Milecards

Advertiser Disclosure

How to fly to Tahiti (and Bora Bora) with miles

by on Wed July 12, 2017 • 4 Comments
Google+TwitterFacebookEmailLinkedIn

tahitibungalow

Tahiti, and its French Polynesia neighbor island Bora Bora are near the top of any exotic honeymoon bucket list.

Getting there isn’t cheap, and you’ll usually pay well over $1,000 for a ticket, so saving up miles can be a big money saver that lets you spend more on an overwater bunglaow.

If you want to fly direct from the U.S., you have three options to Papeete, the international airport in Tahiti:

  • Los Angeles – Papeete on Air Tahiti Nui (use American AAdvantage or Delta SkyMiles)
  • Honolulu – Papeete on Hawaiian Airlines (use Hawaiian Miles or Korean Skypass)
  • Los Angeles – Papeete on Air France (use Air France Flying Blue, Korean Skypass, Delta SkyMiles, or Alaska MileagePlan)

From there you can get to Bora Bora with a quick flight on Air Tahiti, but Air Tahiti isn’t part of any mileage program, so you’ll have to book that ticket with cash or points that turn into cash for travel. Tickets usually run around $350 roundtrip.

Award space on all flight options to Tahiti is relatively difficult, so you’re going to have to search several options.

You can search for space on Air France flights by setting up a free account on the Air France website. Hawaiian space can be found on Hawaiian’s website, which also involves setting up a free account.

Air Tahiti Nui space can be verified by calling American Airlines or using ExpertFlyer.com, a paid service.

Best bets with Chase, Amex, or Citi Points

Chase Ultimate Rewards

Chase Ultimate Rewards points can be used to book flights on both Air France and Air New Zealand.

Book With… Fly With… Economy Price (Round Trip) Business Class Price (Round Trip) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
United MileagePlus Air New Zealand 70,000 150,000 1:1 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer Air New Zealand 110,000 195,000 1:1 Within 2 business days
Korean SKYPASS* Air France 60,000 90,000 1:1 Instant
Korean SKYPASS Hawaiian 60,000 (from Hawaii) 90,000 (from Hawaii) 1:1 Instant
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Air France 60,000 150,000 1:1 Instant
British Airways Avios LATAM 110,000+ 330,000+ 1:1 Instant


The most direct option with Chase points is to fly Air France using Korean SkyPass miles for 60,000 miles in Economy and 90,000 miles for Business Class.

Keep in mind, Korean has a policy that you are only allowed to redeem miles for immediate family members, and you will be required to prove your relation to someone you are booking for (i.e. marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc.). It’s not as bad as it sounds though; you can find out everything you need to know about Korean SKYPASS in our full guide

Also expect to pay about $450 in fuel surcharges roundtrip when flying Air France Business Class to Tahiti, whether you use Korean or Air France miles, and finding award space is spotty. If you want to fly in Economy, fuel surcharges will be a much more reasonable $100 or so.

airfranceaward

United MileagePlus and Singapore KrisFlyer miles can be used to book flights on Air New Zealand, but finding award space is tough given you have to fly through Auckland and the Auckland to Papeete flight runs only 2 or 3 times a week.

If you can score it though, United will let you book a free stopover in New Zealand as part of its Excursionist Perk program.

British Airways Avios can be used to book flights on LATAM through Santiago. British Airways has a distance based award chart, so pricing is dependent on how long your flights are and how many segments you have.

American Express Membership Rewards

Amex Membership Rewards points present even more options for booking flights to Tahiti. Note that some of these airline programs are also transfer partners for Chase, so they provide the opportunity to pool points into the same program if you wouldn’t otherwise have enough. 

Book with… Fly with… Economy Price (Round Trip) Business Class Price (Round Trip) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
ANA Mileage Club Air New Zealand 75,000 120,000 1:1 2-3 Days
Asia Miles (LAX – AKL – PPT) Air New Zealand 90,000 145,000 1:1 ~1 Day
Air Canada Aeroplan Air New Zealand 90,000 160,000 1:1 Instant
Singapore KrisFlyer Air New Zealand 110,000 195,000 1:1 12-24 Hours
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Air France 60,000 150,000 1:1 Instant
Delta SkyMiles Air France, Air Tahiti Nui
110,000+ 230,000+ 1:1 Instant
British Airways Avios LATAM 110,000+ 330,000+ 1:1 Instant
HawaiianMiles Hawaiian 95,000 175,000 1:1 Instant

Air France / KLM Flying Blue and Delta SkyMiles can both be used for flights on Air France. While Flying Blue charges you the $100 or so in fuel surcharges in Economy and $450 in Business Class,  you’ll pay about half the number of miles compared to Delta SkyMiles, so you’re better off booking with Flying Blue. Delta miles do let you book Air Tahiti Nui flights though, giving you more award space options.

ANA, Asia Miles, Air Canada, and Singapore KrisFlyer miles can all be used to book flights on Air New Zealand, if you can manage to find space down to Auckland.

British Airways Avios can be used to book flights on LATAM through Easter Island. British Airways also has a distance based award chart, so pricing is dependent on how long your flights are and how many segments you have. If this is the way you are set on going, transferring Chase points presents better value than transferring Membership Rewards points

Citi ThankYou Points

If you have only Citi ThankYou points, all of the options are on the expensive side except for Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles and Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles.

Book with… Fly with… Economy Price (Round Trip) Business Price (Round Trip) Transfer Ratio Transfer Time
Asia Miles (LAX – AKL – PPT) Air New Zealand 90,000 145,000+ 1:1 1 Day
Singapore KrisFlyer Air New Zealand 110,000 195,000 1:1 2 Days
Air France/KLM Flying Blue Air France 60,000 150,000 1:1 2 Days
Malaysia Airlines Enrich Miles LATAM 54,000 96,000 1:1 2 Days

Malaysia Airlines award redemption process isn’t well known, and you will still have to pay fuel surcharges. Pair that with an unknown transfer time and you might be better off spending extra miles to book with Air France, especially if you are booking in Economy.

Alaska MileagePlan Miles

Alaska Airlines MileagePlan presents good value redemptions as long as you can find the award space and actually get your hands on Alaska Airlines miles.

Alaska Airlines is a transfer partner of Starwood Preferred Guest at a 1:1 ratio. You will receive a 5,000 mile bonus when you transfer in increments of 20,000 points.

Book With… Fly With… Economy Price (Round Trip) Business Price (Round Trip)
Alaska Airlines MileagePlan
Air France 80,000 (ends March 2018) 120,000 (ends March 2018)

The nice thing about using Alaska Airlines miles to book flights on Air France is that no fuel surcharges will need to be paid, but unfortunately as of March, 2018, Air France flights to Tahiti won’t be bookable with Alaska miles.

Business Class already costs fewer miles than booking directly through Air France, and while Economy Class costs more the cash savings probably make it worth it.

A great benefit of Alaska Airlines miles is that a stopover is allowed on one-way bookings. This means if you book a round trip ticket, you can stopover somewhere on both the outbound and the inbound flight. The downside, however, is that partners cannot be combined on a one-way booking. You can only fly on a single partner plus Alaska Airlines’ own flights.

American AAdvantage Miles

American AAdvantage miles are probably the most useful for getting to Tahiti.

You can use AA miles to book flights to Tahiti with Air Tahiti Nui, Qantas, and Fiji Airways. Routing is also available on LATAM if you’re willing to spend more miles.

Book with… Fly with… Economy Price (Round Trip) Business Price (Round Trip)
American AAdvantage Air Tahiti Nui 80,000+ 160,000+

Using AA miles to fly Air Tahiti Nui is the most direct way to Tahiti from the U.S., but you can also redeem your AAdvantage miles via Australia/New Zealand on Qantas or American Airlines, and via Nadi on Fiji Airways.

Air Tahiti Nui tends to have pretty decent award space in Economy Class, less so in Business Class, which is also an angled lie flat product, so keep that in mind.

You can use American Airlines miles to fly LATAM via Santiago, Chile, but this will force two separate awards to price for a total of 90,000 miles in Economy and 165,000 miles in Business.

This is a very small premium to pay if that’s the only availability you can find, but it’s not an easy routing for availability anyway – your best bet for booking is exactly 331 days in advance if you want to go this route. 

Which is best?

The best option for booking your flights to Tahiti is probably going to end up being whatever is available.

Availability for award travel to Tahiti tends to be quite difficult to find, and the less flexible you are, the less likely you will be able to find available seats. Air New Zealand is pretty stingy with award space and Air Tahiti Nui isn’t much better (and they also have an angled flat Business Class).

You have a decent chance of finding LAN award space as long as you look exactly 331 days before booking.

Keep in mind that most flights to Tahiti don’t operate every day, and some operate as little as once per week. This can make flexibility even more important because options are already limited.

In terms of the best deals, assuming you have your choice of availability or are infinitely flexible, United and Alaska are the way to go. Both airlines offer competitive mileage prices, don’t pass on fuel surcharges, and allow one-way bookings for half the price of a round trip which provides more flexibility for your planning.

Should you use bank points as cash instead?

Booking with cash or bank points may well end up being your only option, considering that award flight availability to Tahiti is quite difficult to come by. Remember, if you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve card, you can redeem your Ultimate Rewards points for 1.5 cents each toward travel purchases through the Chase Portal. If you are having trouble finding availability for your dates of travel, this may be the best way to go.

The following two tabs change content below.

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

Miles dont expireas long as card is open
Learn more

Partner Offer

50,000 bonus points

Intro Offer

$0 introductory annual fee the first year, then $95

Annual Fee

Yes

Foreign Transaction Fee Waived

Yes - transfer to United MileagePlus, Southwest Rapid Rewards, Marriott Rewards, and more

Points Can Transfer to Airline Miles ?

Still confused? Have a question?

Leave a comment below -- we'll reply shortly -- no need to use your real name. Or, use the email form at the top of the page for private advice.

"These responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered."

4 thoughts on How to fly to Tahiti (and Bora Bora) with miles

  1. Tim

    You can no longer book Air France award flights Tahiti to US with Alaska Miles. March 2018 is the end, Air France is not offering partner awards after that.

    Reply
  2. Richard Toscano

    Good article. And also you should point out that if on the East Coast, and if you use American miles, your intercontinental flight from let’s say NYC to LAX to catch your Air Tahiti flight is included in the award at no extra charge. I flew a three cabin AA aircraft in business class from NYC- LAX and connected to Air Tahiti Nui from LAX in business class all for 165k miles, whereas if I booked with Delta that coast to coast flight would have cost extra as a separate award. And speaking of Delta, you forgot to mention that you can use Delta Skymiles to fly not only on AirFrance but also on Air Tahiti Nui as they are a partner.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

X
MileCards.com Email Alerts
Hear about new offers and tips