American AAdvantage Discounted Awards to Tahiti

American AAdvantage is offering a 20% discount on awards from Los Angeles to Tahiti with partner Air Tahiti Nui.

Book by October 15 for travel through March 31, and the offer applies to both economy and business class.

Recent reports on Flyertalk suggest that it’s no longer possible to book first class awards on Air Tahiti Nui using American miles. (It’s never been possible using Delta Skymiles, either, even though Delta is also an Air Tahiti Nui partner.)

Specific dates are off-limits for business class, as well:

Award travel embargo dates apply to travel in Business Class as follows:
Flights from Papeete, Tahiti to Los Angeles: December 18, 2010 – January 7, 2011.
Flights from Los Angeles to Papeete, Tahiti: December 18, 2010 – December 29, 2010.

(HT: TM Travel World.)

In general I find that awards to from North America to Tahiti are the second most difficult to secure. Admittedly, I’m highly North America-centric. The most difficult in my experience is North America to Australia and New Zealand direct. Via Asia (or Europe and Asia) is quite doable. But those non-stops from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Vancouver to Sydney or Auckland on United, Air Canada, and Air New Zealand are all quite tough to come by. The Air New Zealand flights are actually the most doable, though in Northern Hemisphere winter the business seats usually only release exactly 60 days in advance of flight (and closer in as well, but that 60-day release date seems to be quite common).

For North America to Tahiti direct the only options are Air Tahiti Nui’s Los Angeles – Papeete flights (American and Delta are partners) and Air France’s non-daily Los Angeles – Papeete flight (Delta also a partner here). The limited flights make the award so difficult.

Air New Zealand also used to fly the route, but now the only Star Alliance flight to Tahiti is Air New Zealand via Auckland. So on a United Airlines award ticket, you’d first have to get the very tough to find Auckland seats and then also get the non-daily flight from Auckland to Papeete as an award as well. And that’s a lot of extra flying.

Hawaiian Airlines flies once-weekly on Saturdays from Honolulu as well.

With those oneworld miles there’s the especially interesting routing via South America and Easter Island on LAN. That’s one worth doing for its own sake, but not if you only want to go to French Polynesia.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. best way to go to Easter Island is using BA one partner award on Lan, 80K R/T in C

    Using AA oneworld miles, first need to figure out second carrier, BA(GRU-EZE), then need lots of extra miles

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