Plan a Bucket-List Trip to the South Pacific and Beyond With the Increased AMEX Delta Offers

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Looking to go somewhere extra special or book a romantic dream vacation?  You can redeem Delta miles for travel to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands (like Tahiti!), one of the most beautiful areas of the world!

Tickets to the South Pacific, especially to places like Tahiti, are usually $1,500+, so using Delta miles can save you a lot of money!

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Visit Places Like the Hobbiton Movie Set in New Zealand With Delta Miles!

I’ll explain how you can use Delta miles to fly to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands for Big Travel!

Using Delta Miles for Travel to the South Pacific

Link:   They’re Back, Baby!  Increased AMEX Delta Card Sign-Up Bonuses Let You Travel TWICE as Far

A good use for Delta miles is for award travel to the South Pacific because buying the same flights is usually very expensive, and Delta charges reasonable prices for award travel.

And through November 8, 2017, the sign-up bonuses on the American Express Delta cards are the highest they’ve ever been!

So it’s a terrific time to consider these cards if you’re looking to earn more Delta miles for a romantic getaway or adventure to Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific.

You can redeem Delta miles on 4 airlines without going through Asia to the South Pacific:

  • Delta
  • Air Tahiti Nui
  • Virgin Australia
  • Air France

You can also use Delta miles to go through Asia, on airlines like Korean Air and China Southern, but I’m going to focus on flights leaving directly from the US.

I’ll explain how to search for and book award seats for each airline.

1.   Delta 

Flying Delta is the cheapest way to use your Delta miles to the South Pacific, because Delta charges more miles for travel on partner airlines.  However, finding saver award seats on Delta can be challenging, especially in Business Class.  Delta only flies from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia. Delta charges 45,000 miles per direction for travel in coach, and 95,000 miles in Business Class.  Note that Delta no longer has an award chart, but these are the lowest available rates for award seats.  Taxes are minimal at ~$120 for a round-trip ticket between Los Angeles and Sydney in coach.

In comparison, United Airlines charges 40,000 miles per direction for travel in coach, and 70,000 miles in Business Class.  While United Airlines charges slightly less than Delta, it’s much easier to earn Delta miles than United Airlines miles.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
United Airlines Charges Fewer Miles Than Delta, but Delta Miles Are Easier to Earn

To book, go to Delta’s website and search for award travel using their flight search engine:

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Search for Delta Award Seats on Delta’s Website

Before you use miles, make sure to check the price of a ticket.  Consider using your miles for Business Class travel, because those tickets are far more expensive than coach tickets, and you’ll get more value from your miles.

2.   Air Tahiti Nui

If you’re looking to fly to Tahiti, you can redeem Delta miles to fly from Los Angeles to Papeete, French Polynesia on Air Tahiti Nui.  From there, you can buy a ticket to places like Bora Bora, Nouméa, and Moorea!

Air Tahiti Nui is a non-alliance partner, and you can also use American Airlines miles for their award seats.

Note that there are 2 different airlines that share a similar name:  Air Tahiti Nui and Air Tahiti.  You can only use Delta miles on Air Tahiti Nui, not Air Tahiti.  Air Tahiti serves regional islands, while Air Tahiti Nui is the airline’s international operation.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Air Tahiti Nui’s Business Class

To get to Bora Bora, you’ll have to use miles to Papeete, and then buy a ticket on Air Tahiti.  

Delta charges 55,000 miles for a one-way ticket in coach, and 115,000 miles in Business Class.  This is the standard price, and does not change based on demand.  Taxes are ~$200 round-trip.  Note that Air Tahiti Nui’s Business Class has recliner seats, instead of the more comfortable lie-flat seats.

To search for award seats, you’ll have to use the paid service ExpertFlyer.  Award seats in coach are plentiful in advance, and finding 2 seats in Business Class isn’t hard close to departure or a few months in advance.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers

Once you find award seats, call Delta at 800-323-2323 and give the agent your routing, date, and class of service.  If booking coach, make sure to tell the agent you’re looking at “W space,” and if Business Class, “I space.”  Air Tahiti Nui uses different award codes than other partners, so this helps the agent find seats.

American Airlines also partners with Air Tahiti Nui, and they charge 40,000 miles in coach, and 80,000 miles in Business Class one-way for the same flight.  If flying in coach, you’re probably better off using Delta miles, and saving American Airlines miles for Business Class or more valuable flights on partners like Cathay Pacific, Etihad, and Qatar.

Round-trip tickets on Air Tahiti Nui between Los Angeles and Papeete often sell for ~$2,000 in coach, and over $7,000 in Business Class!  So using your miles on Air Tahiti Nui can be a fantastic redemption.

3.   Virgin Australia

Delta has a relationship with Virgin Australia, which might be one of the most comfortable ways to visit the South Pacific.  Virgin Australia flies from Los Angeles to: 
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Virgin Australia’s 777 Business Class Is Among the Best in the World!

With Virgin Australia, you can connect to most of Australia, New Zealand, and some South Pacific islands on the same ticket.  For example, you could fly from Los Angeles to Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand on 1 ticket.  This should cost the same number of miles, although Delta’s search engine can try to overcharge.  In that case, call Delta to correctly price the ticket.

Unfortunately, you are no longer allowed a stopover on Delta award tickets 🙁

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Visit the Beautiful Waiheke Island, a Short Ferry Away From Auckland!
You can search for Virgin Australia award seats on Delta’s website.  It’s usually not hard to find available award seats in coach, which costs 55,000 miles one-way.  Business Class award seats are typically released within a week of departure, and costs 115,000 miles one-way.  Taxes and fees are ~$30 from the US and ~$106 from Australia. Available award seats on Virgin Australia are fixed, and do not change with demand.  

Because United Airlines charges fewer miles for award flights to Australia (45,000 miles in coach and 70,000 miles in Business Class), you might be better off using United Airlines miles.   Although, again, Delta miles are easier to earn, and many folks prefer the service on Virgin Australia.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Book Virgin Australia Award Seats Online Using Delta Miles

Depending on your destination, it might make more sense to buy a ticket if you’re flying coach.  Think about flying Business Class to make the most of your miles (and fly Virgin Australia’s amazing Business Class), which often retails for more than $7,000 round-trip!

4.   Air France

Air France operates a flight between Los Angeles and Papeete, French Polynesia.  Like Air Tahiti Nui, this is a perfect flight to visit the South Pacific islands, like Bora Bora.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Emily Has Used Delta Miles to Book Award Flights on SkyTeam Partners Like Air France

This flight is seasonal and does not operate every day, and award seats are limited.  From Los Angeles to Papeete, this flight runs:

  • Tuesday
  • Thursday
  • Saturday

And from Papeete to Los Angeles: 

  • Wednesday
  • Friday
  • Sunday

Delta charges 55,000 miles one-way in coach, and 115,000 miles one-way in Business Class.  Taxes are ~$200 round-trip.

If you collect flexible points, you’ll be better off redeeming Air France / KLM Flying Blue miles for the same flight.  You’ll pay only 30,000 Flying Blue miles in coach and 75,000 Flying Blue miles in Business Class one-way.  You can transfer points from American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou, and Starwood to Flying Blue, and then book your flights at a lower rate than Delta.

You can sometimes find available award seats on Delta’s website, but the best way is to use the Flying Blue website or ExpertFlyer, then call Delta to book your seats.

Plan A Bucket List Trip To The South Pacific And Beyond With The Increased AMEX Delta Offers
Use the Flying Blue Search Engine to Look for Air France Award Seats
Make sure to check the retail price of the tickets before booking, because these flights can range from $1,200 to over $2,500 in coach, and well over $7,000 in Business Class!  If the price is on the lower range, you may want to save your miles, but if on the higher range, you can get over 2 cents per mile in coach, and almost 3 cents per mile in Business Class. 

Bottom Line

Using Delta miles to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific islands can be a great use to check off bucket-list locations or go on a relaxing honeymoon.

Because Delta miles are relatively easy to earn, you can use them to travel to Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific, saving your more flexible United Airlines, American Airlines, or transferable points for future trips.

Now’s a great time to earn Delta miles to save for your dream trip with the limited-time increased sign-up bonuses on the AMEX Delta cards.  But these offers expire November 8, 2017.   What’s your favorite way to get to Australia, New Zealand, or the South Pacific?

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