Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and French Polynesia. American Airlines partners with Fiji Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui to offer the best options to these distant Pacific Islands.
I am updating and re-posting my series on redeeming American Airlines miles. Why now?
- To reflect current award prices.
- To celebrate the increase of the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®‘s sign-up bonus.
For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months. You would earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles for meeting that minimum spending requirement. The card offers a host of other benefits as well, including Admirals Club lounge membership and 10,000 Elite Qualifying Miles after $40,000 spent in purchases each calendar year.
If you find this guide to redeeming American Airlines miles to be useful and want to apply for the Citi® /AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®, please use my link. The commission is what allows me to dedicate the time to writing this series.
“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index
- Part 1 — 5 Ways to Stretch American Airlines Miles on Economy Redemptions
- Part 2 — 6 Ultra-Luxurious First Classes to Book with American Airlines Miles
- Part 3 — Where to Search Award Space for All Partners
- Part 4 — Award Rules and How Many Miles You Need
- Part 5 — Taxes, Fees, and Fuel Surcharges
- Part 6 — Redeeming for Domestic Awards
- Part 7 — Redeeming for Hawaii
- Part 8 — Redeeming for East and Southeast Asia
- Part 9 — Redeeming for Middle East and Indian Subcontinent
- Part 10 — Redeeming for Australia and New Zealand
- Part 11 — Redeeming for South America
- Part 12 — Redeeming for Europe
- Part 13 — Redeeming for Africa
- Part 14 — Redeeming for Fiji, Tahiti, Bora Bora, and French Polynesia (this post)
The Partners for Pacific Islands Awards
American Airlines has two partners from outside its oneworld alliance that are based in the in the South Pacific:
- Fiji Airways
- Air Tahiti Nui
Award space on Fiji Airways is searchable on alaskaair.com. Here’s how to search alaskaair.com.
Award space on Air Tahiti Nui is searchable on Expert Flyer. Here’s how to search Expert Flyer.
From North America to the South Pacific, American Airlines charges:
- 40,000 miles one way in economy
- 80,000 miles one way in Business Class
- There are no First Class options to these islands
These miles prices are the same as awards to Australia and New Zealand.
In addition to the miles, you pay government taxes on all awards. There are no fuel surcharges on these awards.
Routes & Award Space
Fiji Airways flies from Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu to Nadi, Fiji. Air Tahiti Nui flies from Los Angeles to Pape’ete, Tahiti.
You can connect to these flights in Los Angeles very easily on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights. This will cost you zero extra miles as long as the domestic award space is at the MileSAAver level, the cabin is the same or a lower tier than the transoceanic flight, and Fiji Airways or Air Tahiti Nui “publishes a fare” from your home airport to your destination, a concept explained in Part 4 — Award Rules and How Many Miles You Need.
Award Space on Fiji Flights
Award space is searchable on alaskaair.com. Any space you see there you can book with American Airlines miles by calling American Airlines. When booking with AA miles, you pay the prices listed above, not the prices listed on alaskaair.com.
You can search one month at a time by selecting flexible dates and then setting the calendar to show the cabin you prefer.
My searches indicate that award space in economy is available most months, though a little less available during the peak dry season from June through October. Business Class award space is very rare.
All calendars in this section show searches for two people. Dates that say “40k” have economy award space, and dates that say “55k” have Business Class award space.
Los Angeles to Fiji
Fiji to Los Angeles
San Francisco to Fiji
This route is seasonal. It flies between mid June and mid August, which is peak tourism season. Here is July and August’s availability:
In July, there is award space for two people in Business Class on July 14, and that’s it. Apart from that there is no economy space.
In August, there is space for two people in Business Class on August 7, 11, and 14. Here are the days available in economy for two people:
There is currently no award space in Business nor economy on the direct return flight to San Francisco from Fiji.
Award Space on Air Tahiti Nui Flights
You can search one week at a time on Expert Flyer by filling in the search screen like this.
A strong tendency I notice with Air Tahiti Nui award space is that the most Business Class space is available 10 to 11 months in advance. Space deteriorates in Business Class as the departure date approaches, but stays pretty consistently available in economy.
It does look as though they might release some Business Class space last minute, as there are two seats open next week on July 7, flying TN7.
For the week I searched in September, I saw one Business Class seat and up to six economy award seats. For the week I searched in December, I saw up to seven economy seats and three Business Class seatsFor the week I searched in February, I again saw tons of economy seats, and two Business Class seats.
Air Tahiti is Not Air Tahiti Nui
I haven’t mentioned award space to any other French Polynesian islands yet like Bora Bora or Moorea. The reason is that American Airlines partners with Air Tahiti Nui, which flies only a few longhaul flights, all of which go to Tahiti.
There is a separate airline called Air Tahiti that provides service among the French Polynesian islands. You can NOT book Air Tahiti flights with American Airlines miles.
Just because you can’t use American Airlines miles on Air Tahiti flights doesn’t mean you have to pay cash though.
- You can use the $250 Air Travel Credit on your Citi Prestige® Card (and you’ll earn 3 ThankYou Points per dollar spent for an airfare purchase!)
- You can pay with Arrival miles at a net rate of 1.075 cents off the ticket for each Arrival mile redeemed.
- You can pay with ThankYou Points earned from the Citi Prestige® Card or Citi ThankYou® Premier Card, which can be used like cash toward the purchase of any airline ticket. Points earned on the Prestige are worth 1.33 cents toward the purchase of any flight, so the roundtrip from Tahiti to Bora Bora would be 30,215 ThankYou Points.
The bottom line is that you can get to the other islands of French Polynesia with points, but it is a separate and expensive ticket from the one that gets you to Tahiti.
Booking the Award
Search segment-by-segment to find award space from your airport to Los Angeles and award space on the flights to the South Pacific separately.
You need to book by calling American Airlines at 800-882-8880. The good news is that you will pay zero phone booking fee, since that fee was waived when an award can’t be booked online.
Pay your award taxes with your Citi Prestige® Card, since it comes with a $250 Air Travel Credit every calendar year that will cover the award taxes and fees on these ticket. If you haven’t used the credit yet, buy pay the taxes with your Prestige, and you will receive an offsetting credit on your next statement.
Even if you’ve already used your $250 credit for this year, the card offers 3x on all airfare purchases.
American Airlines miles are good for getting to Fiji and Tahiti in economy, offer a smattering of Business Class throughout the year if you are flexible, and have a lot of seats available in Business Class if you can book 10+ months in advance.
For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles and Admirals Club lounge membership, among other awesome benefits, after spending $5,000 in the first three months.
By meeting the $5,000 total spending requirement you’ll earn at least 65,000 American Airlines miles, which is more than enough to book one way in economy to Fiji and Tahiti, and almost enough to book a one way in Business Class.------------------------------------------------------------
Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.
Earn 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $5,000 in the first three months on the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard®. Plus get American Airlines lounge access for you and guests. My full review of the card.