of the best overwater bungalows that you can book with points. This 925-square-foot villa is the only one on the list that comes with a private outdoor jacuzzi for guests to enjoy, which can be especially fun to use on a clear night when you can stargaze.
You can book this villa for as little as 120,000 Hilton points, and with a cash rate of almost $3,060, that’s a value of about 2.6 cents per Hilton point — 2 cents more in value than NerdWallet’s baseline valuation of 0.6 cent per point.
» Learn more: Hotel guide — Conrad Maldives
4. The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands
You can book the 1,614-square-foot one-bedroom Ocean Pool Villa at The Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands for as little as 120,000 Marriott points per night. This villa comes with unobstructed views of the Indian Ocean, a private pool and an overwater hammock.
Since the cash rate is around $4,910 per night, you can get a value of around 4.1 cents per Marriott point on a stay here — nearly 6x the baseline value.
» Learn more: Stunning Maldives resorts to stay on points
If you want to book an overwater bungalow
While there are many great overwater bungalows you can book with points, some of our favorites are the four listed above — and they all represent a great redemption value for your hard-earned points.
Before booking your overwater villa, be sure to consider how private it is, if you’ll get a sunset view, whether your trip is during the rainy or dry season, and how much food will cost at the resort.
How to maximize your rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2023, including those best for:
Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card