AwardWallet receives compensation from advertising partners for links on the blog. Terms Apply to the offers listed on this page. The opinions expressed here are our own and have not been reviewed, provided, or approved by any bank advertiser. Here's our complete list of Advertisers.
Yesterday, Air Tahiti Nui launched its newest route between Tahiti and Seattle. Out of curiosity, I checked to see what award availability looked like on this route — and found that it's wide open!
Let's show you how to take advantage of this award availability for a dream trip to Tahiti.
Air Tahiti Nui Award Availability
Seattle to Tahiti
Award availability is wide open in economy, premium economy, and business class on Air Tahiti Nui's flights between Seattle (SEA) and Papeete (PPT). The only limitation? This route is only operated on Wednesdays and Sundays.
As long as you can schedule a trip around these days of the week, I'm seeing wide-open availability on almost every flight from October 19-June 19, 2023. Specifically, Air Tahiti Nui is currently offering at least 4 business class awards on the following dates:
- October 19, 23, 26, 30
- November 2, 9, 13, 16, 20, 23, 27, 30
- December 4, 7, 18, 21
- January 1, 4, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29
- February 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 22, 26
- March 1, 5, 8, 12, 15, 19, 26, 29
- April 2, 5, 9, 12, 16, 19, 23, 26, 30
- May 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24, 28, 31
- June 4, 11, 19
That means Air Tahiti Nui is offering at least 4 business class seats on every flight it's operating on this route in May 2023:
Los Angeles to Tahiti
The award availability on Air Tahiti Nui's route from Los Angeles (LAX) to Papeete (PPT) is much more ordinary. There are only 4+ business class seats available on three dates — and they are all this month:
- October 9, 13, 23
If you're only looking for two business class seats, you have a few more options:
- October 8, 13, 23, 24
- November 8
- December 3, 5, 6, 31
- January 1, 14, 26, 28, 29
- May 16
Air Tahiti Nui award availability is much better in premium economy on this route. I'm finding 2+ premium economy awards between Los Angeles and Papeete on the following dates:
- October 7, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 23, 25, 29, 30, 31
- November 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 20, 21, 24, 26, 27, 28
- December 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 19, 29
- January 1, 15, 22, 26, 28, 29, 30
- February 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, 11, 13, 16, 18, 19, 20, 23, 25, 26, 27
- March 18, 19, 25
- April 22, 29, 30
- May 16, 21, 23
- June 3, 6, 18, 20, 24, 25
- July 4, 9
- August 8, 15, 22, 27
Booking Air Tahiti Nui Award Flights
Air Tahiti Nui isn't part of any major airline alliance. Instead, it has a long-standing partnership with American Airlines and a new partnership with Alaska Airlines.
Alaska Mileage Plan
Alaska just added awards on Air Tahiti Nui in June 2022. Unlike other recent Alaska award chart additions, the redemption rates are quite appealing. One-way awards on Air Tahiti Nui cost as few as:
- Economy: 30,000 Mileage Plan miles.
- Premium: 45,000 Mileage Plan miles.
- Business: 60,000 Mileage Plan miles.
You aren't limited to just booking nonstop Air Tahiti Nui flights. Alaska Mileage Plan allows connections within the U.S. for no additional mileage. However, you're limited to flying Alaska Airlines on these intra-U.S. flights. That will limit travelers based in smaller east coast cities that don't have Alaska Airlines service.
If you're flying in from another city, consider booking a free stopover in Seattle. Alaska Mileage Plan allows a free stopover — even on one-way awards. This means you can fly from your hometown to Seattle and visit Jet City for as long as you want before flying to Tahiti.
Alternatively, you can stopover in Tahiti on the way to one of Air Tahiti Nui's other destinations. For example, you can fly from Los Angeles/Seattle to Tahiti, stopover in Tahiti, and then continue to Auckland. The price of this award jumps a bit to:
- Economy: 40,000 Mileage Plan miles.
- Premium: 60,000 Mileage Plan miles.
- Business: 80,000 Mileage Plan miles.
Note that the Alaska award chart doesn't officially list this as an option. Thanks to SJ in the comments for pointing out that Alaska has added this as an option.
American Airlines AAdvantage
You can also book Air Tahiti Nui awards through the American Airlines AAdvantage program. The mileage rates are a bit higher than Alaska's. Award flights between the continental U.S. and Tahiti cost:
- Economy: 40,000 AAdvantage miles.
- Premium: 65,000 AAdvantage miles.
- Business: 80,000 AAdvantage miles.
The main advantage of booking through American Airlines is the ability to connect domestically on American, Alaska, or both to get to the Air Tahiti Nui flight.
Also, you can connect through Tahiti on the way to other Air Tahiti Nui destinations — such as Auckland, New Zealand. As Auckland is also part of the same “South Pacific” region as Tahiti, awards won't cost any additional miles. However, you won't be able to book a stopover in Tahiti along the way. Also, you'll need to call American Airlines to book these awards — as AA's website will automatically limit results to American Airlines flights to Auckland.
Other Award Options to Tahiti
Don't have American or Alaska miles? You can also book award flights to Tahiti on Delta's new route to Papeete. As recently shared with Thrifty Traveler Premium subscribers, you can book these flights for as few as 60,000 SkyMiles round-trip nonstop in economy:
Or, you can book other cities around the U.S. through LAX to Tahiti for as few as 70,000 SkyMiles round-trip:
Comfort+ (Delta's term for extra-legroom economy) costs just a few more miles round-trip. Snagging extra-legroom seats on these long flights is certainly worth 4,000 more SkyMiles round-trip. However, premium cabins aren't nearly as affordable as American or Alaska awards on Air Tahiti Nui.
Short of SkyMiles? You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Delta SkyMiles at a 1:1 transfer ratio. And transfers are typically immediate.
Onward Flights from Tahiti
If you haven't visited French Polynesia before, you might be surprised to find that Papeete is just the launching point for all that French Polynesia has to offer. You can take a short ferry from Papeete to Moorea. There you can stay at the incredible Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa.
However, you won't want to take the ferry all the way out to Bora Bora. Instead, you'll need to fly Air Tahiti — a very similarly named, but different airline from Air Tahiti Nui — between Papeete and Bora Bora. Unfortunately, these flights can't be booked with airline miles and the flights aren't cheap.
Consider booking an Air Tahiti Multi-Island Pass instead. This pass doesn't cost much more than just booking flights to Bora Bora, and you can use it to visit other incredible islands in French Polynesia. I particularly enjoyed Huahine and Maupiti during my trip in May 2019.
Anytime a new airline launches a new route, it's worth checking award availability. The airline may initially struggle to fill the aircraft, prompting the airline to offer award availability. And that's just what we are seeing with Air Tahiti Nui flights from Seattle to Tahiti.
This wide-open business class award availability is made even better by Alaska's new partnership with Air Tahiti Nui. This partnership offers cheaper mileage rates than AA's awards on Air Tahiti Nui. Plus, Alaska offers the option to stopover.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.
Thanks JT! I was surprised – disappointed to read that Alaska won’t allow a stopover at PPT on the way to AKL as they do with Fiji. Is this on the award chart or elsewhere?
It’s all about the regions that Alaska sets up for each partner. In the case of Air Tahiti Nui, Alaska only allows award flights to South Pacific and Europe – and New Zealand is part of its own region. On the award chart, you’ll see that flights to New Zealand are available on: American Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Fiji Airways, Korean Air, Qantas.
Bummer that Alaska left Air Tahiti Nui out!
“Unfortunately, you can’t connect beyond Tahiti when booking using Alaska miles. That means you can’t connect through (or stopover in) Tahiti on the way to one of Air Tahiti Nui’s other destinations, such as Auckland, New Zealand.”
Not true. You can connect through PPT to AKL or even stopover in PPT (for up to a year I think?). It would just bump the price of the award to 80k per the award chart. I’ve searched and booked this myself.
Interesting! I checked for awards on that specific route – even though the Alaska award chart doesn’t list Air Tahiti Nui as an eligible airline for New Zealand flights. But, indeed, I’m seeing award options now!
However, I’m not seeing any award chart that lists an 80k award price for this route. Where are you seeing that?
Nice catch! But from East cost its takes much longer to get there. For same length one can fly to Japan/Korea.
Awesome!!! Thanks for this AMAZING tip – and the additional details needed to USE it! 🙂
Glad it helps!
It’s always great to see when availability opens up. Most of the time when I search AA I find not a single business class seat available.
I had searched dozens or maybe hundreds of times and never saw anything.
Several months ago I found a unicorn and booked 2 business class seats round trip LAX to PPT for April 9 to 17.
I even managed to get seat selection through Air Tahiti row 1.
Nice catch! And I hope you have an awesome trip in Tahiti.