How we booked our trip to Bora Bora for nearly FREE (valued over $10,000)

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Updated: Feb 1, 2024

I’m one of those people who tends to get a sudden urge to book something. Whether it’s a big trip or a small one, I get this adrenaline rush. And that’s what happened here. Thanks to Beverly S., a good friend, and rock star travel enthusiast. She and her husband, Ryan, visited Conrad Bora Bora Nui. Click here for a room tour video. 

Beverly and Ryan are active members of my Facebook travel group page, Daddy Travels Miles & Points. She came across a wide availalbility of standard rooms at Conrad Bora Bora. Here’s what Beverly wrote:

Wide standard reward availability for the Conrad Bora Bora Nui from December to March 2024. 120k Hilton points per night, 480k points for 5 nights with 5th night free. Standard award availability is notoriously difficult to find there, so definitely jump on this chance if you’re able to. Whenever I’ve seen this come up in the past, standard award availability is almost all gone again by the next day.
NOTE: Please know that availaibility is subject to change.
Image courtesy of HIlton

Points hoarder

There is no denying that if you’ve been following me on my Facebook group page or on my Instagram account, you would know that we are huge Hyatt fans. This means that while I have loyalty accounts and points with HIlton, Marriott, and IHG, I very rarely use them since Hyatt has been quite good to us. What’s my point? When Beverly posted that 480,000 points were needed to book 5 nights at 120,000 per night, and you get the 5th night free, I quickly looked at my Hilton Honors account, and voila, I had more than enough points earned with Hilton, and this aspirational trip was suddenly within reach.

How did I earn my Hilton points

480,000 points? Where in the world did I get those points? You guessed it. Sign up bonus offers from credit cards that earn Hilton bonus points.
  • Hilton Honors American Express Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Surpass® Card
  • Hilton Honors American Express Aspire Card
  • The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card
American Express has year-round offers, and there are times when the offers are increased where you get to earn more points, or receive FREE night reward. That was my strategy. I applied for different cards when there were increased sign up bonus offers. Nancy and I partnered in applying for these cards separately and we were able to combine our points easily.

The chicken or the egg

Ok. So which came first? The hotel booking or the flight booking? I made a conscious decision to book the hotel first. Why? These deals with the Conrad Bora Bora DO NOT last long. The 120K per night tends to get snapped up by those looking for a low-cost booking like myself. I had nothing to lose. I had the points, I was still 4 months away from my target travel dates. So I booked our hotel stay first. I looked for 5 nights that were charging 120K per night. I found 5 nights in January 2024 in a King Lagoon View Suite. I snagged the 5 nights once I saw they were available. If things change, I could cancel up to 30-days before check in and with no penalty.
King Lagoon View Suite

 

 

The flight

This is what I learned. From the US, one would have to fly to Tahiti first via PPT, from there, you then take a 50-minute flight to Bora Bora. Once you arrive in BOB (Bora Bora Airport), you take one more ride, a short boat ride to the resort.

I wanted to see if I could find a way for me and Nancy to fly business class by searching via Air France and American Airlines. Unfortunately, my dates would not work with the available dates that I found via American Airlines (flying Air Tahiti Nui).

With Air France, while there were business class seats avaialble on our travel days, a sweet spot would be to find something in the range of 63,000 – 74,000 per person each way. However, luck was not on my side. For my travel dates, one way from LAX to PPT was going to cost 547,000 miles per person….so yes, that was only for a one-way for one person. And if two of us were going, we would need over 1 million points for our specific travel dates just to fly business class one way…..NO WAY!

$10.10 to South Pacific (Bora Bora) using points

We are no stranger to flying coach/economy. I checked Air France website, and plugged in my dates, and found 57,000 + $20.20 for 2 passengers. That’s 28,500 points per peson + $10.10 in fees. For the return flight, it was also another 57,000 points + $146.10 for two of us.  This means, we would need:

  • LAX-PPT – 57,000 + $20.20
  • PPT- LAX – 57,000 + $146.10

Total round trip for two = 114,000 + $166.30 But it gets better.

Take advantage of Transfer Bonus offers

At the time of my booking, lucky for us, there was a 25% transfer bonus offer from American Express to Flying Blue (Air France/KLM). So instead of transferring 114,000 points, all I needed to transfer were 93 000 points in order to get to 114.000 with the 25% bonus. That’s about 46,500 points per person and we were able to book two round trip tickets from Los Angeles to PPT flying coach.

What if we paid cash for our flights

If we had paid for our flights in cash, that would’ve cost us $2,438.50 for the two of us. Instead, we used 93,000 American Express Membership Rewards + fees of $166.30 to fly to Papeete and back to Los Angeles.

Cash rate from LAX-PPT round trip for 2 in coach

I know it’s not first class nor business class

In my mind, my travel redemptions are the ones that I value most. These rooms at Conrad Bora Bora Nui opened up a few days ago, and many others have began grabbing different dates to take advantage of the deal. I figured, we’re no strangers to flying coach or economy, therefore, to use 46,.500 points per person round trip, we get to fly to the French Polynesia for the very first time.

Not too shabby

So there you have it. We booked our 5 nights valued at $8,305 + our flights worth $2,438.50. This would have easily set us over $10,700. But instead, we used our points that we’ve earned from our credit cards, and the only out pocket we’ve had to pay were the fees of $166.30.

My to-do list

  • I already booked a hotel near the airport in PPT when we arrive. Since we’re arriving early evening, we chose to just stay the night at budget airport property for around $100 per night, and used the $50 hotel statement credit with our Chase Sapphire Preferred.
  • I have yet to book the round trip flights to BOB Airport, around $300 per person
  • Plus, the shuttle boat ride from BOB to Conrad Bora Bora (approx $22 round trip)

Which credit cards earn points that work with Flying Blue/Air France/KLM

The good news, just about every major credit card company out there has a partnership with Flying Blue/Air France/KLM.

The reward programs that work are the following:

  • Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • American Express Membership Rewards®
  • Citi ThankYou®Points
  • Capital One Miles
  • Marriott Bonvoy
  • BILT Rewards

The following credit card programs are Flying Blue/KLM/Air France transfer partners.

American Express

These points with American Express Membership Rewards transfer at 1:1 ratio to Flying Blue. These are some of my favorite cards that earn Membership Rewards

  • The Platinum Card® from American Express
  • The Business Platinum Card® from American Express
  • American Express® Business Gold Card
  • The Blue Business® Plus Credit Card from American Express

Chase

Chase Ultimate Rewards also transfer to to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1. The following cards earn Ultimate Rewards:

  • Chase Sapphire Reserve®
  • Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
  • Chase Freedom Flex℠
  • Chase Freedom Unlimited®
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
  • Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card

Something to keep in mind. You would need to have a card such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve® ,or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card in order to transfer to travel partners.

Citi

Citi ThankYou® Points transfer also transfer to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1. The ones that are commonly known are:

  • Citi Premier® Card
  • Citi® Double Cash Card
  • Citi Rewards+® Card
  • Citi Custom Cash℠ Card
  • Citi Prestige® Card

Capital One

Capital One Rewards also transfer to Flying Blue at a ratio of 1:1. Here are the popular Capital One cards that earn Capital One Miles:

  • Capital One Venture X
  • Capital One Venture One
  • Capital One Venture
  • Capital One Spark Miles for Business

Marriott Bonvoy

Marriott Rewards points also transfer over to Flying Blue at a ratio of 3:1. You do get a 5,000 bonus when you transfer 60,000 points.

  • Marriott Bonvoy Bold® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Bevy™ American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card
  • Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card

BILT Rewards

BILT is one of the credit cards that came out within the past couple of years. When you ask the typical huge expense, the answer is pretty standard – rent and mortgage. This is where BILT comes in – you can earn points when you pay rent.

For more travel deals and tips, follow me on my travel page on Facebook or Instagram or YouTube or Twitter

Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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