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

Feb. 07, 2020
5 min read
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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® Card, Chase 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 Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Premier® Card, Citi 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.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases