Eric Stoen wanted to find a creative and fun way to get from one island in Seychelles to the next during a round-the-world trip with his 10-year-old son. Going by helicopter sounded pretty cool, so he used points from the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card to pay for the experience.
Name: Eric Stoen
Occupation: Travel writer
Residence: Los Angeles
Route: A helicopter ride from Mahé, Seychelles to Félicité Island, Seychelles
Dates of travel: July 2018
Airline: Zil Air
Q: Did you visit a lounge at the airport?
A: No. We transferred directly from the Mahé airport to the Zil Air helipad just a few minutes down the road.
Q: Did you travel alone or with someone?
A: I was with my 10-year-old son. I was traveling around the world with my son over summer vacation. There are two options from Mahé to get to Six Senses Zil Pasyon (our hotel) on Félicité Island: A short flight, a drive and a boat or a quick helicopter ride. I thought traveling by helicopter sounded pretty cool.
The credit card
Q: What card/loyalty program did you use to get a free trip?
Q: How long were you a cardholder at that time?
A: One year.
Q: How long were you planning/saving for this trip?
A: We started our around-the-world planning in January 2018 and had a final itinerary booked by March 2018.
Q: What’s your favorite perk of this card/program?
A: A helicopter ride in Seychelles isn’t bookable through an airline’s frequent flyer program, so we applied Capital One Venture miles to expense the trip after booking through our destination hotel, Six Senses Zil Pasyon.
Redemption and booking
Q: Did you take advantage of promotions while earning points for this trip?
A: Yes. We booked almost all of the hotels during our trip, and over the course of the year, through Hotels.com to get 10 miles for every $1 spent on those stays. (Note: This offer expired in January 2020.)
Q: How did you book?
A: I booked the Zil Air flight directly through Six Senses Zil Pasyon, and then went onto Capital One’s website to apply my miles to the purchase.
Q: How many miles did this cost?
A: The charge was $1,146.66, so 114,666 miles.
Q: Did you book in conjunction with a promotion or deal?
A: No, it was standard pricing.
Q: Any surprises or hassles?
A: No. It was a fast flight, but extraordinarily fun. No chance for upgrades, but we had a great view from directly behind the pilots.
What’s your next travel rewards goal?
I have a hotel credit in Dubrovnik, Croatia, that I need to use before April 2019, and I’d love to use airline miles for the trip.
Photo via Eric Stoen.
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NerdWallet’s guide to the best airline and hotel loyalty programs
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