Last Updated on September 15, 2020 by Jeremy
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The Seychelles has a reputation for being one of the most expensive destinations in the world, and is one that is rightfully earned.
While you can visit the Seychelles without spending a lot of money, even if the most frugal of cases a couple will still have to have a rather modest budget of upwards of $5,000 for two weeks (including airfare).
We went for the more opulent route for our trip and went on a 12-day Seychelles vacation that cost just under $13,000.
But we didn't pay $13,000. Our out of pocket costs for this paradise vacation was just $3,138.
So, how'd we do it? Points!
A Seychelles Vacation is Perfect for Points
We are avid travel hackers, and publish a number of articles on this site about how we travel for free with credit cards.
When coupled with Angie's near weekly travels for her day job (including a status to match), we collect points like they are candy (to the tune of about 1,000,000 a year across many programs).
When it comes time to spending these points, we have a simple requirement: to go to the furthest, most expensive destinations possible.
Naturally, the Seychelles popped up in our research as a solid contender, and it didn't take long before we began booking.
Our points redemption plan for this trip was the following:
- Airfare from Pittsburgh to Seychelles on United: 160,000 points, $212 USD in fees ($2,076 value)
- Hilton Mahe: 3 nights for 285,000 points ($2,145 value)
- Hilton Silhouette: 3 nights for two weekend certificates and 80,000 points ($2,700 value)
- Le Relax Lodge on La Digue: 2 nights for 45,000 Chase points ($678 value)
- Dhevatara Beach Hotel on Praslin: 4 nights for 90,000 Chase points ($1,356 value)
Thanks to Angie's Diamond status with Hilton (and a well-timed email), we were upgraded to an ocean view bungalow at the Hilton Mahe and a hillside villa with plunge pool at the Silhouette- two significantly more expensive rooms at no out of pocket different to us.
Neither of these were the most expensive rooms available, but we have to admit, the Silhouette villa was probably better than the comparable ocean front rooms as they were much more private!
For airfare, we averaged well over a penny per point. For hotels we were above and below depending on the property. In any case, when you factor in the credit card fees for associated credit cards like the Chase United, American Express Hilton we used to acquire our points (~$300 per person after perks).
- For more of the best travel reward credit cards, click the previous link or apply directly at the links above (US only).
Going beyond just the base points spending, many of the hotels also gave us some pretty sweet perks either automatically (Dhevatara and Le Relax) or thanks to Angie's Hilton diamond status, including the following that we actually used:
- Hilton Mahe gave us a few complimentary cocktails, a bottle of wine, a premium gift soap, and a fruit basket.
- Hilton Silhouette gave us all day happy hour on Thursday, 15% off on the spa, and a free kayak rental.
- Le Relax Lodge gave us free bicycles for use during our stay.
- Dhevatara Beach Hotel included 15% off all food.
I am likely missing a few things, but aside from pretty awesome rooms and upgrades, we also got several hundred dollars in benefits as well- all for just over $200 in airline fees, 660,000 points, and two weekend certificates.
Where Our $3,138 Was Spent in the Seychelles
Now, you can't just have a vacation on airfare and rooms alone, as if you want to enjoy the destination you'll have plenty of spending, which for us included the following (roughly):
- Car Rentals: $350
- Sight Seeing: $660
- Transfers and Ferries: $650
- Food: $1,100
- Souvenirs: $175
- Airfare Fees: $212
In the above spending we were able to rent a car for seven days and explore any Seychelles beach we wanted on Mahe and Praslin, took a day trip to the islands of Felicitie, Coco, and Cureious, I went scuba diving once, bought many bottles of rum to enjoy both while on the islands and at home, and ate out for every meal wherever we wanted (with many drinks as well)!
In fact, our three day visit to the Hilton Labriz on Silhouette island contributed nearly $900 of our spending as the ferries were inflated ($300), we got a couples massage ($230), and we were beholden to eat at the resort each night ($300) as no other food options exist on the island.
Yes, over 25% of our spending was due to visiting this one premium spot that we selected because of our points.
Had we stayed elsewhere, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that we could have done 12 days for just $2,500 or even less.
We just decided not to hold back once we arrived.
It is entirely possible to visit this island nation for much cheaper and still see mostly the same things (except Silhouette Island), but there are also a lot of trade-offs you'll have to make including a significant reduction in accommodation quality and swapping out several nice meals for eating at takeaway restaurants.
We did none of those things, and thankfully got the vast majority of our big ticket items covered by points.
After thinking about it for quite some time, we realized that this Seychelles trip was probably the cheapest international vacation we've ever gone on together.
Let that one sink in for a moment.
The most expensive vacation we've ever been on was the cheapest out of pocket for us, and it was all because of points!
So, when are you going?
- For a complete breakdown of our daily spending outside of the points redemption plan above, click here.
Looking to book a room in Seychelles? Check out these great options!
About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.