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Complete List of Flyer Miles and Routes to Tahiti

There aren’t a ton of options for getting to the highly desired French Polynesia, and I’ve found myself struggling to get a reasonable flight to burn my IHG free nights in Bora Bora. So I decided to list out every single possible option (that I can think of) for a miles flight to Tahiti.

Carrie already made a killer InfoGraphic on Overwater Bungalows Using Points – inspired by the post on booking Overwater Bungalows for Free. This should complete things a little bit. We had posts on the hotels and now here are the deals for flights.

 

Flying Air Tahiti Nui to Tahiti

This is one of the lesser known options for finding availability to Air Tahiti Nui. And while they aren’t a part of any alliance, they still have a number of good partners. But the best part is that since they are lesser known and don’t have as many partners, there is a fair amount of award availability.

Air Tahiti Nui partners:

  • AA – 75k/125
  • Delta?

Air Tahiti Nui Routes:

  • NRT-PPT
  • AKL-PPT
  • LAX-PPT

For any one of these tickets you would either need to connect in Tokyo, Auckland, or Los Angeles and then fly Air Tahiti Nui to Tahiti.

 

AA miles

This is sometimes easier said than done, like for example with AA miles. The unofficial rule (I learned of from Gary’s How to Construct Award Tickets Using AA Miles) is that AA will only book it if it’s one codeshared flight. Take the example of a flight from New York to Tahiti. Air Tahiti Nui doesn’t actually fly to NYC but they sell the flight and AA operates the flight from JFK to LAX.

AA to Tahiti

Since the flight is sold together, you can use miles for it. This is generally not a problem when doing standard awards from the US to Tahiti, as that’s what the codeshare agreement is for. With more complicated routes, it could get confusing.

 

Using JAL Miles on Air Tahiti Nui

Since JAL is distance based I thought I would break down the prices from each ATN destination, roundtrip:

  • LAX – PPT = 50k/80k
  • NRT – PPT = 60k/90k
  • AKL – PPT = 40k/65k

Of course, the price could be more expensive if you added it onto a connection, but this is a rough idea. However, I find JAL unrealistic for most people, since its only transfer partner is SPG.

Als0, Qantas is a partner but doesn’t list them as a redeemable option. YMMV?

 

Flying Hawaiian Airlines Partners to Tahiti

  • ANA – distance based
  • AA – 75k/125
  • Korean Airlines – 110k/185k
  • Virgin Atlantic Flying Club – 120k+
  • Jet Blue – ?

The problem here is that you have to route through Hawaii, which would be awesome if it included a stopover. Otherwise, it could be a lot of transit. However the only real options I see here are ANA, and AA.

Korean is way cheaper if you fly on Air France. Virgin is insanely expensive based on my one call. And I couldn’t find any info on Jet Blue, although I assume it’s a rip off.

 

Using ANA Miles on Hawaiian Airlines to Tahiti

It’s a distance based program but I had to point out two examples.

  • Seattle to Tahiti (on HA) = 55k/85k
  • New York to Tahiti (on HA) = 65k/105k

This is a great deal, plus you can stopover in Hawaii. If you’re curious about ANA miles (which is a transfer of Amex and SPG), then check out A Guide to ANA Miles. You get 3 stopovers and they have awesome prices.

 

Flying Air France to Tahiti

Air France has one route from the US to French Polynesia and that’s LAX to PPT.

Air France partners:

  • Alaska – 80k/120k
  • Delta – *they want you to use their tool; good luck*
  • Korean – 60k/90k
  • anyone else in SkyTeam

 

Delta

Like any Delta booking, the problem is the award availability with the partner, it’s connecting on Delta. I can find plenty of seats from LAX to PPT for 50k each way. It’s expensive but better than flying Delta. When I start from anywhere else in the country, it’s usually 70k to 95k.

 

Korean

The problem with Korean is that the 60k/90k price appears to be for Air France only, and their only route from the US is LAX. So if you’re in LAX already, it’s a great deal to PPT and there’s usually availability.

 

LAN from Santiago/Easter Island

One route I nearly forgot about, and attempted to book myself in 2011 but failed, is Easter Island to Tahiti. It’s not as plentiful in award availability but it’s an option and a cool one at that.

Using Avios for Easter Island to Tahiti

If you can manage to get yourself to Easter Island on LAN, it’s only 12,500 BA Avios each direction. Avios are a transfer partner of Amex, Chase and SPG, so they are easy to come by. The problem is that most award charts are now savvy enough to call Easter Island the more expensive “Pacific” or “Oceania” region.

The problem has been finding award availability ever since they cut back the flight. It’s a needle in a hay stack upon checking again. Is the flight only once a week?

 

Flying Air New Zealand to Tahiti

One of the most attractive ideas on paper is flying on Air New Zealand using United miles. We flew their business class in 2012 to the Cooke Islands from Auckland and it was amazing. However, ANZ award availability is at an all time low. In this case I can only find award flights from AKL to PPT in December (9 months out).

If you do luck out and see availability that works roundtrip and are already in Oceania, it’s usually a reasonable flight with Lufthansa, United or whatever Star Alliance miles you have. Plus with United you could start in Australia and stopover in New Zealand. Ideal, but that’s what it stays – an idea.

 

Conclusion

If you’re looking to using miles to get to Tahiti, here are the stand out options:

  • Flying Blue Miles on Air France or Air Tahiti Nui – US to PPT for 60k in economy
  • ANA Miles on Hawaiian – US to PPT for 55k/85k with a stopover in Hawaii
  • Korean Miles on Air France – LAX to PPT for 60k/90k. If you’re already in LAX it’s worth the Chase transfer.
  • Avios on LAN – Easter Island to PPT for 12,500 Avios oneway.
  • United miles on Air New Zealand – if one day the award seats open up.

Related Posts:

28 Comments

  1. As you allude to, you cannot book an award with AA miles unless there is a publicly available cash rate from the origin to PPT. Essentially what this means is you must originate in an AA hub. What I ended up doing was booking from DFW and returning to ORD and using Avios for flights to/from my home airport (MSP).

    Reply
    • I checked Kayak to test the small east coast city of Charlottesville to PPT. Results were a ticket sold by AA by not AT.

      According to Garys post, the “overwater” carrier has to sell the ticket. Dumb rule. But in this case, you’re right, finding a ticket is harder when it’s not a hub. Or when it’s more than one connection.

      Reply
    • You mistate the rule in the post. It has nothing to do with codeshares. Like you said here in the comments, it has to do with whether the overwater carrier publishes a fare from origin to destination. Codeshares are not necessary for a throughfare from origin to destination. Throughfares are many, many times more common than codeshares.

      Reply
    • You are incorrect. It is possible to book AA miles 1st/bus class from a non hub. We have for 2 years in a row done MSP-DFW-LAX-PPT and back.

      Reply
  2. You neglect to mention that TN also partners with DL, which is how I am flying to PPT in J.

    Reply
    • Thanks. Although neither list the partnership on their website. Whats the deal?

      Reply
    • It is quite odd they’re each not listed on either of their respective websites, but they are in fact partners, or if not official “partners,” you can definitely use DL for TN flights.

      Reply
  3. In fact, we booked the above as the DL-stopover window was closing. We’re doing, JFK-LAX-PPT(stop)-AKL-MEL // MEL-SYD-LAX-JFK in DL/TN/VA J.

    Reply
    • Wow that is a fantastic ticket. Almost makes me want to get some Delta miles.

      Reply
    • Yep; probably my favorite award booking yet, considering 1) it’s DL (!), and 2) it’s a stopover for a week in PPT/BOB, and a destination in MEL for another week, all in business class.

      I’d argue there was no award you could book with DL miles that could be this from a value perspective.

      Unfortunately, such an award is no longer possible, as DL axed stopovers as of 12/31/14.

      Reply
  4. How to earn ANA Miles?
    I can fly from Washington ,DC or JFK. What is my best option to get to Bora Bora.

    Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hey Lena,
      ANA is transfer partner Amex MR points, and SPG.

      This post is a good transfer partner resource – http://travelisfree.com/2014/10/07/faq-what-credit-cards-earntransfer-to-frequent-flyer-miles/

      ANA is good at 65k/105k. And Flying Blue which is a citi transfer partner, is the best if you can get a delta route in saver. It’s only 60k roundtrip, if you have citi ty points.

      You can go to delta.com and check miles, for JFK or DC to PPT. Should be 50k for economy. That the best option if delta awards are available.

      Reply
  5. Note that the HNL-PPT flight on Hawaiian Air is typically only once a week.

    Reply
    • Ouch. I guess I got lucky on my one random search. 😀

      Reply
  6. i booked the once weekly flight from HNL-PPt in August using miles, which I transferred from Amex and SPG. Continuing on through to Auckland using Skymiles on TN.

    Tried the Santiago flight and it was nearly impossible with Avios, even tried calling.

    Reply
    • Awesome. Where you staying? IC? I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to get there, hence the article. I only have AA miles of the ones mentioned, and I can’t justify the large number for the flight.

      Yea, the LAN flight has gotten worse and worse. But I do think they cut it from like 3-4 a week to 1… but I’m just speculating really.

      Reply
  7. Any idea what the YQ on air France with Korean points is like?

    Reply
    • $165 oneway. Not the cheapest for sure but not bad in the world of YQ.

      Reply
  8. The Hawaiian and Lan flights are only once a week.

    I believe the Lan flight is also a continuation of a flight from Santiago, so you might be able to book SCL–>PPT as a direct flight (similar to the JFK–>HKG CX flight that transits through YVR) if there is any currency for which that saves miles.

    I did the Lan flight with US miles. I booked 2 separate itineraries – one where I convinced the agent that IPC was part of South America (and thus paid intra south america rates to get there) and one where I convinced the agent that IPC was part of Oceana (and thus paid intra-oceana prices to get from IPC to PPT).

    If you’re doing business class to PPT on Lan, US will be better than avios

    Reply
    • Do you know what day of the week it is? Accoring to their siteLAN flies every day from Santiago to IPC. I can book it as a paid ticket, and I could even find award space if you use their miles. The problem is I have miles only on US Airways or British Airways…

      Reply
    • I believe SCL–>IPC is daily (or something close to it), and 1 of those days, the aircraft continues on to PPT .

      You can check availability on BA’s website, and if it shows up as available, you can book it with US miles too.

      LAN’s availability is strange – there are times where they seem to remove all award space, and there are times where they open up the floodgates. I remember when I booked SCL–>IPC–>PPT, there were no award seats at all my first check, then a few days later, they seemed to have 7 award seats every day for months. Then a few days after that all the space was gone again.

      LAN is one of those airlines you need to check back almost daily/weekly for availability

      Reply
  9. You can fly on HA via Virgin America. I think it is 45K rt from LAX and 60K from JFK.

    Reply
  10. Drew,
    I can’t begin to express how useful almost every post on your blog is. Very very informational. Literally every other post needs to be bookmarked. I’m relatively new to the hobby (Started Oct 2014) and this has, by far been the most useful resource so far (along with flyertalk).

    Keep up the good work.

    V

    Reply
  11. So are you guys telling me that booking with AA is no longer a good idea? I have been working on AA miles for a few months now. Before I started there were flights for ATL-LAX-PPT, now when i looked there is nothing available from now through April.

    Reply
  12. Hi,
    I really liked this post and the post of you spending 2 weeks in Bora Bora.
    Can I ask how would flights from London work without routing through LAX, are there other options?
    Thanks

    Reply
  13. What about PPT to BOB?

    Any option on miles?

    Reply
  14. New reader. Great blog by the way! So i am out of LAX, whats the best low point award option to ppt if i want to do business class? thanks

    Reply
  15. I have a lot of citi TY points that I’d like to transfer to flying blue to get to Tahiti. I want to go from NYC-LAX-PPT roundtrip, but every time I call airfrance the rep tells me I can’t add a connection delta flight from NYC-LAX onto the ticket for the 60K rt price. Is that true? From what I have read online I thought it could be easily done.

    Reply

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