Air Tahiti Nui is now available for redemptions with Alaska Airline Mileage Plan. This, coupled with the airline’s upcoming launch of a new route from Seattle, unlocks some interesting redemption opportunities.
Seattle is easily accessible to many Canadians, with direct flights from major airports in Western Canada, as well as from Toronto and Montreal. Thus, this new route provides more convenient access for Canadians en route to a dream vacation in Tahiti in the near future.
Meanwhile, Alaska Mileage Plan has been expanding its partnerships greatly in the recent past, and it’s great to see another redemption partner airline added, easing access to a remote, highly sought after vacation destination. Unlike other recent additions, the redemption costs are much more compelling.
Let’s have a look at the details.
Alaska Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui Partnership
Recall that as of April 1, 2022, Air Tahiti Nui and Alaska Airlines entered a formal partnership. This means it is now possible to earn and redeem Alaska miles for travel on Air Tahiti Nui, and vice versa with Air Tahiti Nui’s Club Tiare frequent flyer loyalty program.
Bora Bora, which is located in Tahiti, is a destination on the top of many bucket lists, which is made much more accessible by Alaska Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui linking up.
Air Tahiti Nui’s New Seattle Route
A new route between Seattle and Papeete adds further interest to the Alaska Airlines and Air Tahiti Nui partnership.
Beginning on October 4, 2022, Air Tahiti Nui will begin twice-weekly service between Papeete and Seattle. The flight will last around nine and a half hours in either direction, and is set to operate on the following schedule:
- TN52 Papeete (PPT) to Seattle (SEA), departing 10pm and arriving 10:25am the next day
- TN51 Seattle (SEA) to Papeete (PPT), departing 12:40pm and arriving 7:30pm
Flights will depart Papeete on Tuesday and Saturday, and flights will depart Seattle on Wednesday and Sunday.
The route will be operated by a Boeing 787-9 aircraft with 30 lie-flat business class seats, 32 premium economy seats, and 232 economy seats. The business class cabin is in a 2-2-2 formation spread across five rows.
Aside from Seattle, Air Tahiti Nui’s only other North American destination is Los Angeles, which is serviced daily.
This part of the world can be difficult to get to, so it’s great to see another option that’s very easily accessed by Canadians. At various points throughout the year, there are direct flights from Seattle to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Toronto, and Montreal with Alaska Airlines, Air Canada, or WestJet.
Book Air Tahiti Nui with Alaska Mileage Plan
To make it even better, the route, as well as all other routes served by Air Tahiti Bui, is now bookable using Alaska miles.
Alaska Airlines has loaded Air Tahiti Nui into its reward searches, and has also published award charts for flights to its various destinations.
Air Tahiti Nui has a fairly limited network when compared to most airlines. From its hub in Tahiti, the airline flies to Auckland, Tokyo, Seattle, Los Angeles, and Paris (as a fifth-freedom flight from Los Angeles).
Despite Air Tahiti Nui’s limited network, it’s encouraging to see very reasonable pricing for awards on the airline. Since joining Oneworld, Alaska Airlines has added multiple redemption partners with less-than-ideal reward pricing; luckily, this isn’t the case with Air Tahiti Nui.
From North America to the South Pacific (including Tahiti, Australia, New Zealand, and other islands in the region), reward bookings in business class start at 60,000 miles, while flights in Premium Economy start at 45,000 miles. Flying in economy prices out at 30,000 miles.
The costs are the same for the fifth-freedom flight from Los Angeles to Paris:
Should you wish to take the long way around from North America to Japan via the South Pacific, you can expect to pay twice the cost of flying to Tahiti directly. Note that redeeming Alaska miles for Japan Airlines or Cathay Pacific from North America to Asia would be a much better deal.
Flying from Tahiti to Asia prices out at 35,000 miles in economy, 50,000 miles in premium economy, and 70,000 miles in business class. In this case, it’d be better to use American AAdvantage miles, which only charges 40,000 miles for the same journey in business class.
Meanwhile, flying from Tahiti to Europe prices at the same cost as flying from North America to Asia with Air Tahiti Nui.
The best sweet spot is flying between North America and the South Pacific, which offers an excellent opportunity to access a difficult-to-reach part of the world on an award redemption.
For example, flights from North America to Auckland via Papeete price out at 40,000 miles in economy class, 60,000 miles in premium economy, and 80,000 miles in business class.
Compared to some of the other recent partners, such as Iberia and Royal Air Maroc, these prices are much more in the realm of reasonability. Indeed, given the remote, aspirational location, it could even represent an excellent price.
Furthermore, you can add a stopover in Tahiti at no extra cost, which is a significant benefit to using Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan.
If you’re able to find space (which can be somewhat difficult), this is a very compelling option to combine two aspirational trips in one.
Is Booking Air Tahiti Nui with Alaska Airlines a Good Deal?
The first thing to consider is that accessing Tahiti on points can be challenging. There are only a handful of airlines who fly to Papeete, and an even smaller proportion of them are available for redemptions.
Air France has a fifth-freedom flight from Los Angeles to Papeete, which can be booked for 64,000 Flying Blue miles, which is equivalent to 85,333 American Express Membership Rewards points.
The 60,000 miles flying from either Los Angeles or Seattle to Papeete is a comparably much better deal, with the caveat that Alaska miles are relatively more difficult to come by for Canadians.
It is also possible to book Air Tahiti Nui with American Airlines AAdvantage miles. A one-way flight in business class costs 80,000 AAdvantage miles.
For Canadians, AAdvantage miles aren’t the easiest to come by, either. Aside from dabbling in US credit cards, AAdvantage is a transfer partner from RBC Avion at a sub-optimal ratio of 10:7. Again, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan is the winner for booking Air Tahiti Nui.
Furthermore, the Papeete–Auckland flight opens up a compelling way to access New Zealand.
Finding business class award space to New Zealand at a reasonable cost can be very difficult indeed.
Using Aeroplan points, you’ll either be at the mercy of dynamic pricing on Air Canada flights (if you can’t find award space at the low end of the dynamic spectrum or eUpgrade space), or you’ll have to take the long way around via the Middle East, Asia, and/or Australia. Even then, the cost would price out at 105,000 Aeroplan points.
With that having been said, Aeroplan points are comparatively much easier to earn in Canada than Alaska miles, so that’s another thing to keep in mind as well.
Lastly, an honourable mention goes to the fifth-freedom flight from Los Angeles to Paris. Having another option to get a hotly-contested seat across the Atlantic is always a boon, and while this flight won’t be a game changer for everyone, it represents a solid alternative in the absence of other flights.
With Oneworld, British Airways tends to have the most ample award space, but the worst carrier-imposed surcharges. Air Tahiti Nui’s flight from Los Angeles to Paris offers a solid alternative, pricing out at 60,000 Alaska miles and a very modest US$19 in taxes and fees.
On a westbound daytime journey, having premium economy available could also be a nice fallback option in the event that business class space isn’t available.
Of course, you’d ultimately be getting significantly more value out of Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan by booking Japan Airlines First Class or Cathay Pacific First Class instead, but Air Tahiti Nui still offers good value in the case of a transatlantic trip.
Air Tahiti Nui announced a new direct flight between Papeete and Seattle, set to begin on October 4, 2022. The route is the airline’s second North American destination, which is quite easily accessible by Canadians.
Furthermore, Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan has now now added Air Tahiti Nui as a redemption partner. The redemption rates offer great value when accessing the South Pacific, New Zealand, or even France from North America, so it’s another avenue to consider when it comes time to redeem your hard-earned Alaska miles for some aspirational travel.