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How to Get to Bora Bora on Points and Miles

By: Luke Sims

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You know those times when you are freezing your buns off waiting for your car to warm up so you can drive to work on a dreaded Monday morning? You tell yourself to imagine your feet dangling in perfect blue water in a warm tropical paradise somewhere.

Yeah, that somewhere is Bora Bora.

World-famous for its crystal clear turquoise water, bleached-white sand beaches, and luxurious overwater bungalows, Bora Bora is near the top of many dream vacation bucket lists – and for good reason.

While it’s nearly a perfect vacation destination, getting there, on the other hand, can be expensive and tricky. So, let me share with you how you can use points and miles to get there so that beautiful place you imagine can become a reality!

four seasons bora bora

To get there, you’ll need to fly through Tahiti (PPT), the only international airport in French Polynesia, and then catch a flight or take a boat to Bora Bora. From the U.S. you have three options to Tahiti:

  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air Tahiti Nui
  • Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air France
  • Honolulu (HNL) to Tahiti (PPT) on Hawaiian Airlines

From Tahiti, your best option is to then take a quick flight on Air Tahiti to Bora Bora. Air Tahiti does not have a frequent flyer program, so you will need to pay around $350 roundtrip in cash per ticket. This would be a great opportunity to use the Barclaycard Arrival Plus or Capital One Venture Card, which allow you to use your points to erase any travel-related charge made with the card in the previous 90 days.

Only having three options to fly to Tahiti might seem limiting, but there are many ways to use points and miles to book an award ticket. Keep in mind that award space on these flights is limited, so you are going to want to start your search early and be flexible with your travel dates.

Here is a breakdown of some of the best options for redeeming miles:

1. Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air France

Finding award space on Air France flights will probably be your best bet to book an award to Tahiti. You have several options for what points you can use to book your award tickets. Carrier-imposed surcharges will be different through each award booking option, so always pay close attention.

Air France/KLM Flying Blue

  • Economy class: 60,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 150,000 round-trip

How to Earn Flying Blue Miles

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points, American Express Membership Rewards points, SPG Starpoints, and Citi ThankYou Points to Flying Blue to get the miles you need to book your award ticket. Each of these programs transfers points to Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.

Clearly, earning the points necessary to transfer to Air France/KLM Flying Blue won’t be a problem!

You can use Air France’s site or KLM’s site to search for award space. Either will work as they will show you the same results.

Delta SkyMiles

  • Economy class: 110,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 230,000 round-trip

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles

The best way to earn the SkyMiles you need is to transfer American Express Membership Rewards points. There are tons of cards with bonus categories to help you earn Membership Rewards points quickly and they transfer almost instantly at a 1:1 ratio.

You can also earn SPG Starpoints with either of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards from American Express. As mentioned earlier, transferring a chunk of 20,000 Starpoints will earn you a bonus of 5,000 miles.

American Express also provides six co-branded credit card with Delta: Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card, Delta Reserve Credit Card plus a business version of each of these. With any of these cards, you can earn SkyMiles directly.

You can search for award space on Delta’s site.

2. Los Angeles (LAX) to Tahiti (PPT) on Air Tahiti Nui

Booking an award ticket on Air Tahiti presents a couple of good options, perhaps your best being to book through American Airlines AAdvantage.

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Economy class: 75,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 125,000 round-trip

How to Earn American AAdvantage Miles

One of the best ways to earn American miles is transfer SPG Starpoints. You’ll earn 5,000 bonus miles when you transfer a chunk of 20,000 SPG points and can earn SPG Starpoints with either the business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

You can also earn American miles directly from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, the Citi AAdvantage Executive card, the Citi AAdvantage Gold card, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card, and Barclay Aviator Red card. These cards are a great way to build a nice stash of American miles, then you can use some for your Bora Bora flight!

To find award space, you’ll have to call American Airlines (800-882-8880) or search with Expert Flyer (a paid service).

Delta SkyMiles

  • Economy class: 110,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 230,000 round-trip

How to Earn Delta SkyMiles

As mentioned above, transferring American Express Membership Rewards points to Delta SkyMiles is an excellent option. Your other best transfer option would be SPG, and you would earn an additional 5,000 miles for every 20,000 SPG points you transfer. See above for American Express credit card options for earning Delta SkyMiles directly.

3. Honolulu (HNL) to Tahiti (PPT) on Hawaiian Airlines

Your only other U.S. option for a direct flight to Tahiti is on Hawaiian Airlines from Honolulu. Using HawaiianMiles is a reasonable option, but your better bet might be booking through Korean SkyPass or AAdvantage.

Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles

  • Economy class: 95,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 175,000 round-trip

How to Earn HawaiianMiles

Transferred instantly at a 1:1 ratio, American Express Membership Rewards points are your best transfer option for obtaining the necessary miles. You can search for award availability on Hawaiian Airlines’ site but remember to login so you can search for award tickets.

Korean SkyPass

  • Economy class: 60,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 90,000 round-trip

How to Earn Korean SkyPass Miles

You can transfer points from your stash of Chase Ultimate Rewards at a 1:1 ratio instantly to the Korean Air SkyPass program. There are several cards that earn Ultimate Rewards points such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Ink Business Preferred Card, and the Chase Sapphire Reserve Card. Each of these cards comes with bonus categories that make earning points even easier.

Additionally, you can also transfer SPG Starpoints at a 1:1 ratio and, like other SPG partners, receive a 5,000-mile bonus when you transfer 20,000 SPG points.

You will need to call Korean Air to book this award after searching for award space on American Airlines’ site.

American Airlines AAdvantage

  • Economy class: 75,000 round-trip
  • Business class: 125,000 round-trip

How to Earn American AAdvantage Miles

You can earn American miles directly from the Citi AAdvantage Platinum Select card, the Citi AAdvantage Executive card, the Citi AAdvantage Gold card, CitiBusiness AAdvantage Platinum Select card, and Barclay Aviator Red card.

As mentioned above, my favorite way to earn the American miles you need is to transfer 20,000 SPG points, because you will then earn an additional 5,000 bonus miles. You can earn SPG Starpoints with either the business or personal version of the Starwood Preferred Guest credit cards.

Bottom Line

Although there are limited options to get to Tahiti and continue to Bora Bora, there are plenty of great ways to use points and miles to make your beach vacation far less expensive.

There aren’t many airline options for your adventure and they only operate on select days of the week—some only operate once per week. This makes flexibility a key factor in finding a way to use points and miles to get to Bora Bora.

A trip to Bora Bora is a perfect example of that cheesy line your dad always told you growing up, “nothing good ever comes easy.” With a little hard work and this guide to show you how, dangling your feet in crystal blue water might be closer than you think.

Wheels Up,

Luke

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1 Comment

  • Reply Jeepie December 7, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    Good stuff, Thanks. Quick question…I’m planning a trip there for Summer 2019 and just wanted confirmation about American Airlines Business Class round trip requirements. I saw elsewhere that 160,000 miles are needed vs. the 125,000 you show. How can I reserve for the lower requirement? Cheers.

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