Reader Question: What’s the Best Miles & Points Strategy to Fly to Tahiti?

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Million Mile Secrets reader, Ken, commented:

Could you recommend the best strategy for using miles and points to get 3 round-trip coach tickets from Los Angeles to Tahiti?  Currently, I have:
  • 106,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points
  • 70,000 AMEX Membership Rewards points
  • 15,000 American Airlines miles
  • 9,000 JetBlue points
  • 5,000 Starwood points
  • 1,000 Alaska Airlines miles

Great question, Ken!

There are a limited number of flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti, which is a popular route for folks looking to get to Bora Bora.  So this can make it harder to find good deals on award flights.

For example, Million Mile Secrets team member Keith recently spent lots of time researching this itinerary for a potential anniversary trip.  But the cash flight prices and award flights for his desired travel dates were extremely expensive, so he decided to pick a different destination.

That said, having flexibility with your travel dates and planning in advance can open up ways for reader Ken to accomplish his travel goal!

Award Flight To Tahiti
Tahiti Is a Bucket List Travel Destination! And It’s Possible to Get There Using Miles & Points

I’ll share some helpful tools y’all can use to plan award travel.  And a potential way reader Ken can book an award flight to Tahiti with the points he already has.

Tips for Planning Award Travel

Link:   Beginner’s Guide to Using Flexible Points for Big Travel With Small Money

Link:   The Trick to Travel Flexibility: Transferable Points

Ken is on the right track for planning round-trip award flights to Tahiti.  The main reason is because he collects transferable points in the 3 of the 4 flexible points programs, including:

The only flexible points he’s not collecting are Citi ThankYou points.

I’ve written how folks who collect transferrable points have many more options for redeeming them.  Because you can choose to transfer your points to dozens of different loyalty programs.

Award Flight To Tahiti
Collecting Transferable Points Can Make It Much Easier to Find and Book Award Flights When You’re Ready

This can be especially helpful for award flights because so many airlines are part of alliances like oneworldStar Alliance, and SkyTeam.  So you can transfer points to one airline.  But book award tickets on any airline that’s part of the same alliance.  Team member Keith used this trick to book award flights for his around-the-world honeymoon.

When you have a trip in mind and want to research award flight prices, you can look at the award flight charts for different airlines.

Note:   Certain airlines, like Delta, do not publish an award chart.  So you’ll have to search specific flights on the airline’s website to find the cost.

Or consider using these tools, which can quickly show you award flight costs between two cities.

Keep in mind, these sites do NOT show award flight prices for every airline.  But they can be a good starting point!

Award Flights to Tahiti

Before checking award flight prices, I like to search Google Flights to see which airlines fly on a certain route.

For example, I searched non-stop flights from Los Angeles to Tahiti.

Award Flight To Tahiti
Google Flights Can Help You Figure out Which Airline Flies a Certain Route

The results show there are flights on Air Tahiti Nui or Air France.

For reader Ken’s situation, I know Air France is the best option because he can transfer his points from AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, and Starwood Preferred Guest to Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program for Air France (and KLM).  Points from these flexible programs, as well as Citi ThankYou, transfer to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

And Air France happens to offer the cheapest round-trip coach award flight option for this route.  Prices start at 60,000 Flying Blue miles round-trip per person.

Prices can vary depending on your travel dates.  But planning ahead can help!  Because I found lots of open award seats at the low-cost prices in March 2018.

Award Flight To Tahiti
Searching 10 to 12 Months out Can Help You Get an Award Seat Using the Fewest Number of Miles

And there are return flights back to Los Angeles for the same number of miles.

Award Flight To Tahiti
You Can Book a Round-Trip Award Flight to Tahiti With 60,000 Flying Blue Miles, Which Is a Great Deal!

Keep in mind, you’ll pay ~$130 in taxes and fees when you redeem Flying Blue miles for an award flight.  So 3 round-trip coach award flights will cost 180,000 Flying Blue miles (60,000 miles per person X 3) + $390 in taxes and fees ($130 X 3).

But that’s better than paying $3,000+ in cash for the same flights!

Bottom Line

Reader Ken collects transferable points with:

To achieve his travel goal of booking 3 award flights to Tahiti, he can transfer points from the 3 programs to Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program for Air France (and KLM).  Then, book a round-trip coach award flight for 60,000 Flying Blue miles per person plus taxes & fees.  

And if you collect Citi ThankYou points, you can also transfer them to Flying Blue for the same flight.

Remember, having travel flexibility and planning in advance can help significantly with booking award flights on popular routes.

Thanks for the question, Ken!

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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