Award Flights To French Polynesia With Chase Ultimate Rewards, Korean Air And Other Airline Options - Points Miles and Martinis


Since I just posted my entire trip report on French Polynesia, I received many comments and emails expressing their interest and asking me the best way to redeem points for a trip. I guess those pictures looked pretty enticing!

In this post I’ll demonstrate how you can book an award ticket to French Polynesia by transferring Chase Ultimate Reward points to airlines programs. As most of you know the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card card and the Chase Ink Bold card are each offering 40,000 and 50,000 bonus Chase Ultimate Reward points. You can apply for the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (apply here) and the Chase Ink Bold (apply here) to earn a total of 90,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points. This combined sign up bonus is enough for a business class ticket to French Polynesia from the USA.

The Ultimate Rewards program allows transfers to a number of airlines including Korean, United, and British Airways. These transfer partners provide several options to get to French Polynesia including Korean Air partners Air France and Hawaiian Airlines, United partner Air New Zealand, British Airways partner LAN Airlines. Korean Air advertises an option to book the Air France flight from LAX to PPT for 90k in Business Class. Below is an illustration on how to book an award with Korean Air.

Booking An Award With Korean Air

1) Review The Award Chart From Your Departure Area

The USA to Tahiti in Business Class flight for 90,000 looks like the gem for this program. In the past I have used Delta SkyMiles to book the Air France flight to French Polynesia in Business Class for 150,000 SkyMiles per ticket. So booking through Korean Air for 90,000 in Business Class would be a significant savings over Delta. By transferring 90,000 Chase Ultimate Reward points to Korean Airlines you should have enough miles for a Business Class ticket from LAX to PPT.

2) Understand The General Tips & Terms

Korean Air partner airline awards are only available for round trip. But if you book on Korean metal you can book a one way award. Unused award tickets can be fully refunded into the members account within one year. A maximum of 8 segments with two stop overs total are allowed. Open Jaw’s are considered a stop over.

3) Review Ineligible Flight Ranges And Plan Your Routing

Korean Air publishes ineligible flight ranges for certain carriers. The trick is to make sure you flight number is not one of the ineligible flights. The flight from LAX to PPT with Air France is eligible since the flight number is 76 and 77. In addition the Air Tahiti code share with Air France is flight number 676 which is also eligible.

4) Transfer Your Miles From Ultimate Rewards To Korean

You can transfer your Ultimate Rewards points to SKYPASS miles at a 1:1 ratio. The miles will be deposited within 3-5 business days after the request for redemption is made.

5) Find Availability

One way to find availability on the Air France LAX > PPT flight is through Airfrance.us. I used this method to redeem Delta SkyMiles to French Polynesia. You can also find availability with Delta, Award Nexus, or Expert Flyer.

6) Book Flights To French Polynesia With Korean Air SkyPass Miles

You must book SkyTeam awards by calling the SkyPass service center at 1-800-438-5000 from Monday through Friday 8:30 AM – 5:30 PM PST. The award can be issued only at Korean Air ticketing office and is not available at the airport. Ticketing is permitted when all segments hold confirmed seats.

Below is the exchange I had with the Korean Air agent when I tried to book the USA to Tahiti flight using SkyPass miles.

Me: I’d like to book a business class ticket on a SkyPass partner airline Air France from USA to Tahiti. The departure airport is LAX and the arrival airport is PPT.

Agent: Ok, Let me look. That will be 165,000 SkyPass miles for USA to South Pacific

Me: But your website says 90,000 miles for the AF Flight from USA to Tahiti. I’d like to use that mileage amount, can you check again?

Agent: Ok, where did you see that?

Me: On your website under partner airline awards, note #1

Agent: Ok, I see that. Sir, the airport code PPT is in French Polynesia not Tahiti

Me: PPT is on Tahiti

Agent: Please provide me your phone number and I will call you back

Me: {I hang up and call back but get the same agent. I repeat my request}

Agent: Sir, the website clearly states that the flight is 90,000 but the system shows 165,000. Let me check with the head office and get back to you.

Other Chase Ultimate Reward Options To French Polynesia

  • Hawaiian Airlines HNL to PPT in Business Class – This option requires 60k miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to Korean in order to redeemed on Hawaiian. Must originate and end flight in Hawaii to get this award price.
  • LAN Airlines SCL to PPT in Business Class – This option requires 100k miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to British Airways and redeemed on LAN Airlines. Must originate and end flight in South America to get this award price.
  • Air New Zealand from AKL to PPT in Business Class – This option requires 50k miles transferred from Chase Ultimate Rewards to United and redeemed on Air New Zealand flights. Must originate and end flight in Australia / New Zealand to get this award price.

Bottom Line

By taking advantage of the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, the Chase Ink Bold (here), and the Chase Ink Plus offers you can earn a total of 90,000 Ultimate Rewards points that can be redeemed for some great flights to French Polynesia. Korean Airlines advertises a great mileage value when compared to Delta for an award from the USA to French Polynesia.

**Update: I have received confirmation from Korean Air SkyPass agents that the USA to Tahiti flight is indeed only 90,000 miles for business class redemption.

Be sure to read the post I shared on how to avoid common credit card sign up bonus mistakes.

 

*Points, Miles and Martinis will earn a small referral fee for successful Chase Sapphire Preferred and Ink Bold applications through the affiliate links in this post

  • Levi Flight said,

    Thank you for this summary. Having primarily *A access through UA but holding a Chase Sapphire card I have been wonmdering both how to get to the South Pacific and the value of transfering miles to Korean Airlines. You hit both nails on the head in one! I did make a silly mistake of over eagerly transfering points to UA when my 50k bonus came but as I use the card for travel expenses they points are building up surprizingly quickly.

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Hi Levi Flight – Thanks for the remarks, glad you enjoyed the report.

  • infamousdx said,

    Wow at 90k compared to the 150k SkyMiles, this sounds great. Thanks for bringing this to light!

  • Jo said,

    I think the “note 1″ is referring to, with Air France, it is 90K miles one way. The agent is quoting you round trip and that is 165K (165K NOT on Air France).

    90 x 2 = 180K will make more sense with Air France compare to 165K with Korean metal.

    There is NO way it is 90K round trip, and it’s just too good to be true.

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Hi Jo – That is what I though to for a moment. The agent quoted me 165k for a flight on AF and Delta which is less than 180k (90×2).

    The only way that could be the case is if she quoted me the Delta codeshare with Air France instead of AF, Delta doesn’t fly metal on this route but does have a code share.

    However, if you look at note 3, they specifically call out ‘one-way’ pricing. Why would they call out one-way in that note but not the other?
    Either way I’ll report back what Korean says when they figure out how much it costs.

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Also, Skyteam awards are not permitted to be one-way. All other redemptions in the chart are in round trip as well.

    Still getting answersdirectly from a person at Korean has not been very easy.

  • Antony said,

    I think the ineligible fligt ranges that Korean indicates (in your Step 3)is actually the flight numbers for the respective airlines, rather than the distance. It otherwise does not makes any sense, for eg. Air Europa 017-018, any flight exists in that distance range?

  • Antony said,

    Accordingly, in step 3) all you need to do is to check the flight number to see if it is ineligible.

    Great find indeed!

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Hi Antony – That makes sense. If so it just got so much easier to redeem. I’ll update accordingly.

  • Ralph said,

    I’ve been researching on the best way to use miles for a business class flight to Tahiti and this is the first I’ve read of this method. This absolutely sounds like the best value.

    My questions is would this work from JFK? It does say USA-Tahiti but on Air France and to get from JFK to LAX would require flying DL which seems to not be included in the 90k. Thoughts?

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Hi Ralph – Delta can be included in the ticket. The issue will be getting Korean Air to 1) Agree to the 90k award limit – which I did by pointing them to their site and then 2) Getting them to find availability on Air France – which I did by searching on Airfrance.us, but the agent I had was not able to process the ticket.

    It is absolutely the best value, but will require work to get it booked. Make sure you do a few test runs before you transfer all of your points over to Korean Sky Pass.

  • Ralph said,

    Thanks for the help!

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  • Nikki O said,

    I’m trying to figure out the best way to fly to Bora Bora for my 10 year anniversary in May. Has anyone tried this method?

  • Tony S said,

    I’m new to miles rewards, but am very intrigued by the Tahiti deal. My question is if I am coming from Atlanta, is the the connecting flight to LAX part of the 60,000/90,000 miles? Or do I need to book a separate flight to LAX? Thanks!

  • The Weekly Flyer said,

    Hi Tony – Yes, the domestic portion would be included but there are 2 issues. First, Delta’s availability is hard to find on the transcontinental flights in BE. Second, I haven’t been able to get Korean Air to price this award as it is stated on their award chart.

  • Tony S said,

    Thanks for the reply? My apologies but what is BE?

    As for Korean Air, I spoke with 2 different reps (actually 3…was hung up on me). They both gave me 2 different answers. First rep told me I had to contact my local Korean Air service center because the LAX-PPT leg was through Air Tahiti NUI, and he couldn’t book through his system. Called my local service center and they said they had no idea what I was talking about as they can’t make reservations. Called back, got hung up on. Called again, and the 3rd rep quoted me 30,000 miles !!!! for economy roundtrip and 165,000 miles for business. Would have booked the economy flight right away but my awards haven’t posted yet, though I’m assuming he did something wrong to get that quote.

  • Tony S said,

    ps. Didn’t mean to put a ? after reply. Don’t know how to edit my post.

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  • derick t said,

    so every time i check the AF website there is never availability from july on… then when i go to expert flyer , it says “invalid flight date” for every day of the week for 3 months…Anyone else have issues with that?

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  • derick said,

    so when i go to korean air award booking, it doesnt even have PPT as an available destination

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