Air France – KLM Flying Blue, one of the most versatile and valuable frequent flyer programs for American Express, Chase Sapphire and Citi ThankYou credit card holders, appears to have added a new partner airline, while telling no one.
Air Tahiti Nui is one of very few options to get to the French Polynesian Islands. Air France also operates service there several times weekly. Previously, the only widely used frequent flyer program with any redemption opportunity on Air Tahiti Nui was American Airlines AAdvantage, a program with no bank credit card transfer partners.
Sometime between now and the last time I looked for flights to Tahiti — I’ll make a rough guess and say May or June — Air Tahiti Nui’s Los Angeles to Papeete flights became bookable using Flying Blue miles.
This change comes after Air France entered into a codeshare agreement, which allows both airlines to sell tickets and share revenue on the Los Angeles to Papeete route.
For now, Air France has a far better business class cabin on this flight, but Air Tahiti Nui will level the field somewhat as it takes delivery of new Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners.
The Air Tahiti Nui Dreamliners will eventually replace the Tahitian flag carrier’s aging Airbus A340 fleet, with angle-flat seats. Air Tahiti has installed a version of the B/E Diamond business class seating currently in use on United Airlines’ 787 Dreamliners.
Tahiti is one of the most difficult and frustrating destinations for points and miles hackers. This development should make it much easier to use credit card points to get to Tahiti.