Trip Introduction: Zanzibar, Tanzania and Seychelles in East Africa via Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class


The countries of Eastern Africa have always been a little difficult to get to from my home in the Pacific Northwest in North America. While we had visited the Maasai Mara in Kenya in the past, the Islands of Tanzania and the Seychelles had always alluded me in the past. As a result of an upcoming Air Canada Aeroplan devaluation, we were able to get ourselves on a two week trip to East Africa on Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class.

Trip Introduction: Zanzibar, Tanzania and Seychelles in East Africa via Air Canada and Turkish Airlines Business Class

Trip Background:

The frequent flier world always changes and, in this travel chapter, it was the announcement in December 2017 that Air Canada would soon be severing its relationship with its then spun off frequent flier program Aeroplan. This likely meant that, at the worst, our points would be able to be redeemed for merchandise and economy class seating on any carrier. The horrors! We’d had a good run with Aeroplan, having redeemed about 1.2 million miles with them over the course of the years. At the time of this report, no bright future was in sight. Instead of having our points turned into toaster or appliance redemptions, we decided to burn off the majority of the points with two North America – Africa Business Class Awards valued at 150,000 Aeroplan points per person.

Airfare Planning:

Thanks to generous business class award space on Turkish Airlines, we booked departing from Vancouver across Canada to Toronto in Air Canada Business Class (in Air Canada’s Signature Class Boeing 787 long haul pods, connecting to Turkish Airlines down to Tanzania.

Our return was on an open jaw ticket departing from the Seychelles, re-tracing our steps through Istanbul, Turkey and onwards to Toronto, Canada back to our home city of Vancouver, Canada.

I was initially unable to get 2 business class seats on the Air Canada Vancouver – Toronto flights so I had booked into Premium Economy for this segment. I set Expert Flier seat alerts and fortunately, at the four month mark, 2 business reward seats opened up. I called in and had us moved up from Premium Economy to Business Class without charge.

Each ticket was 150,000 miles apiece for six flights in business class. Aeroplan doesn’t collect fuel surcharges for flights on Turkish Airlines so our taxes and fees per ticket were a reasonably low $197.41 CAD ($154 USD) per ticket. These tickets were booked at 5 months before travel with selective award availability.

Since this was an open jaw ticket arriving in Tanzania and departing from the Seychelles, we had to get ourselves in between the two countries. I noticed that Kenya Airways was flying in between Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Mahe, Seychelles via Nairobi, Kenya. The ticket was a surprisingly low base fare of $35 USD, a bargain basement price for a one way international fare. With taxes and fees, the ticket came to $160 USD each. We didn’t bother with a business class ticket coming in at $600 USD per person on this route. We didn’t need the extra baggage allowance thanks to several propeller plane rides throughout the trip, and our ability to access lounges on this intra Africa trip was limited with only a 50 minute connection in Nairobi.

Our Return Trip Looked Like This

Hotel Planning:

The Marriott Bonvoy hotel chain did not have a huge presence in Dar Es Sallam, Tanzania or in Mahe or Praslin of Seychelles. As a result of this, we defected to Hyatt for a large portion of this trip. Using their World of Hyatt (previously Hyatt Gold Passport), we redeemed Cash and Points Rates in order to save on hotels for our African stays.

We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Dar Es Salaam – The Kilimanjaro in Dar Es Sallam, Tanzania. It’s prominent waterfront location was an easy choice. We also stayed at the over the top Park Hyatt Zanzibar situated in Stonetown, Zanzibar. Both of these were booked on a Cash and Points rate.

This post is one chapter on our trip to the Republic of Tanzania and the Islands of the Seychelles. This trip was redeemed through Air Canada’s Aeroplan and enhanced through World of Hyatt and Marriott Bonvoy Elite Status. For more information on how this trip was booked, please see our trip introduction here. For other parts of the trip, please see this index.

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