Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Introduction

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Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – Introduction

Million Mile SecretsOur 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise – IntroductionMillion Mile Secrets Team

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I’ve always been fascinated by the amazing blue and green waters & the over-water bungalows in Bora Bora.  But at the back of my mind, I always wondered “Can it really be as good as people say it is?

Hilton Moorea
At The Hilton in Moorea, French Polynesia

“Our 2nd Honeymoon in Paradise” Trip Report Index:

Yes, it really is as good as people say it is!  I’ll never forget the shimmering green and blue waters, the friendly islanders, and the wonderful time Emily and I had whale-watching, going on our 1st ATV tour, biking 8 hours around the island of Bora Bora, and just hanging out with each other in Paradise.

I would never pay the retail cost – ~$8,000 for two people in coach from Costco Travel or ~$12,000 in business class – but miles and points let us have Big Travel with Small Money!

So I planned a 2nd honeymoon to French Polynesia with the woman of my dreams!

I decided on 2 honeymoons of about 1 week each, instead of taking a longer honeymoon for 2 weeks.  I planned our 1st honeymoon to Paris over the July 4th weekend and the 2nd honeymoon over the Labor Day weekend.  That way we could take 10 days off work, but use only 8 vacation days!

This was supposed to be a surprise (I was looking forward to her squeals), but alas…

Emily Jablon:  This surprise was given away when I checked my “junk” email account – the one which Daraius uses to sign-me up for promotions etc. – and found hotel reservations and flight confirmations to French Polynesia!

However, I didn’t do any research to find out more about Bora Bora.  Daraius plans excellent vacations and I trust his judgement.  But I was excited!

Daraius:  I initially booked all 6 nights at the InterContinental Thalasso in Bora Bora. But I shortened our stay at the InterContinental Thalasso to only 3 nights and included 1 night at the Hilton in Moorea (only 30 minutes by ferry from Papeete) and 2 nights at the Hilton in Bora Bora.

Emily Jablon:  I would have preferred staying in only 1 or 2 locations to really relax and get a feel for the place.  3 hotels in 7 days was a lot!

Daraius:  Actually, I wanted to stay in a different hotel each night and check out the InterContinental in Tahiti and Moorea as well as the InterContinental La Moana in Bora Bora, but changing hotels every night would have been the opposite of a honeymoon for Emily!

Emily at the InterContinental Thalasso
Emily at the InterContinental Thalasso

I switched our reservations to the Hilton because we would save money with the free breakfast (~$30 per person) and free internet at the Hilton hotels because of our Hilton Gold status.  You can get Hilton Gold status with a virtual move to Australia or with the Citi Hilton Reserve card.

We saved  ~$80 per day (~$60 on breakfast and ~$20 on internet) at the Hiltons in French Polynesia because of the Hilton Gold status.

We used 150,000 Delta miles to fly in Air France business class from Los Angeles to Papeete and to fly back in Air Tahiti Nui business class.  Delta miles are very useful for travel to French Polynesia because they partner with both Air France and Air Tahiti Nui for flights from the US to Tahiti.

AIr France to Papeete
Air France Business Class to Tahiti

However, you can also use:

To be clear – using miles and points to French Polynesia is tough and requires lots of planning.  But over the next few weeks, I’ll review the flight and hotel options to French Polynesia and share our experience in Paradise with lots of detail and pictures so that you can get started planning your trip to Paradise!

French Polynesia is expensive, but it is possible to go there without breaking the bank.  Please comment if there’s anything you want me to include in the posts!

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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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Hi Darius ~
Your newsletter has been transformative for me.
I’m 74 years old and it’s time for me to work on my bucket list which includes French Polynesia for next April. I’d like to get a hotel credit card with a big bonus ASAP as I have taxes due end of July so can pay them with this new card. Any suggestions for the best card? I have 2 AX cards, 2 Chase cards, 1 Barclay and 1 Citi. Also a great credit score. I have have a Hilton account, IHP account and Choice Privileges account. Would love to hear from you ASAP so I can get the card.

Thanks for all the great info here. I was hoping if anyone could tell me if it’s easy yo book at the Intercontinental Thalasso with points ? I’m planning on going October 16, but when I log on the IHG website, the reward nights are booked 50 weeks in advance. Is there any trick here ?

I booked the Bora Bora Thalasso hotel with 50K points per night for November 2014. I am using United miles but I will be flying from Asia to Tahiti so the availability was good on Thai and ANZ. It was only 30K return in economy per person before the increases in February. The question I have is there seems to be only one way to get from PPT to BOB, which is Air Tahiti and as a virtual monopoly, they charge almost $500 for the short return flight per passenger. Is there another option to this? There doesn’t seem to be any way to discount that flight because Air Tahiti doesn’t belong to any of the alliances.

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Ian – You could use the Barclays Arrival card to get ~$440 towards any travel expense which you can use for that expensive flight.

Hey Darius,

I’m thinking about redeeming some Hilton points and booking a room in Tahiti. I’d love to try and get there in Business class with my wife for as little points as possible. How can you view Korean Air availability? I have plenty of UR and MR points plus a good number of AA but am trying to figure out the best use for them to get to Tahiti.

Thanks!

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Gary – UR points won’t help to get to Tahiti. AA points will help, but 2 business class seats will be tough. See this post for more details. Korean Air partners with Air France, and you can check availability on the Flying Blue website for Air France flights from LA to Tahiti. Good luck!

I am trying to plan a trip to stay at Intercontinental Thalasso Resort. I am trying to figure out dates/availability for flights using ANY miles/points systems to get me down there and back from LAX, but when I attempt to look up flights, it does NOT have anything available for the length of stay I am looking for! For example, trying to use aa points for the 37.5/pp, it would only allow options to leave on Fridays, and then returns on Sundays! Sometimes it’s just 2 days, sometimes it’s over 2 wks for it to work. I’m looking for more 4-5nts stays. I also tried looking to book under Delta’s miles, and it would indicate that there are NO availablility- and I’m using a date, like 8 months in advance! Any thoughts would greatly be appreciated.

Author
Million Mile Secrets

@Kalia – Using miles to Tahiti is one of the toughest awards to get. See this post on how to search for Air Tahiti Nui flights. For Air France flights, you can search on Delta.com, or on Air France website. If you have American Express Membership Rewards points, you can transfer them to Air France and book the Air France flights.

And you can set seat alerts on Expert Flyer to alert you for when a seat opens up.

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