Monday, 5 January 2015

Battle Of The Aspirational Points And Miles Vacations: Maldives vs. Seychelles

by | Jan 5, 2015
The beauty of points and miles is that each person uses them in a way that’s best for them. For some that’s free domestic flights, for others it’s international Economy flights, and for some it may even be gift cards.
My preferred method for cashing in points and miles? I reserve them for aspirational vacations that give me access to First Class flights and amazing hotel rooms that I wouldn’t normally pay for.
If you took a poll of like-minded people who redeem points and miles for aspirational trips, I’d imagine that of all the destinations in the world, in some order the Maldives, Seychelles, and Bora Bora would be among the top 3. While I’ve yet to visit Bora Bora, I’ve been fortunate to visit the Maldives twice as well as the Seychelles.
That by no means makes me an expert, but it does give me enough background to make a head-to-head comparison of the two. Keep in mind that I’ll be primarily looking at these destinations through the lens of points and miles – in other words, how easy is it to use those hard-earned points and miles to vacation like royalty, and most importantly, for pennies on the dollar. However, I will also touch on transportation and food costs, since those can add up very quickly in these expensive destinations.
For each category I’ll be giving a score out of 5, with 5 being the highest. Let’s see how they stack up:

Redeeming Miles For Flights

Maldives (4/5)

Even though the Maldives may seem like it’s in the “middle of nowhere”, there sure are a lot of ways to redeem miles to get there:
  • Star Alliance: Singapore Airlines via SIN, Turkish Airlines via IST
  • One World: British Airways via LGW, Cathay Pacific via HKG, Malaysia Airlines via KUL, Qatar Airways via DOH, Sri Lankan Airlines via CMB
  • SkyTeam: China Southern via CAN, Korean Air via ICN/CMB
  • Other: Emirates via DXB, Etihad via AUH, Oman Air via MCT
There are multiple options within each alliance, and even bonus options which include Etihad and Emirates. The reason that I’m not giving a perfect score is due to availability, which can be extremely tough to come by. If you have the luxury of planning in advance, I’d highly recommend booking your tickets as soon as the booking window opens roughly 11 months in advance.
Personally, I have used miles to book Singapore Airlines via SIN and Korean Air via ICN/CMB. The legs to/from MLE are actually quite easy to get, and its actually the long-haul international flights that can be troublesome. Here are a couple tips that may help – travel during low season (May through November) or fly to Colombo, Sri Lanka (CMB) and purchase a separate ~$100 ticket to the Maldives on Sri Lankan Airlines.

Seychelles (2/5)

While the flight time from North America to the Seychelles is similar to that of the Maldives, there are way fewer options:
  • Star Alliance: South African Airways via JNB
  • One World: N/A
  • SkyTeam: Kenya Airways via NBO
  • Other: Air Seychelles, Emirates via DXB, Etihad via AUH
Both the South African Airways and Kenya Airways options will result in at least 2-3 connections from North America, and it’s extremely rare to find availability. While Air Seychelles is partners with Etihad, unfortunately it is not bookable using American Airlines miles.
On the bright side, award availability via Emirates and Etihad is actually quite good, even in premium cabins. So stock up on those Alaska Airlines and American Airlines miles, respectively, if you’d like those options to be available to you. Or better yet, Korean Air gives you access to both.

Redeeming Points For Hotels

Maldives (5/5)

There are countless 5-star hotels in the Maldives, and for the most part each one is located on its own island. That’s part of the beauty and the allure of the Maldives, you’re literally on an island separated from the rest of the world. Here are the hotel properties available for point redemptions across the major hotel chains:
  • Club Carlson: Radisson Blu Maldives Hulhumale (opening July 2015)
  • Hilton: Conrad Maldives Rangali Island
  • Hyatt: Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa
  • IHG: Holiday Inn Kandooma Maldives
  • Marriott: N/A
  • Starwood: Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, W Retreat & Spa
It’s worth noting that none of them are located on Male Island where the airport is, and where many people end up spending a night due to late arriving flights.

Seychelles (2/5)

Hilton is the king of the chains in the Seychelles with 3 properties. Two of them, DoubleTree Allamanda and Hilton Northolme, are located on Mahe Island, and the 3rd, Hilton Labriz, is located on Silhouette Island. To get there, an additional boat or helicopter transfer is required from Mahe.
  • Club Carlson: N/A
  • Hilton: DoubleTree Resort & Spa Allamanda, Hilton Seychelles Labriz Resort & Spa, Hilton Seychelles Northolme Resort & Spa
  • Hyatt: N/A
  • IHG: N/A
  • Marriott: N/A
  • Starwood: Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove
Starwood enthusiasts are in luck as the Le Meridien Fisherman’s Cove provides another chain option on Mahe.
Keep in mind that the Seychelles is all about island hopping, and you will likely spend multiple nights away from Mahe on Praslin and/or La Digue, and neither of those islands have any chain hotel options available.

Transportation

Maldives (3/5)

Transportation in the Maldives isn’t very frequent, and in fact, you’ll probably just need it twice to and from the airport to your resort. However, it’s really expensive, with boat or seaplanes transfers routinely costing upwards of $500 per person, depending on the resort.

Seychelles (2/5)

Transportation in the Seychelles is not only extremely expensive, it was one of the most logistically-challenging trips I’ve ever had to plan. Even though we saved some money by renting a car, driving in the Seychelles can be down-right scary. If you choose to travel by taxi, daily rentals will cost upwards of $300, or $100+ for transfers to/from the airport. You’ll also need to budget for the cost of transfers between Mahe and Praslin, and island-hopping excursions around Praslin typically cost several hundred dollars.

Food

Maldives (3/5)

Keep in mind here that I’m not rating the quality of the food in the Maldives as a 3 out of 5, but rather the value. The food is actually ridiculously delicious, but be prepared to pay 3-4x what you’d normally pay at a restaurant back home.
Not interested? Well, unless you’re able to catch a fish in the ocean and cook it in your room, or have smuggled enough snacks from the lounge to eat throughout your stay, there aren’t exactly any other options.

Seychelles (4/5)

While we found the food in the Seychelles to be rather mediocre in general, at least there were options outside of the hotel. We ate at the hotels for roughly half of our meals, and for the other half enjoyed exploring the towns and cute roadside cafes. Having that option is really nice, since the prices were typically 50%-70% lower than at the resort.

Overall Points and Miles Vacation Rankings

Maldives (15/20)

Seychelles (10/20)


It looks like the Maldives wins in a landslide. Again, I’m not claiming that the Maldives is much better than the Seychelles as a vacation destination, but rather that it’s a better place to use your points and miles to vacation, and to significantly subsidize costs.
For those that have been to Bora Bora or French Polynesia, I’d be interested in hearing how it stacks up against the Maldives and Seychelles.

http://hungryforpoints.boardingarea.com/2015/01/battle-of-the-aspirational-points-and-miles-vacations-maldives-vs-seychelles/

12 comments:

  1. Often royalty program is easy to signed up to,difficult to deal with confusing contracts.It value lies in the effectiveness ability to collect accurate and useful data about the program opinion.It is definitely a very careful plotted out mind game.

    Maldivies excel Seychelles though by a small margine because of the quality of its genral contracts that is between Airlines companies,hotels,carhiress, etc..... there is a real cooperation between the diffrrent businesses that make its more effective and interesting for customers.And that is in fact the idea behind Royalty program..namely togive customers an incentive to purchase again and again from your business,as well as their business up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

    An Alternative to traditional program--is one that develop a cycle of communication touch points sent over a period of time can often extend the same benefits to consumers along several additional ones.


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  2. Mr Chan you right,seychelles istoo expensive,and tourists in general express the same view.It is also true,that Seychelles because on its uniqueness ,a destnation for romanance,and an epitome of romantic luxury has always been an expensive destination.Hence,it could be argued ..if it is too expensive ,that is f also a way of saying ,Seychelles targeted for certain standard of tourists .i.e a high end market.

    In the tourists point of view,i the perception is...t is too expensive,because in many cases that what they paying are not luxury accommodation.

    What makes seychelles toooo expensive is the horrifying government charge,a whole load of taxes/fees ,which are pain in the ass to pay .For every night spend in the Seychelles,you will be looking it,a tax .too dig dependency on lmports ,which hikes final price,plus even some unhustified price on products made locally, such a soft drinks...Beer,etc..which often cost the same price of inported alcohol for instance.
    GOVERNMENT,,is reminded of the longstanding need to explore means to change this perception,especially as it face now challenges in the growth in non~European market,while lack of connectivity(discrease in arrivalscfrom Europe drop.
    While we want Seychelles to stay a unique destination,not a mass tourism destination,the solution must be a reduction on taxes,,to make it more price intersting for tourists like Mr Chan,but i.stead of building more hotels.....which would produce mass tourism....Seychelles government move towards developing mid~maket tourism for dudget travelers.That can be done by developing Off Season Tourism.....which would provide value for money for many low budget travelers,thus affordadility for more tourists to visit Seychelles.An off season tourism development means for a traveler price reduction at all levels for the same products and service which are otherwise offered atchigher price.Off Season Tourism,would not only allow low budget tourists to come to visit us,but boost arrivals and extend our tourism season ,which would create more wealth for both tourism industry and government.To make it more affordable,thus less expensive,government should open its sky to.more charter airlines and airlines in general,competition and easy access to different airlines would reduce flghit cost for tourists,thus attract more tourists.Small and Medium hotels,guesthouses etc..should be also includes when offering tourists package..today package is,literally offer only by five star hotels,which help them having more guests than other smaller establishment who cannot afford to offer package.Making it possible for small and medium establishment to offer package as five star hotels,would give tourists choices ,which means choices in the type of accommodations that reflects theircfinancial possibility.This would attract .To do that government should facilitate negociation of those small establishments with tour operators,airlines...just as it does forcfive star airlines.Of course,a tourcoperator,which ptovide luxuroiuscservices to its clients,wonot be eager to do so...but this can be done by having new tour operators(offering already budget holidays to get involve.....internal loe budget tour operators...there are msny in Europe for instance).this would allow us to develop a parallel market,targeting another type of clients.


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  3. Je suis Charlie!!

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  4. R.I.P Charlie,i was never a fan of death penalty but countries around the world must think and should put back DEATH PENALTY on the head of JIHADIS terorists now they are starting killing peoples in day light in the streeets and office with AK-47 and coming rocket launcher in french capital.Three amateur living their ID behind.Christiens around the world must wake up and wake up quickly German seen three month they are rallling in front the Kathredal in Berlin TO SAY ISLAM ARE NOT IN THEIR CULTURE befor those Devils strike yesterday in Paris.

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  5. Ram dont think law change of electoral will make you be elected as President.When the last time you visit Seychellios peoples living in the Gehtoo and suffering every day.

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  6. Islamic terrorist commit acts tribal savagery in the name of Muhammad.The fact is there terrorist acts are harming Muhammad and hurting islam.it transcend of ignorance.Muhammad must be turning in his grave when he sees the actions of those fanatics turning from prophet to chief spiritual islamic terrorists.The final ritual before death is shutting Allah great,their wickedness make them believe when the shut out Allah is great ,Allah approve their sanatic acts.Did Allah told them he as our creator,is the only judge of mankinds.?

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  7. They are using religion for criminal act this have nothing with religion just uncivilize and unducated at home by thier parents and around the world million peoples born around the world are uneducated at home and uncivilize.

    Leaders around the world should sperate religion and politic.

    A none beleaver.

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  8. Having nothing to throw to the people--NATION article ask"what makes Seychelles endemic flora unique? I guess the answer is tacit and straight forward,it endemicity.

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  9. Je suis Charlie.. ,mais Seychellois sont aussi...."Je Suis Gerald Houreau"butchered by Pl..

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  10. Shock to see international community and African Union just watching what BOKO HARAM are doing in North Nigeria killing 3000 in a day and using Girls 10 years old to blow themself up now every one are just watching after they come like ISIS than they will scratch their heads and take action with out achiving nothing in the future.

    SHAME ON WORLD LEADERS.

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  11. PP and Michel,Far you see a pen is stronger than a AK-47. And that what you hijack 1977 freedom of expration..

    Charlie a Hero Gerald Houreau a Hero

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  12. It renains us why africa fail,and poor,because it is poorly manage by the less educatedGoodluck,nigerian thought would bring the good luck,but he show gross incompetency,and lack of leadership traits...... . Lawless has become the law in Nigeria under
    goodluck,....though one of the biggest army.in Africa endemic corrupt has ravaged he Nigerian army that it can not even protect a school in a village..

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