Deal alert: Tahiti, Bora Bora flights from $465 round-trip nonstop

Feb 7, 2020

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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points (on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year). Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

If you’ve been been thinking about a trip to the South Pacific, we’ve got some bad news and some good news.

The bad news is that it’s a pricey time of year to visit Tahiti and Bora Bora. The good news is that you can still score some good deals, especially if you can tough it out in economy to save $1,000 or more on your ticket.

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If you’ve never heard of French Bee, buckle up. This tiny, Paris-based budget airline operates a handful of long-haul flights on its three Airbus A350s. One of those routes is a nonstop flight between San Francisco and Papeete, French Polynesia, that operates a few times a week, providing just enough competition to keep the main carriers on their toes (and their prices low-ish).

French Bee is your nonstop round-trip sale fare ticket to Tahiti for cheap, with round-trip flights beginning at $465 nonstop from San Francisco (SFO). If you prefer to fly on a major alliance airline for the points, Air France/Delta operate $675 round-trip nonstop routes out of Los Angeles (LAX), while United flights begin at just $678 round-trip out of SFO.

Related: Bora Bora for a family vacation on points

As always, the best way to take advantage of fare sales like this is to book flights in and out of the city where the cheap fares originate. So, for example, you’d find cheap domestic round-trip flights from your home city (mine is Austin) to San Francisco or Los Angeles, ideally with a few hours’ buffer in case of scheduling delays. Then you book your exotic vacation between San Francisco and Papeete, Tahiti.

French Polynesia is a premium vacation destination, much like Hawaii or the Maldives, so you’ll need separate flights (or ferries/boat rides) to get to each island you plan to visit, and those transits are expensive. You’ll most likely rack up significant additional cost unless you find a good deal on points, or use Chase or Capital One points and miles to “erase” your charges from your credit card account.

It’s still possible to experience the South Pacific in luxury without breaking the bank. In fact, TPG’s Summer Hull took her family to Bora Bora during a recent holiday break — and wrote all about it here.

To find a deal, head to Google Flights and enter your origin and destination cities. Scroll through the calendar function to find dates and prices. Finally, click through to book directly with the airline or an online travel agency like Orbitz or Expedia.

Airline: United, French Bee, Air France, Delta
Routes: SFO/LAX and more to PPT/BOB
Cost: $465+ round-trip in economy
Dates: February to April 2020
Pay with: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare),  Citi Premier® CardChase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline) or Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel)

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Here are some examples of specific flights that are available:

San Francisco (SFO) to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) for $465 round-trip on French Bee:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) for $675 round-trip on Delta operated by Air France:

San Francisco (SFO) to Papeete, Tahiti (PPT) for $678 round-trip on United if booked separately, or $798 through United on a single itinerary:

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire ReserveAmerican Express® Gold Card Citi Premier® CardCiti Prestige Card (5x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this guide for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

Featured image by JT Genter for The Points Guy.

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