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.
Right now the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® are each offering 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after $3,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open. Don’t be thrown off by the word “Platinum.” Both cards have no annual fee the first 12 months, and then $95.
Get both cards and meet the $6,000 total spending requirement to have over 106,000 American Airlines miles. You can earn these miles to redeem on the current chart with the current rules, which are in effect until March 21, 2016. On March 21, 2016, you can book travel through February 16, 2017 that is “locked in” at current prices and will not be affected by the subsequent devaluation. Starting March 22, American Airlines will have a new worse award chart.
If you find this guide to redeeming the most valuable miles in the world to be useful and want to apply for the Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® and CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard®, please use my links. 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
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:
- 37,500 miles one way in economy
- 62,500 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 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, US Airways, or Alaska Airlines flights. This will cost you zero extra miles as long as the domestic award space is at the MileSAAver level 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 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
Here are economy results throughout the next 10 months.
Business Class space is super rare, but it does exist for a day here and there.
Fiji to Los Angeles
Again Business Class award space just really isn’t there.
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 11 months in advance. Space deteriorates as the departure date approaches, and space is also worse from November to April.
For instance, next week, there is only one flight with Business Class award space–TN7 on August 20.
In October, we see a similar pattern. A typical flight will have two economy award seats, but none in Business Class.In January, again we see lots of economy award space and no Business Class space.In March, there is mostly economy award space, but we start to see Business Class space on some flights.
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.
- 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 (or 1.6 cents toward the purchase of American Airlines/US Airways tickets), so the roundtrip from Tahiti to Bora Bora would be 27,593 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, but offer much less award space in Business Class.
- Citi® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months, plus 10% rebate on miles redeemed up to 100,000 redeemed each calendar year
- CitiBusiness® / AAdvantage® Platinum Select® World MasterCard® with 50,000 bonus American Airlines miles after spending $3,000 in the first three months
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 50,000 bonus points (worth $800 in American Airlines flights) after spending $3,000 in the first three months on the Citi Prestige® Card. Plus get a $250 Air Travel Credit each calendar year, free airport lounge access worldwide, and your fourth night free on hotel stays. Why I got the card.