Bora Bora is a dream destination for many, and for good reason. Staying in an overwater bungalow is a bucket list must for both the avid and novice traveller. While it is true that a trip to the French Polynesian Islands can set you back thousands, this step-by-step guide will show you how to hack your way into getting to Bora Bora and staying in an overwater bungalow for basically free ! (I’m serious.) Keep reading to learn how I used credit card points and rewards travel to have a luxury Bora Bora vacation for a fraction of the cost. Need more inspiration to keep reading? Check out my Bora Bora drone video below or read my Bora Bora FAQ
Hack 1: Getting to Bora Bora via Free flights to Tahiti
There are no first year annual fees on either card, and signing up will give you 60k* points each.
*Bonus offers may change. The current offer will be listed on the credit card site.
Step 2: Spend $3,000 on each card to earn your 120k points. Put ALL your living expenses on both these cards to acquire your points quickly. Pay your home bills, your phone bills, car payments, groceries; when you go out with friends pay for all food and drinks and have them Venmo you back their share, go crazy at Sephora…..do what ya gotta do to get those points. If you don’t think your regular spending will cover it, or if you are looking for a different way to acquire points that doesn’t involve using your money or paying your bills, read this post.
Step 3: Use your 120k points to book your 80k point flight direct (from Los Angeles) to Tahiti via Air Tahiti and still have 40k points left over.
Step 4: Stay in Tahiti as a cheaper alternative to Bora Bora, or you can use your remaining 40k points towards another trip (i.e. 25k points round-trip from LA to NYC which saves you hundreds of dollars) and use the money you didn’t spend for that flight to pay for your $200 round-trip ticket to Bora Bora from Tahiti (because you can’t use points to book local, inter-island flights.)
Step 5: Enjoy Paradise.
United is now offering service to Tahiti via San Francisco.
Hack 2: How to score Free Nights in an Overwater Bungalow at Le Moana
Applying for this credit card will give you about 120k IHG points and will give you platinum status with IHG hotels. The IHG Bora Bora resort Le Moana will run you about 70k per night. You can then book a regular room at the resort and use your platinum status to score a free upgrade to an overwater bungalow. Traveling with someone? Have them do the same and book 1 more free night for a total of 2 free nights in Bora Bora.
This card also comes with Anniversary Free Night is valid at IHG® Hotels with a current point redemption level of 40,000 points. This will offset the 89$ annual fee.**
More free nights: Overwater bungalows at Le Meridien Bora Bora
This card also comes with Anniversary Free Night valued at 35k points, which will offset the $95 annual fee.
**A note on credit cards and frequently asked concerns: Opening and closing credit cards only puts a temporary dip of up to 10% of your score, which should not be a problem unless you already have really really bad credit. After the year is up on these credit cards and annual fees begin to incur, don’t cancel the cards but rather call the credit card company and ask to downgrade to a card with no annual fee. Now you have the option of either putting the cards away or if you’re organized and can keep track of multiple card payments, then you can continue using the cards and accrue more points. When you eventually want to cancel a credit card, consider applying for a new one and using that credit line as leverage. You can then use the perks of your new card to travel hack to another destination. The IHG card does have an annual fee of $49.00 as does the $95.00 Mariott card but it pays itself off because you get a free night voucher each year which is obviously worth much more than the fee itself. Therefore, it is recommended to keep these card and use the free night annually.
Related reading: All about traveling to Bora Bora (Frequently Asked Questions)
Related reading: Bora Bora vs. Maldives
Related reading: Best Credit Cards for travel
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