I had written about my trip the Seychelles a long time ago, and it’s finally coming up. I’ve already been to Tahiti/Bora Bora and the Maldives, so it’ll be good to compare and contrast the 3 locations. I can already tell you that only 10% of people have actually heard of it. Every one outside the hobby has no idea where it is, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have known either before I started the hobby.
For most of my award bookings, I usually find the customer the flights that they want, and not many people ask for hotel recommendations since that’s easily searchable online. So let me walk through my thought process on why I chose the hotels that I did for the Seychelles.
I didn’t even consider Airbnb for this trip because I want to be pampered. I want a buffet breakfast and a nicely made bed at night. I realize you can get the same thing at Airbnb, but that costs cash whereas I prefer points (else why even play the game.)
I used Awardmapper.com to find the hotels there. My first choice would have been Hyatt since I still have Diamond status for this year, but there’s no Hyatt there. My second choice was Hilton because once again, I have Diamond status there as well. Even if I only had Gold, I’d still pick them purely for the free breakfast. I didn’t even consider an SPG property since I don’t have Platinum and thus no breakfast. Didn’t even bother to look at IHG or any others after that to be honest.
From 0 points to 7 nights at Hilton
At the time, I had written:
Regardless, since we’ll be there for 7 nights, I’m going to use an AMEX Hilton card to book 4 nights and get the 5th night free. That will cost me 70K * 4 = 280K HH points. I’ll then book 2 nights at the Northolme for 80K per night, so 160K total. This means I’ll need 440K HH points, and I currently have ZERO points. This will mean lots of grocery spend!
Credit cards to the rescue
Of course this only works with an SSN that hasn’t churned all the cards, which is probably targeted more towards my Facebook friends than longtime readers. I picked up the Citi Hilton Reserve card for my wife which got us the 2 free weekend nights at the Northolme. Luckily, I had planned the trip to where we’d land on a weekend versus mid week, so there was a method to my madness. For the 280K points, I signed her up for the regular Citi Hilton (75K), AMEX Hilton Surpass (100K), and normal AMEX Hilton (75K) for a total of 250K points. I then MS’ed $5,000 at grocery stores on the Surpass to give me the last 30K Hilton points. And that’s that. The AMEX Surpass will give you Gold status which is good for free breakfast.
I realize I’m oversimplifying the process, but if there is a Hilton at the destination you’re going to, you can use a similar strategy. These 4 credit card signups will get me let’s call it ~$2000 in value. If you already have some of the cards, then sorry, you’re just going to have to MS the shit out of grocery stores until you get 280K points. Even then, it might not be worth it.