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[Primer] Using Points for French Polynesia

[Primer] Using Points for French Polynesia

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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:04 am
  #1  
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[Primer] Using Points for French Polynesia

While planning a trip in 2013/2014 and researching, I decided to create this primer to help organize my thoughts/options/plans.

This is a compilation of info from FT threads and blog posts, please let me know if anything is 'old date'

Last Update: Aug 12, 2013

Flights

  • Award redemption is hard
  • Plan on booking 330 days in advance
  • Look for awards to Papeete (PPT)
  • Air Tahiti is not the same as Air Tahiti Nui. You must book on Air Tahiti and gasp pay cash to get to another island.
  • Getting to Bora Bora (BOB) is limited and expensive ($400+ per person) you will need to take the interisland flight on Air Tahiti, which can be booked on www.airtahiti.com
  • Getting to or Moorea (MOZ) is about $15 per person each way, and takes 30 minutes on the high speed catamaran, Aremiti 5. The schedule is posted at www.aremiti.net

Oneworld AA

USA - PPT*
Economy is 37.5k each way
Business is 62.5k each way

*Need to call AA to book on Air Tahiti Nui (TN), flights won't show up online, will route with AS/HA via HNL
Here is a great step-by-step guide on how to book TN with AA miles

Oneworld LAN

USA - Lima, Peru (LIM)
Economy is 30k using AA miles

LIM - Easter Island (IPC)**
Economy is 12.5k using BA miles

USA - Santiago, Chile (SCL)
Economy is 40k using AA miles

SCL - IPC**
Economy is 12.5k using BA miles

IPC - PPT - once a week only
Economy is 12.5k using BA miles

Flights are daily from either LIM or SCL to IPC. Award availability to PPT is extremely limited, if not impossible

**Or you can fly direct to PPT for 25k BA miles

Oneworld Qantas

LAX - PPT*
Reported non-stop by some, haven't been able to price or find

Someone claimed they got LAX - Auckland (AKL) - Sydney (SYD) - AKL - PPT - LAX for 105k miles

The LAX - AKL - SYD - AKL was on Qantas, the AKL - PPT - LAX was on Air Tahiti Nui

I've not been able to reproduce or price this itinerary.

Star Alliance Air New Zealand

LAX - AKL -PPT*
Economy is 35k each way, 28-45 hours each way

Maybe useful to add a SYD stopover for the same mileage

*Very limited availability on UA.bomb

Sky Team Air France

LAX - PPT
Economy is 75k DL miles each way

DL also partners with TN (outside of Skyteam) for flights

Hawaiian Airlines

Flights Honolulu (HNL) to PPT leave once a week on Saturdays
Flights PPT - HNL leave once a week on Sundays

HNL - PPT*
Economy is 27.5k each way
Business is 47.5k each way

*cheapest way to fly HA to PPT is using Korean Air (KE) miles (30k RT HNL-PPT)

Earning - Transferring - Using Airline Points

Please see the Credit Card forum for latest offers.

Other Miles
  • 2.5 LAN miles per 1 SPG transfer
  • Chase UR 1:1 for various airlines mentioned, see Post #2

Last edited by stupidzbu; Aug 12, 13 at 12:58 pm
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:19 am
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Hotels

Hilton

The best redemption is the AXON (american express) redemption rate for 4 nights. See Point section for more info

Hilton charges 700 XPF (~$7), per person, for a roundtrip to the main dock, Viatape, in Bora Bora.

There is a page that offers stay challenges for Gold, changes every so often, and reports of as little as 4 nights for Gold. Click here for current offer

Hilton MOZ:
  • good availability
  • OWB appx $150-$200 extra per night on top of award redemption
  • Always try to negotiate the upgrade cost for higher up bungalows, it doesn't hurt to ask

Hilton BOB
  • harder availability
  • OWB upgrade about $150-$200 for low end bungalow
  • Some report success upgrading to Royal OWB for the same price as MOZ hilton

Intercontinental

No free breakfast makes it more expensive. The only redemption discount possible is with the Chase PC 10% refund on award redemption.

IC MOZ
  • Appx 30k per night, 25k with Chase PC 10% discount (unconfirmed)

Thalasso BOB
  • Appx 50k per night, 45k with Chase PC 10% discount (unconfirmed)
  • Many state this is the nicest, more peaceful, more modern hotel in BOB
  • has a free shuttle boat to the IC La Moana which is on the main island of Bora Bora. There are a few restaurants and grocery shops within walking distance of the IC La Moana


Some info taken from this extensive blog entry http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/1...ra/#more-17115

Earning - Transferring - Using Hotel Points

Chase Ultimate Reward Points
  • Available through Chase Sapphire and INK cards
  • Able to transfer to all airlines mentioned with flights to PPT at 1:1 ratio (step-by-step guide)
  • Able to transfer to PC points at 1:1, but airline may have better value

50k INK Bold (25k on first use, 25k after $10k spend in 90 days)

25k INK Classic (10k first use, 15k after $5k spend in 90 days)

40k Sapphire Preferred ($3k spend in 90 days)

**All are standard offers**

Intercontinental PC points

80k Chase PC (no annual fee, on first purchase, $49 fee after 1st year, one free night @ anniversary, 10% discount on award redemptions


Hilton Points
50k CITI Visa (churnable)
2 Free nights CITI Reserve Visa (must wait 65 days if applying for 100k points per CITI rules, gives gold status, $2500 spend in 4 months, $95 annual fee)

These are standard offers, head over to the Credit Card forum for any special offers that might pop up.

AMEX has some very strict rules and are NOT churnable. I recently got burnt with the 65k SURPASS deal and this is what their T&Cs state:

1) All hilton AMEX cards are seen as one product regardless of terms
2) You must have all Hilton Amex's closed for 91 days before you apply for a new one
3) Your last bonus must have been 366 days prior to your application.

EXAMPLE: You get a Hilton AMEX Jan 1, 2012 ... you must close the account on Sept 30,2012 and will not be eligible for another hilton AMEX bonus until Jan 2, 2013

HOWEVER: It is best to apply to the no-fee card and then UPGRADE to the Surpass to get an additional 50k bonus ($75 annual fee, $3000 spend in 3 months)

The Hilton devaluation in Q1 2013 has made these hotels more expensive. Here is a good summary of the AXON rates. Most of these hotels have gone from 50k/night to ~90k/night, which means you need to churn a lot more !!

Last edited by stupidzbu; Aug 12, 13 at 1:02 pm
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:19 am
  #3  
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MISC Info

  • leg room on Air Tahiti Nui was equal to an economy plus class on United
  • LAX - PPT economy has seat config is 2-4-2 on Air Tahiti Nui and is an 8 hour flight
  • Bora Bora (BOB) is more expensive than Moorea
  • Moorea (MOZ) reminds some of the east side of Oahu
  • MOZ - It is recommended that you visit first:some people say that it seems less awe inspiring if you visit BOB first
  • MOZ - Has more activites than BOB
  • MOZ - Flight to BOB appx $250 per person one way
  • BOB - Dinner will run you a minimum of $100 (more likely $200 with drinks and a 3 course meal for two
  • BOB - Breakfast is $75 per day for 2
  • BOB - things are very limited here. You are pretty much stuck paying what they charge in the hotel unless you bring your own food
  • BOB - Flight to PPT appx $250 per person one way
  • Try getting a credit card that offers statement credit, such as Capital One Venture card, which can be used to offset food expense or pay for the interisland tickets. Might not be the best use for cards like that though

Useful Links

Interisland Flight Times

Baggage Allowance (3 lb hand bag, 44/100 lb checked luggage depending on class)

Interisland Air Pass may drop price depending on the trip

Last edited by stupidzbu; Aug 12, 13 at 1:04 pm
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:30 am
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You can also get to Tahiti on Air France from the US.
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:46 am
  #5  
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this is all I've got so far ...

any and all recommendations/answers to the great unknown are appreciatted
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:47 am
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Originally Posted by Million Mile Secrets View Post
You can also get to Tahiti on Air France from the US.
Yeah .. I accidentally hit SUBMIT when I wanted to click PREVIEW ...

I added it after your post
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Old Oct 23, 12, 10:51 am
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A couple notes concerning HA.

1. HA is not part of any alliance.
2. The cheapest way to fly HA to PPT is using KE miles (30k RT HNL-PPT)
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Old Oct 23, 12, 2:24 pm
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Unhappy hmmm

I'm considering the same trip.

Darius has a nice write up (how I discovered this board actually):
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/1...ra/#more-17115
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/0...award-booking/

I live in LA, so anything besides LAX-PPT direct seems crazy. So basically I'm stuck with Air France (use miles on Delta), or ATN (AA miles). When I checked the seat availability for business/first basically Air France had 2 "award" seats period, while ATN only had 1. That means if you want to fly business on miles for a couple, you have to get some Air France miles or book through Delta (the delta forum had reports of problems getting first/business seats though - and I can't see any right now but I suck at this).

Anyway, that's 75,000 AA miles in coach, or 150,000 Delta miles in business on Air France. Honestly I'd just book AA Coach and call it a day since flying business is such a pain.
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Old Oct 23, 12, 3:09 pm
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Doing LAX-PPT through *A is doable, just that you will need to plan for a trip after April and have only two says out of the week to do it with a possible overnight/long layeover in SYD or AKL. Meaning your travel time each way could be anywhere between 28 and 45 hrs. I have priced out a LAX-SYD-AKL-PPT departing on a late-evening Wednesday, arriving on a Friday very early morning, for 35K miles and $6 (total travel time, 29hrs). Yeah is looks like two days later but you cross the the international dateline twice I believe by doing this, once on the way to SYD and once from AKL to PPT. Had to look for availability segment by segment and then pieced it together with a multi-destination search. I have done one in reverse and it is one travel day but almost the same travel time (around 30hrs) and taxes were higher at around $56. But I agree with above poster that anything not direct LAX-PPT is crazy.

Last edited by eknock007; Oct 23, 12 at 3:24 pm
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Old Oct 23, 12, 3:39 pm
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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Thanks for your post- I'm looking at similar itineraries. (Easter island/machu pichu & Tahiti). I have 112k British Airways Avios & 300k AA miles, along with Hilton & 2 sign up bonuses for Intercontinental (which will= 4 nights in bora bora).

You can use expertflyer to see availability for AA on Air tahiti nui (you then have to call AA to book it). Search LAX- PPT online. We are flying from ORD. I can't remember if expertflyer allowed you to search ORD- PPT, or if I had to do ORD-LAX, LAX-PPT? Anyway, when I called to put it on hold, it was 37.5/62.5 as you mentioned above.

One other thing I noticed: Depending on day/flight times, you can avoid doing that night in Tahiti if you choose a date/time that has you arriving into PPT early am (5am ish). Our plan was to take one of those flights, then hop onto the flight to Bora bora. Would also be interested in any tips/advice
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Old Oct 23, 12, 3:57 pm
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Join Date: Jul 2006
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I think maybe part of the missing OW info you need is that you can use AA miles to book LAX-PPT on Air Tahiti Nui. You do have to call - this can't be done online.
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Old Oct 23, 12, 4:16 pm
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Originally Posted by josephstern View Post
I think maybe part of the missing OW info you need is that you can use AA miles to book LAX-PPT on Air Tahiti Nui. You do have to call - this can't be done online.
aha ... that's why I couldn't pull up sample itineraries! thanks!
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Old Oct 23, 12, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by eknock007 View Post
Doing LAX-PPT through *A is doable, just that you will need to plan for a trip after April and have only two says out of the week to do it with a possible overnight/long layeover in SYD or AKL. Meaning your travel time each way could be anywhere between 28 and 45 hrs. I have priced out a LAX-SYD-AKL-PPT departing on a late-evening Wednesday, arriving on a Friday very early morning, for 35K miles and $6 (total travel time, 29hrs). Yeah is looks like two days later but you cross the the international dateline twice I believe by doing this, once on the way to SYD and once from AKL to PPT. Had to look for availability segment by segment and then pieced it together with a multi-destination search. I have done one in reverse and it is one travel day but almost the same travel time (around 30hrs) and taxes were higher at around $56. But I agree with above poster that anything not direct LAX-PPT is crazy.
this actually might work out for my plan.

The wife and I have 14 days off in Dec 2013 and we want to:

1) Go to the great barrier reef
2) spend at least 4-6 nights in BOB/MOZ combo
3) Get to Easter Island

We are in BOS now ... and I need to play around with availability to see if we should do

BOS - LAX - AU - layover - PPT - layover - IPC - layover - USA - BOS

We have

200k BA
40k UA
30k AA

So my next churn will focus on miles

Hotel-wise we have

360k HH
80k PC

So that should be good for a majority of the more expensive stays. I can always get some HYATT CCs for the AU segment.

My question is... how do people get from BOB to MOZ? Do you have to go back to PPT? If so, then PPT-MOZ-PPT by ferry then PPT-BOB by plane makes the most sense, correct?
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Old Oct 23, 12, 4:23 pm
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Originally Posted by Tavinder Hare View Post
I'm considering the same trip.

Darius has a nice write up (how I discovered this board actually):
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/1...ra/#more-17115
http://millionmilesecrets.com/2012/0...award-booking/

I live in LA, so anything besides LAX-PPT direct seems crazy. So basically I'm stuck with Air France (use miles on Delta), or ATN (AA miles). When I checked the seat availability for business/first basically Air France had 2 "award" seats period, while ATN only had 1. That means if you want to fly business on miles for a couple, you have to get some Air France miles or book through Delta (the delta forum had reports of problems getting first/business seats though - and I can't see any right now but I suck at this).

Anyway, that's 75,000 AA miles in coach, or 150,000 Delta miles in business on Air France. Honestly I'd just book AA Coach and call it a day since flying business is such a pain.
thanks for the links .. i'll integrate some of that info in this primer.

Hopefully I can make it complete as to answer a majority of people's questions.
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Old Oct 23, 12, 4:31 pm
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I'm enjoying this thread as I hope to get to Tahiti one day.

Regarding your last question about getting from BOB to MOZ or reverse, as far as I get it, coordinating inter-island flights with flights to and from other countries has the tendency to eat up most of a day. This is partly due to the low frequency of both, and partially because they involve different operators who don't seem keen on coordinating their schedules.

Just a thought - if you're going from BOS to Australia, have you considered going the other way and stopping in the Maldives?
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