The tropical beaches of French Polynesia are some of the most expensive to fly to, so this new redemption option is welcome news for those wishing to plan a honeymoon or leisure trip.
Previously, Qantas Frequent Flyer members were only able to earn Qantas Points on Qantas-marketed, Air Tahiti Nui-operated flights—now they can use their points for redemptions.
Routes, aircraft and cabins
Qantas members can now book Classic Flight Rewards with Air Tahiti Nui between:
- Auckland and Papeete
- Papeete and Los Angeles
- Auckland and Los Angeles via Papeete
These routes are currently operated by the airline’s A340 fleet, with angle-flat Business Class seats. Check out what Warren thought of them on his honeymoon.
However, the airline plans to upgrade their fleet to Boeing 787 Dreamliners with lie-flat seats over the next couple of years.
In Economy, the current A340s offer 32 inches of seat pitch but the Dreamliner will shrink that to 31 inches.
You can fly Qantas or LATAM to Auckland and then connect to Air Tahiti Nui. If you are flying Business, I would recommend aiming to fly from Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane to Auckland on one of Qantas’ Airbus A330s, with lie-flat seats.
An alternative is LATAM’s 787 Dreamliner from Sydney to Auckland, also with lie-flat seats but more seats per row.
Customers travelling in Business Class, Gold, Platinum and Platinum One Frequent Flyers, and Qantas Club members and their guests will have access to the Air Tahiti Business Lounge in Papeete, as well as Qantas lounges in Auckland and Los Angeles, when travelling on a Qantas codeshare.
Points pricing and taxes
One-way redemptions are priced as:
|Route||Economy Class||Business Class|
|Auckland - Papeete||22,500||50,000|
|Papeete - Los Angeles||28,000||60,000|
|East Coast - Papeete via Auckland||28,000||60,000|
|Auckland - Los Angeles via Papeete||40,000||84,000|
Taxes will set you back ~$156 one-way from Australia to Tahiti, with ~$264 the amount you’ll have to fork out for the Papeete – LA flight.
Economy/Business Class flights bought with cash from the East Coast to Papeete start at $1,100/$3,400 return, respectively, which is quite expensive for a one-stop, ten-hour trip. That will give you a return of 1.4c/2.6c per-point value, respectively.
Given we value Qantas Points at ~2c per point, I would recommend that you only use your points for an Economy Class redemption if cash tickets are significantly higher than $1,100; for Business Class, you’ll probably get healthy value no matter when you fly.
Do you need to call to book or can you do it online?
You can book online on the Qantas website if you are flying from Auckland or from Australia connecting in Auckland but if you are originating your journey in Papeete, you will need to phone Qantas—Qantas says you should be able to book all routes online in the second half of 2018.
When does award calendar availability open up?
Qantas’ award calendar opens 353 days before departure.
Due to the popularity of Tahiti as a honeymoon and leisure destination, award seats are in short supply, so it is best to plan far in advance. There are more Economy award seats available than in Business Class.
Other alternatives for booking to Tahiti
You can also use 15,000/30,000 American Airlines AAdvantage miles to book a one-way Economy/Business Class flight on Air Tahiti Nui, including a connection on Qantas from anywhere in Australia.
A great-value redemption is using 12,500 KrisFlyer miles to fly in Air New Zealand Economy one-way within the Southwest Pacific, which includes Australia and Tahiti.
Given the popularity of Tahiti and its expensive flights, being able to use Qantas Points for a redemption is welcome news.
To maximise your chances of snagging a seat, book well in advance.
Also, it may be wise to lower your expectations of the Air Tahiti Nui Business Class product, as it is quite dated, until the Dreamliners come out. To increase comfort on the Trans-Tasman leg, try to fly on one of Qantas’ A330s.
Supplementary images courtesy Air Tahiti Nui.