I’m not sure if I’m writing this post for our readers or for me. One of the places I most want to go to is Bora, Bora. I figured if I wrote a post about how to travel hack to Bora Bora, I’d be closer to making it happen, so here goes. Let’s use points and miles to get to Bora Bora! Note: Award redemptions on airlines are always subject to change.
I’m also going to show you a little about my process of planning a trip with points and miles again. That is always the hardest part!
First of all, I want to look at some possibilities so I will check out AwardHacker. I will put in my home airport of Denver but you would use your airport. It is a long flight so I will be looking in business class but you could also check out economy class if you don’t mind that. I have bad knees now so I can’t deal with a long economy class flight anymore (and I have a lot of points)!
Most flights from the U.S. first stop at the Faa’a International Airport in Tahiti. From there you hop onto a 45-minute plane to get to Bora Bora. This extra flight will run you about $400/person. Going to Bora Bora is not cheap! (All the more reason we need to use points and miles for as much as we can)!
This gives me a starting point but it isn’t set in stone. For instance, I couldn’t find ANA availability and I looked at several dates. Bora Bora is SUPER popular and finding award dates takes some searching. Ideally, you should look a year out.
I then went down to Air France. I did find some availability but not from Denver. In many cases, you find more availability if you look at a different airport. I switched my search to San Francisco and found limited availability.
No flights out of Denver but I found this when I changed to San Francisco:
Next, I decided to look at United from San Francisco. I looked almost a full year out, hoping to find good availability. Economy was fine, business was way more than I’d ever pay! I would hope that some Business Saver Awards open up and keep looking. If not, that 8-hour flight looks like I could do it in economy. Actually, since I have Gold Premier Status on United, I’d get Economy Plus so that is doable. Here is the flight from San Francisco I found:
I did find good availability in economy by switching from San Francisco to my home airport of Denver, so I wouldn’t have to position for a flight.
Flying on American Airlines partner Air Tahiti Nui, has always been a popular option. This took some changing around of dates but I did find these last-minute dates. Being flexible with award bookings to popular destinations is a real thing.
It helps to open up a 30-day calendar to find availability. I did find availability in economy but none in business after looking at multiple months. Sometimes, last-minute availability opens up and you could change your flight class.
I need to rethink my thoughts on a business class seat based on what I found today. Of course, I will keep looking and updating this post with what I find. Occasionally, someone in the blogging community finds a great business class deal (that lasts seconds) but I’ll keep trying! Right now, Air France seems my best bet for business class to travel hack to Bora Bora.
My plan for Bora Bora has always been to stay at the Conrad Hilton. I’ve been saving my Hilton points and plan to open a couple more cards, the Hilton Aspire Credit Card, to get more.
When I first wrote this post, I found no availability. Fast forward a few months later, and there is suddenly a ton of availability across many months. I wanted to go in November because I have a lot of trips planned till then. I usually just pick one night and then look. The key is to pick flexible dates to see the whole month.
I found a ton of nights for 89,000 Hilton points stretched across several months. It was late at night, and I almost waited to book until in the morning, but I had been looking for so long that I didn’t want to chance it, so I pushed forward. I had 310K points, enough for 3 nights with 43K left over. Knowing that if I booked 4 nights, the 5th would be free, I decided to buy the other 46K I needed. Lucky for me, Hilton had a promotion. Whatever I purchased, I would get as a bonus, so I only had to buy 23K. I did that for $230 and had the 356,000 points needed to buy my four nights. I found 5 nights at 89K and bought them.
The next morning I looked, and there were no standard rooms available – in any month. I don’t know if a ton of people booked last night and early this morning or if Hilton decided to pull these because they were a mistake. All I know is that if you find the right deals, don’t delay! Book quickly!
The Hilton Moorea Lagoon Resort and Spa in Tahiti has a little better availability. It is a possibility, but it looks like you need to book as soon as the dates are released. These were the only dates the next year that I found available for 90,000 points a night.
Most of Marriott’s top hotels are hard to find. If you try and book a multi-day stay or a week stay, you will often find no availability. The St. Regis Bora Bora had this result for me. However, if you go to flexible dates and just put one date in, several options appear. Note: you might want to remember this trick when you can’t find availability for other hotels too! If you go for a special occasion or have elite status, be sure and ask for an upgrade. You just might get an overwater bungalow!
Again, availability was really hard to find. I tried all the hotels there and found one night for the rest of the year. I’m sure more will open up, but this is disheartening, to say the least. Here is a suggestion on how to find availability. It looks like you just have to be lucky and check back day after day at different times.
Checking out how to travel hack to Bora Bora was an eye-opening experience. I’ve long heard of amazing points and miles redemptions there and thought they were easy to come by. I now know they are there, but they can be difficult to find. They may require some tricks, flexibility, and diligence in searching. Don’t give up, and look as soon as you can! Let us know if you find some great availability that we can pass on to others.
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