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If you’re fantasizing about an exotic beach destination with crystal clear lagoons and overwater villas, look no further than Bora Bora.
The island, which is part of French Polynesia, is home to some of the world’s most luxurious resorts. As you can imagine, these resorts aren’t cheap, but at least you can save on the flight there with a points and miles strategy.
If you’re traveling to Bora Bora, you’ll first fly into Papeete on the main island of Tahiti, then onward to Bora Bora’s airport. From there, many hotels will arrange transportation for you via speedboat.
Here are the cheapest ways to fly to Bora Bora using points and miles. (Note that the options below only get you as far as Papeete. From there, you’ll have to arrange for the onward flight to Bora Bora separately.)
Air France offers direct flights between Los Angeles and Papeete. These flights are also reasonably-priced at 25,500 miles each way in economy class. Business class is a little pricey at 64,000 miles, but that’s par for the course on this route.
Flying Blue has a co-branded credit card issued by Bank of America®. The program also has transfer partnerships with Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou. In other words, not only are you getting one of the lowest mileage redemption rates available, but you also have a ton of options for accruing miles.
American Airlines AAdvantage
American Airlines partners with Air Tahiti Nui, which offers direct flights between Los Angeles and Papeete. An economy class award costs 40,000 miles each way, while business is a whopping 80,000 AAdvantage miles. That’s more expensive than flying Etihad business class to the Middle East, which is a much longer flight.
United has direct flights to Papeete out of San Francisco. The cost is lower than American Airlines at 35,000 miles each way in economy and 70,000 in business. These are pre-dynamic pricing levels, but you will likely see different prices because United is introducing dynamic pricing for any flights on or after Nov. 15, 2019.
United miles are fairly easy to earn, thanks to the airline’s partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards® and no fewer than three rewards credit cards. Currently, the fastest way to earn enough United miles for a trip to Bora Bora is with the United℠ Business Card: 60,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
Other options include the following cards:
ANA Mileage Club
If you want slightly cheaper redemption rates in business class, ANA Mileage Club charges 120,000 miles round-trip for the same route (San Francisco to Papeet). At 75,000 miles round-trip, economy class awards cost more than what United charges.
ANA can be a great alternative to using United MileagePlus for award flights to Bora Bora if you don’t have enough United or Chase Ultimate Rewards® points available.
ANA is a Membership Rewards transfer partner, and a great way to earn enough points for a round-trip economy class award to Bora Bora is through The Business Platinum Card® from American Express. It’s currently offering a big enough welcome bonus to cover this trip: Earn 85,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases within the first 3 months of Card Membership. Terms Apply.
Other card options include the following:
Hawaiian Airlines offers direct service to Papeete via Honolulu. A direct flight on this route starts at 24,750 miles each way in economy class and 47,500 in business class.
While Hawaiian Airlines doesn’t list redemption rates for flights between the continental U.S. and Papeete, we found the lowest rates between Los Angeles and Papeete to be 47,500 miles each way in economy class. The cheapest first class awards cost 67,500 miles each way.
While there are cheaper award flights out there between the continental U.S. and Papeete, the rates for flights out of Hawaii are actually pretty good. If you’re looking to give your HawaiianMiles account a boost, consider the Hawaiian Airlines® World Elite Mastercard®.
Hawaiian Airlines is also a transfer partner of the Membership Rewards program, so you can easily transfer miles to top off your account for an award redemption.
All information about the Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and Citi Prestige® Card has been collected independently by NerdWallet. The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card, Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World Elite Mastercard® and Citi Prestige® Card are no longer available through NerdWallet.
How to Maximize Your Rewards
You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2020, including those best for:
Airline miles and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
No annual fee: Wells Fargo Propel American Express® card
Flat-rate rewards with no annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card
Premium travel rewards: Chase Sapphire Reserve®
Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express
Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card