How I got 7 nights in the Seychelles using Hilton points

Introduction

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.

 

Which hotel?

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.

 

Conclusion

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.

  • John Gibson

    You get the 5th night free with Hilton Amex even if you use hhonors points?

    Also, did you do reward stays at Intercontinental Bora Bora? – I couldn’t find any dates that allowed rewards nights.

    • Miles per Day

      Yes, you get the 5th night free with the Hilton AMEX (it may be a regular Hilton “offer” though; I can’t recall.) I was at the IC Bora Bora 3 years ago when there was plenty of rooms open.

      • John Gibson

        Thanks for the reply. Probably going to use your strategy for Hilton hotels in Japan next spring.

  • Derek

    I just stayed at the Hilton Northolme in Seychelles two weeks ago for my honeymoon. I enjoyed the view from the room and a tour of the city but after a few days I was ready to go. We only spent 3 days there which was really enough for us. The free breakfast from my Hilton status really came in handy and despite what I had originally heard the taxis were inexpensive. Enjoy your trip.

    • Miles per Day

      Ah thanks Derek. Do you remember how much the taxi was to he hotel? I pre-arranged a ride from the Hilton for 65EUR but could cancel.

      • Derek

        Sorry for the delay, think I paid around 40 Euros each way through Green Path Transfers.

  • David

    I had never heard of the Seychelles before that episode of LOST where Sayid shot the guy at the golf course that was supposedly in the Seychelles.

    • Miles per Day

      Oh man I watched that entire series but don’t remember that scene. Good memory.

  • YO

    Stop calling it the f’ing “hobby”. Who are you? Are you writing under a pseudonym and your real name is Ben?

    • Miles per Day

      If you can come up with a better term, I’ll use it from now on.

      • YO

        I call it a game (which you did above as well), though many others just call it work 🙂

        • Miles per Day

          Noted.

  • Ryan

    I’ve got our trip to Seychelles booked for next June. I’ve secured the flights but haven’t pulled the trigger on hotels yet. I was considering signing my wife and I up for a combo of Hilton cards to get the points required, but w/ Amex one per lifetime, I kind of want to hold out for somewhere like Tahiti or if we go back to the Maldives.

    Please post about the trip when you get back, it really is hard to find a ton of info on Seychelles. Since you’ve been to the Maldives and Bora Bora, I’m looking forward to your comparisons. I think your number of 10% of people ever hearing of Seychelles. I may have even found less than 10% of people I’ve told about it had any clue where it was!

    • Miles per Day

      Will do. So far, I think it’ll be Bora Bora > Maldives > Seychelles, but we’ll see. For BB and Maldives, you’re paying for the $500 seaplane already, but I find BB to be a bit prettier (maybe due to the mountain) and you can go “off resort” assuming you’re staying at the Intercontinental.