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
Air Tahiti Nui Routes:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.