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Business Class to French Polynesia – Fees On Delta vs Air France

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One of our best dream award vacations was to French Polynesia. We were fortunate enough to use Delta SkyMiles to fly on Air France in business class. By using airline miles we took a trip to French Polynesia we would not otherwise have been able to afford. We experienced our first ever over water bungalows at the Hilton Moorea and InterContinental Bora Bora as well as some fun activities on Bora Bora.

We decided it would be a good idea to compare redemption options between Air France Flying Blue and Delta SkyMiles since they are both in SkyTeam. View from the Wing recently pointed to a post by Loyalty Lobby which shares a way to earn 50k Air France Flying Blue miles through 3 day Avis car rentals. So if you thought Air France Flying Blue miles were out of your reach, they may have just got a bit closer.

Business Class Award Cost To French Polynesia Using Flying Blue Miles

An award ticket to French Polynesia on Air France using Flying Blue miles will cost you 120,000 miles at the low award level. This award will cost $572.40 in taxes in fees if you only fly the Los Angeles to Papeete segments. This route is often very difficult to find availability in Business Class on Air France. Thankfully, you can use a combination of partners as well.

Air France Flying Blue Business Class Award Cost

Earlier this year I demonstrated how we booked two business class tickets on Air France using Delta SkyMiles by remaining flexible with our routing.

Business Class Award Cost To French Polynesia Using Delta SkyMiles

An award ticket to French Polynesia using Delta SkyMiles will cost you 150,000 SkyMiles at the low award level. This award will cost $53 in taxes in fees if you only fly the Los Angeles to Papeete segments.

Delta SkyMiles Business Class Award Cost

I recently booked a business class ticket to French Polynesia for a friend using Delta SkyMiles for only 150,000 SkyMiles. The ticket was booked on Delta’s partner airline Air Tahiti. The business class award had a higher fee than the $53 normally charged for the Air France flight from LAX to PPT. This is because Delta is reported to charge a YQ-fuel surcharge for Air Tahiti flights in the amount of $356 USD. Currently, the work around to avoid this fee is to find an Air France codeshare with Air Tahiti and book that ticket using miles. This will allow your ticket to be viewed as an Air France coded flight to Delta, thus avoiding the extra YQ fee. But for this work around to work the stars have to be aligned with both availability and an Air France coded flight, which was not the case in this booking.

In addition, Delta did not show a low award availability to LAX from the east coast. If we didn’t find low availability, Delta would have priced the ticket higher by 80,000 SkyMiles. So we got creative with partners to save 80,000 SkyMiles but incurred a higher fee.

Bottom line

There are trade-offs to booking a business class award ticket to French Polynesia with Air France Flying Blue or Delta SkyMiles. A SkyMiles award ticket requires 150k miles, but incurs a lower fee while a Flying Blue award ticket requires only 120k miles with a higher fee.

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Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

About the Author

About the author: The Weekly Flyer is writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way. Feel free to reach me at theweeklyflyer@gmail.com

{ 7 comments… add one }

  • Mac April 7, 2012, 9:40 pm

    Nice post! Enjoy these cross-program comparisons of similar redemptions.

    Another great option for the same flights to PPT is a transfer of Chase UR points to Korean Air Skypass. Was it you that did an analysis of that or Frequent Miler? Can’t remember – anyway I understand that KE only charges 90,000 points for the same r/t “J” redemption (not sure about YQ fees however, but shouldn’t be worse than Flying Blue).

    Also don’t forgot about HA which is also bookable using Skymiles at DL.com and might be easier for those than are coming from places other than LA by instead connecting in HNL using AS metal and then HA metal from HNL to PPT.

  • The Weekly Flyer April 7, 2012, 9:44 pm

    Hi Mac – Thanks for the note, glad you find these types of posts helpful.

    I did the original analysis of the Chase UR to Korean SkyPass option to get business class for only 90k UR points. Then I updated based on a follow up with Korean SkyPass.

    Original:
    http://pointsmilesandmartinis.boardingarea.com/2011/12/booking-award-flight-to-french-polynesia-with-chase-sapphire-preferred-and-chase-ink-bold-bonuses/

    Update:
    http://pointsmilesandmartinis.boardingarea.com/2011/12/4373/

    Verdict, the Chase UR to Korean SkyPass appears even more difficult to get than the Air France or Air Tahiti option. Would be great to hear of any success with this approach. I unfortunately have struck out on numerous occasions.

  • The Weekly Flyer April 7, 2012, 9:45 pm

    Hi Mac – Forgot to mention about HA. Their limited schedule makes them difficult to make that flight work. But could tie in nicely to a stop over in Hawaii on the outbound or return. We considered this for my friends flight, but the dates did not work.

  • Alan April 8, 2012, 2:14 am

    It seems that DL is charging YQ on most partners, including, CZ, MU, MH, SU, and TN.

  • Gary April 8, 2012, 4:22 am

    @Alan not sure it constitutes most partners, but don’t forget to add VA to the list. And then there are the fees for originating in Europe..

  • The Weekly Flyer April 8, 2012, 7:18 am

    Alan / Gary – TMTravelWorld has a good summary of fuel surcharges which I linked in my post above. Troy didn’t believe Delta collected for Czech, but he wasn’t sure.

    http://travel.usatoday.com/alliance/flights/boardingarea/post/2011/01/TMtravelworld—Summary-of-North-American-airlines-charges-fuel-surcharge-for-aware-redemption/138879/1

  • Melis April 30, 2012, 6:14 pm

    Thank you for such insight. Correct me if i’m wrong; you are saying that for all Delta flights booked on AirTahiti a YQ-fuel surcharge applies? I am a Delta skymiles member and want to convert my miles to AirTahiti and fly economy class. Do you think that this charge will apply to me?

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