We again woke up early on our day of departure. Luckily, the night before were were notified that we had been granted a late check out which meant we could check out at 4pm. We ran into the retired couple who were on our flight to the Maldives and and happened to be on the same flight out and they weren’t granted the late check out so I expect we were given it because of the kids. Needless to say, we were very grateful.
On the day of departure, we did more of the same (up early, breakfast, pool, nap, and then the beach). But we needed to be out of the room by 4pm. So, after freshening up/resting as much as possible, we left the villa and went to Rangali Bar for an early dinner. We figured that we might as well spend one last fortune for a meal as we weren’t sure how much time we’d have to eat before departing Male.
After the early dinner, we officially checked out, paid our bill and then enjoyed a few last minutes on the island. At around 6pm, it was our time to say goodbye to paradise and before we knew it, we were aboard the last seaplane back to the capital. It was an uneventful 30 minute trip although we did get to see some huge Manta Rays from the air. Even though the seaplane was expensive, we tried to look at it like a separate excursion (i.e. an aerial tour of the Maldives). Sort of silly, but it took off a little of the financial sting that we had just completed.
Once in Male, we didn’t have a lot of time to delay. We checked into our flight efficiently and were through passport control in no time, but we didn’t have much time to spare so we just went straight to our gate and waited for about 10 minutes before boarding. We learned after checking in that the four of us would be seated in different rows on the flight from Abu Dhabi to Dublin. Not good when traveling with a 2 and 4 year old. That was my fault as I must have forgotten to choose our seats. I thought I had done so when I chose our outbound seats, but apparently not. No matter, the purser took it upon himself to ask several passengers if they’d be willing to switch and we found a mother and son who did which was much appreciated.
On the whole, the long journey from the Conrad back to Boston was a resounding success. The kids were awesome on all flights. And when I say awesome, I mean awesome. The best leg of any trip we’ve taken with them thus far. They both slept about 80% of the time and when they were awake, they were peaches. It was wonderful. And no diarrhea helps…
We ended up getting a dayroom at the Hilton near the Dublin airport to help pass the 7 hour layover that we had before our Aer Lingus flight home. And once we arrived into Boston, we were to our car in no time given that we completed passport control in Dublin. And with no traffic on a Sunday evening, we were home about 1 hour and 15 minutes later. It was a FANTASTIC trip. One that we’d love to do again. It’s not likely that we’ll be able to do so anytime soon, but we now know where to go to find paradise.
As promised, please find below the comparison of how much we spent on our trip versus how much it would have cost us if we had just paid cash for everything. We obviously wouldn’t have made the trip if we’d have had to pay cash! If you’d like to do something similar, I’m happy to help!
Airfare Boston to Dublin to Boston (Aer Lingus coach):
- How we did it: 25,000 British Airways Avios + $122.77 per passenger x 4 = 100,000 British Airways Avios + $491.08 total
- How much it would cost paying cash: $800 per passenger x 4 = $3200
Westin Dublin Hotel:
- How we did it: 12,000 Starwood Preferred Guest points + $0
- How much it would have cost paying cash: 249 Euros (~$343)
Airfare Dublin to Male to Dublin (Etihad Business Class):
- How we did it: 30,000 American Airlines miles + $86.70 per passenger x 4 = 120,000 AA miles + $346.80
- How much it would have cost paying cash: $4,587 per passenger x 4 = $18,348
Conrad Maldives Rangali Island (King Beach Villa):
- How we did it: 2 free weekend nights due to Hilton Citi Reserve Credit card + 170,000 Hilton Honors points for 4 additional nights (this is at the old rate, it now costs nearly double this amount of points)
- How much it would have cost paying cash: $1500 per night x 6 = $9,000
Remaining Costs (which we would have had to pay with or without points/miles):
- Taxi to Dublin: 50 Euros (~$68)
- Dublin Lunch: 39.50 Euros (~$54.50)
- Seaplane Transfers: Adults: $530 per person RT, Kids: $280 per person = $1620
- Bed tax for kids: $8/child/night x 2 kids x 6 nights = $96
- Medicine for Ainsley’s bug bites: $23.76
- Food: $509 (this was for one meal per day – breakfast was free and we brought snacks to stave off hunger for the rest of the day)
- Hotel Tax and service charge: $197.51
- Hilton Day room: 50 Euros ($~68)
- Airport parking: $153
Total for Remaining Costs = $2,789.77
Total Out of Pocket Costs: $3,627.55
Cost if we hadn’t used miles and points: $33,680.77