This series of articles about credit cards, points and miles, and budgeting for travel is brought to you in partnership with The Points Guy.
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An oasis of paradise in the middle of the Indian Ocean, this archipelago of 115 islands boasts a unique blend of white sand beaches, crystal-clear water and rich culture. It’s the perfect destination for honeymooners and adventure travelers alike, offering a wealth of activities like snorkeling amid colorful coral reefs, picturesque hikes and exotic wildlife. Whether you’re looking to relax in a luxury resort or explore its unique landscape, the Seychelles are an excellent location to do just that.
However, traveling to the Seychelles can be expensive and arduous. Between the high-priced luxury hotels and long-haul flights, you can easily accrue thousands of dollars in travel expenses. That’s where points and miles come in – you can lower your out-of-pocket cost and travel to the Seychelles in comfort and style. Here’s how to use rewards programs to book your dream trip to this paradise:
The cheapest award flights to the Seychelles for 2024
Flights from the US to Seychelles International Airport (SEZ) can be expensive and take over 18 hours. If you don’t want to spend thousands of dollars flying halfway around the world in a cramped seat, there is a way to save money and even fly business class for less than the cost of coach: Using points and miles to save money on travel. You can do this by leveraging travel credit cards for their welcome bonuses. It’s a great way to stretch your travel budget further and enjoy a premium experience.
Several airlines offer flights to Seychelles from major international hubs like Doha (DOH), Abu Dhabi (AUH), Istanbul (IST) and more. Mileage rates are also reasonable, costing only slightly more than tickets to Europe. Here’s an overview of the cheapest award flights to the Seychelles and how to accrue the necessary miles:
- All Nippon Airways Mileage Club: From 65,000 points round-trip
- American AAdvantage: From 88,000 points round-trip
- Turkish Miles&Smiles: From 90,000 miles round-trip
All Nippon Airways Mileage Plan
All Nippon Airways (ANA) Mileage Club offers some of the lowest award flights to virtually anywhere in the world. Want to fly to Europe on points? ANA has one of the lowest business-class fares. Is Japan on your bucket list? ANA offers incredible redemption rates to Tokyo. The same goes for the Seychelles: ANA has incredibly low mileage fares. An economy class ticket will cost you 65,000 miles round trip, while business class costs 104,000 miles.
The business class fare is a downright bargain and pretty close to what most other airlines charge for a round-trip economy class ticket to the Seychelles. Unfortunately, the only way to get ANA miles is by transferring them 1:1 from the Amex Membership Rewards program. Here are some credit cards you can use to give your ANA balance a boost:
- The Business Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 120,000 points after spending $15,000 within the first three months of card membership
- The Platinum Card® from American Express*: Earn 80,000 points after spending $8,000 in the first six months of card membership
- American Express® Business Gold Card*: Earn 70,000 points after spending $10,000 in the first three months of card membership
- American Express® Gold Card*: Earn 60,000 points after spending $6,000 within the first six months of card membership
- American Express® Green Card*: Earn 40,000 points after spending $3,000 within the first six months of card membership
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines partners with Etihad and Qatar Airways for flights to the Seychelles, which is not a bad way to travel. Both airlines have excellent economy and business class seats, making long-haul travel much more comfortable. You can book a round-trip economy class ticket for 80,000 AAdvantage miles, while business costs 150,000 AAdvantage miles.
Considering you can piece together 150,000 miles from multiple credit card welcome bonuses, it might be worth the splurge for business class. American Airlines is also a 1:1 transfer partner of Bilt Rewards, in case you need to top off your mileage account in a hurry.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite Mastercard: Earn 70,000 bonus miles after spending $7,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $6,000 within the first six months of account opening.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® Mastercard®: Earn 50,000 bonus miles after spending $2,500 within the first three months of account opening.
- Barclays AAdvantage® Aviator® Red World Elite Mastercard®: Earn 60,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $99 annual fee within the first 90 days.
Turkish Miles&Smiles offers some of the lowest redemption rates on Star Alliance flights to the Seychelles. With Turkish miles, you can book flights to Mahe on Egyptair, Ethiopian Airlines and United, to name a few. Award rates are very reasonable at 90,000 miles round-trip in economy class and 150,000 miles in business class.
You can transfer Bilt Rewards, Capital One miles and Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Miles&Smiles at a 1:1 ratio. It takes just a couple of credit card welcome bonuses to cover the required miles for a flight:
- Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after spending $4,000 within the first three months of account opening.
- Citi Premier® Card: Earn 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first three months of account opening.
Seychelles hotels you can book with points
Every major hotel chain has properties in the Seychelles where you can use points. The nightly rates at these properties can top $1,000 per night, providing excellent value for your points. Properties dot the islands, so you’ll want to look into which island fits your travel needs best, along with transportation costs. Due to exorbitant rates at the Six Senses Zil Pasyon (we’re talking 300,000+ points per night), we’re excluding IHG One from our round-up. We want to highlight hotels that are accessible with points and unfortunately, more people won’t be able to earn 300,000+ points easily.
Here’s a look at Seychelles hotels you can book with points across different chains:
Hilton currently has four hotels in the Seychelles, with two more in the works. Hilton no longer releases an award chart, but you can use the calendar function to find the cheapest rates year-round. A free night at one of these Hilton Seychelles properties ranges from 70,000 to 110,000 points for a standard award.
- DoubleTree by Hilton Seychelles - Allamanda Resort and Spa - King Grand Deluxe room with ocean view (from 70,000 points per night)
- Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa - King Garden Villa (90,000 points per night)
- Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa - King Sunset Villa (95,000 points per night)
- Mango House Seychelles, LXR Hotels & Resorts - King Deluxe Room (110,000 points per night)
You'll receive the fifth night free on point bookings if you’re a Hilton Silver elite member or higher. Booking consecutive nights is a great way to save points and you can get this status with the no-annual-fee Hilton Honors Credit Card. Alternatively, you could redeem an annual free night award issued by a Hilton credit card at one of these hotels.
How to earn Hilton points
You can earn enough Hilton points for a Seychelles hotel relatively easily. American Express Membership Rewards is a 1:2 transfer partner of Hilton Honors. However, you’re better off saving those points for flights and accruing Hilton points through a co-branded credit card:
- Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card*: Earn 180,000 points after you spend $6,000 in the first six months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card*: Earn 170,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first six months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Business Card*: Earn 130,000 points after spending $3,000 in the first three months of card membership.
- Hilton Honors American Express Card*: Earn 100,000 points after spending $2,000 in the first six months of card membership.
Marriott currently has two hotels in the Seychelles, though only one can be booked with points. The Laïla Seychelles offers poolside deluxe rooms starting at just 50,000 points per night. This boutique resort is in Anse Royale (King’s Bay), providing 84 rooms for a private island getaway feel.
For an actual private island experience, look no further than North Island, a Luxury Collection Resort. The property has eleven villas and is about as exclusive as it gets. North Island joined the Marriott Bonvoy program several years ago, but award space is extremely limited. Though reports indicate that rooms can cost over 300,000 Marriott points per night, the Marriott calendar shows no availability through next year.
Regardless of which Marriott Seychelles property you book, all Bonvoy members get the fifth night free on consecutive night booking using points.
How to earn Marriott points
Marriott points are pretty attainable, thanks to 1:1 transfer partnerships with Amex Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. In addition, Marriott has six co-branded credit cards offering substantial welcome bonuses you can apply towards free nights:
- Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express Card®*: Earn 95,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new card to make $6,000 in purchases within the first six months of Card Membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card*: Earn 85,000 Marriott Bonvoy bonus points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases within the first six months of card Membership.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bountiful Card: 85,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card*: Earn three Free Night Awards after you use your new card to make $6,000 in eligible purchases within the first six months of Card Membership. Redemption level up to 50,000 Marriott Bonvoy® points for each bonus Free Night Award, at hotels participating in Marriott Bonvoy®. Certain hotels have resort fees.
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card: Earn Three Free Night Awards (each night valued up to 50,000 points) after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first three months from your account opening.
- Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card: Earn 30,000 points after using your card to spend $1,000 on eligible purchases in the first six months from account opening.
World of Hyatt
The L'Escale Resort Marina & Spa is the only Hyatt hotel in the Seychelles, offering mountain view rooms starting from 35,000 points per night. It’s a downright bargain compared to other hotel chains, especially considering this waterfront retreat offers luxury amenities in a tranquil setting perfect for relaxation and adventure.
How to earn Hyatt points
You can earn points for a stay at the L'Escale Resort Marina & Spa by transferring them 1:1 from Bilt Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you’re short on points, you can earn them from one of these Hyatt credit cards:
- World of Hyatt Credit Card: Earn 30,000 Bonus Points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. Plus, up to 30,000 more bonus points by earning 2 bonus points total per $1 spent in the first 6 months from account opening on purchases that normally earn 1 bonus point, on up to $15,000 spent.
- World of Hyatt Business Credit Card: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $5,000 in your first three months from account opening.
Activities and ground transportation
There are lots of other expenses to consider when setting your budget with points and miles. You’ll need to factor in transportation between Mahé Island (i.e., where you land) and your resort. You’ll also want to consider the cost of meals, tours and activities. All of these can add up, especially if you’re staying at a more remote resort – they’re notorious for hiking up prices for everything since they have a captive audience.
You can redeem points towards many of these expenses by charging them to your credit card. For example, the Capital One Venture and Capital One Venture X cards allow you to redeem one cent per mile towards any travel purchase – you should charge your meals and activities to the hotel and then use your card at checkout to ensure it gets coded as a qualifying travel expense.
If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve®, you can book tours and activities through the Ultimate Rewards Travel portal and then redeem points at a fixed rate. Sapphire Preferred cardholders can redeem points at 1.25 cents each, while Sapphire Reserve points are worth 1.5 cents each.
Traveling to the Seychelles with points and miles can be a cost-effective way to experience this paradise island. By understanding airline reward programs and leveraging the right credit cards, you can redeem your points for most travel expenses and have leftover cash to play with. Best of all, the above-mentioned travel rewards cards can save you foreign transaction fees and provide added travel protections. It’s a win-win!
*Terms apply to American Express benefits and offers. Enrollment may be required for select American Express benefits and offers. Visit americanexpress.com to learn more.
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.