By Mary Forgione
Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
7:30 AM PST, January 30, 2013
The free stopover in Tahiti is back. Each year Air Tahiti Nui offers a free three-night stay in Tahiti for travelers who book a trip to New Zealand or Australia. It's a great way to break up the trip and explore a bit of French Polynesia, too.
The deal: The airline, the official carrier of Tahiti and the islands, offers three nights at Le Meridien Tahiti or Manava Suite Resort Tahiti. The add-on is good for those who book round-trip airfare from Los Angeles to Auckland, New Zealand, or Sydney and other cities in Australia. Airfare starts at $1,298 per person, and the flight to Tahiti takes about eight hours.
There are upgrades available for different hotel options (i.e., add $250 per person for all three nights to stay in an overwater bungalow at Le Meridien Tahiti). Once you make the airline reservation, you have 10 days to reserve a hotel.
When: Tickets must be purchased by Sunday for travel from Feb. 25 to June 15.
Tested: You have to call the airline to book the flights and then make hotel reservations online. The cheapest airfare applies to L.A.-Auckland flights between Feb. 25 and May 31. In checking the deal, I found I had to be very flexible with dates to keep the price down.
A reservation agent found flights from L.A. to Tahiti on March 17, Tahiti to Auckland on March 20 and a return flight to Los Angeles on April 4. The airfare came to $1,424 with taxes and fees, a bit higher because of the dates I selected. Even so, the stopover in Tahiti is a real bonus and more than compensates for the $126 difference.
Contact: Air Tahiti Nui, (877) 824-4846
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