If you’re looking for a last minute family vacation destination with decent award space, you might want to look into French Polynesia. Award space is normally tough to come by, with just three airlines (Air France, Air Tahiti Nui, Hawaiian Airlines) operating flights out of the US (Honolulu and Los Angeles). Air France currently has at least 7 economy award seats between Los Angeles (LAX) and Papeete (PPT) on December 16 and 23. As for return flights, there are at least 7 seats on December 24, 26 and 31. While the dates may be somewhat limited, the fact that there are so many seats on each flight is ideal for families who are looking to travel together in the midst of the busy holiday travel season.
The above mentioned dates are searchable through the Alaska Airlines website and redeeming them requires 80,000 miles and $82 in taxes and fees per person round-trip. If you’re short on Alaska miles, you can transfer points from the Starwood Preferred Guest program at a 1:1 ratio, with a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 transferred. Transfers aren’t immediate though – I don’t remember the exact amount of time it took the last time I transferred SPG points to Alaska Mileage Plan, but they were in my account some time the next day.
The same award can be booked through Air France Flying Blue for 60,000 miles and $454.90 in taxes. Flying Blue is also a Starwood Preferred Guest transfer partner, along with American Express Membership Rewards. If you’re short on both Starpoints and Alaska miles, buying miles might be a good option with the 35% transfer bonus they’re currently offering. For those who have an abundance of Membership Rewards points, the relatively higher taxes imposed by Air France can be off-set with Barclay Arrival Miles. Even if you don’t have the Arrival miles right now, you can charge the fees to your Arrival Plus card now and then have 120 days to earn enough miles to off-set them.
As is to be expected, Delta Skymiles redemptions are steep, with the same award setting you bath 100,000 miles and $57 in taxes and fees…in economy class.
As for hotel accommodations, there are plenty of chain hotels, though award space is limited. Due to the peak season and higher categories of Starwood’s properties, award space will likely remain unavailable. Your best bet is Hilton, which has decent award availability at the Hilton Bora Bora and Moorea properties. IHG’s two Intercontinental hotels also have decent award space and their paid rates also reasonable at around $300 per night. These rates are ideal for redeeming Arrival miles.
- Radisson Plaza Resort Tahiti (44,000 points per night)
- Hilton Bora Bora Nui Resort & Spa (95,000 points per night)
- Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort & Spa (80,000 points per night)
IHG Rewards Club
- Intercontinental Resort Tahiti (40,000 points per night)
- Intercontinental Resort and Spa Moorea (40,000 points per night)
Starwood Preferred Guest
- Le Meridien Tahiti (12,000 – 16,000 points per night)
- Le Meridien Bora Bora (30,000 – 35,000 points per night)
- St. Regis Bora Bora (30,000 – 35,000 points per night)
If you’re looking for a warm place to spend the holidays, the weather in Tahiti in December will be around 80 degrees and sunny. That’s not the case for every the surrounding islands, so be sure to look into it before making final travel plans.
Have you made any travel plans with your family this season?