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Earlier I shared how I’m going to the Seychelles and redeemed miles for a one-way business class ticket on Air Seychelles. In this post I wanted to outline what that process was like, for anyone looking to redeem miles on Air Seychelles.
Where does Air Seychelles fly?
Air Seychelles is a fairly small airline, with just 10 planes — they have two A330s, two A320s, and six DHC-6 Twin Otters. In other words, they only have four planes operating international routes.
Air Seychelles’ international destinations include:
- Abu Dhabi, UAE
- Antananarivo, Madagascar
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Mumbai, India
- Paris, France
- Port Louis, Mauritius
The only destination to which they consistently fly A330s is Paris, though they also occasionally fly them to Johannesburg, Mumbai, Port Louis, etc.
Air Seychelles A330 (photo courtesy Pvalmont)
What program lets you redeem miles for Air Seychelles?
Air Seychelles is an Etihad Airways Partner, and they use the Etihad Guest program as their loyalty program. This means that you can redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel on Air Seychelles.
How many miles do Air Seychelles awards cost?
Etihad Guest’s award chart for Air Seychelles has different pricing for each destination, as follows:
The above pricing is roundtrip, though you’re able to book one-way awards for half the cost of a roundtrip. In other words, a one-way business class redemption to Abu Dhabi would cost 25,916 miles, a one-way business class redemption to Paris would cost 62,836 miles, etc.
I’d say these award prices are competitive, though not exceptionally good.
How good is Air Seychelles award availability?
Award availability on Air Seychelles, especially in business class, is excellent. Almost all flights seem to have at least two business class award seats, regardless of whether you’re booking close to departure or far in advance. Some even have more award seats than that, even way in advance.
Keep in mind Air Seychelles has pretty intimate premium cabins. The A330 has just 18 business class seats, so it’s impressive that they have this much award space.
The best place to search award availability is through ExpertFlyer, which is a subscription service. Otherwise the best way to inquire about space is to phone up Etihad Guest.
How do you book Air Seychelles award availability?
Best I can tell, Air Seychelles doesn’t let you search award availability directly through their website, and Etihad Guest doesn’t display partner award availability on their website. So to redeem Etihad Guest miles for travel on Air Seychelles you’ll have to phone up Etihad Guest (they’re available 24/7 at 877-690-0767). The good news is that the agents are generally quite competent, and of the few calls I made to inquire about award availability, every agent found space that matched what ExpertFlyer saw.
When I actually made the booking, the entire call took about 20 minutes, which I thought was pretty good. So while it’s annoying to have to call, at least it’s a fairly straightforward process.
How high are the fees when redeeming on Air Seychelles?
Etihad Guest will pass on everything except the base fare when redeeming on Air Seychelles. The easiest way to figure out how much you’d pay in fees is to do a “dummy booking” on ITA Matrix (just pretend you’re making a cash booking on the flight you’re looking at). When you get to the final page look at all the taxes and fees, and you can expect to pay everything except the base fare. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is that the carrier imposed surcharges (often referred to as fuel surcharges) are higher on flights to the Seychelles than on flights from the Seychelles.
For example, from the Seychelles to Paris you’d pay a total of $49.50 in taxes and fees for a business class award.
Meanwhile from Paris to the Seychelles you’d pay a total of $315.14 in taxes, $202.90 of which is a carrier imposed surcharge.
This matches what I was quoted when calling Etihad, and it seems like the pattern of fees being higher for travel originating outside of the Seychelles is pretty consistent. So if you’re just going to redeem miles for travel on Air Seychelles in one direction, ideally redeem for flights from the Seychelles, rather than the other way around.
How can you earn Etihad Guest miles?
Etihad Guest is transfer partners with Amex Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood Preferred Guest, so there are lots of ways to transfer over points that can be used for these kinds of redemptions.
That means you can use points earned on cards like the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express, The Platinum Card® from American Express, The Business Platinum® Card from American Express, American Express® Gold Card, The Business Gold Rewards Card from American Express OPEN, etc.
Is Air Seychelles’ business class any good?
I’ll be able to give a better answer once I fly them in a few months, though it looks like they have a decent enough business class product. Air Seychelles’ A330s feature fully flat seats in business class, though they’re in a 2-2-2 configuration, so there’s not direct aisle access from every seat. On the plus side, the cabin has only 18 seats, so it’s pretty private. Air Seychelles’ A330s also have wifi.
Overall there just isn’t that much competition in their markets, so in many cases this will be the best option for getting to the Seychelles.
Air Seychelles A330 business class
Redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Air Seychelles is a solid value, and it’s great how wide open award availability is. It’s also quite easy to acquire Etihad Guest miles due to how many partners they have, though you do have to book by phone, which is a bit of a pain. Other than that, I consider redeeming Etihad Guest miles on Air Seychelles to be a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what their onboard product is like.