I centered my Ann Arbor Art Fair DO talk on the Pacific, leading with the Pacific according to FlyerTalk:
There’s a lot more between Hawaii and New Zealand than Tahiti. The miles and points community fixates on a few things: Paris, Maldives, first class (to Maldives) on Gulf carriers.
Even in the general travel world Micronesia has all but disappeared with the last dedicated guidebook published in 2003 and Lonely Planet dropping coverage after 2006, while scaling back South Pacific coverage to a few major destinations.
In my talk I got Drew of Travel is Free thinking with this FlyingBlue snapshot of last minute Aircalin Tokyo-Noumea, New Caledonia business class award availability. Look for him to publish something way cooler than I could imagine.
I have been island hopping a lot the past few months, finding the region on the cusp of going mainstream beyond Australia/New Zealand package tourists. Fiji is the hub and I have been hearing more American accents than I expected. When One Mile at a Time heads that way this fall, coverage in our niche will increase.
I will be devoting a series of posts over the coming weeks on developments in the Pacific, such as:
- Vastly improved, reliable airlines such as Fiji Airways, Aircalin and Nauru Airlines, in addition to the Australia/New Zealand carriers
- Flexible mileage earn and redeem options
- Better US flight options and codeshares that help ticketing beyond LAX (see, for instance recent fare deal on LA-Rarotonga, a weekly Air New Zealand flight that I just took in poor man’s economy – 3 across all to myself)
- Increasing points hotel stock, and not just in Fiji (plus, Park Hyatt Auckland in 2018)
The Pacific has fewer general purpose, affordable beach options than the Caribbean. Indeed, I have been in the water rather few times on my trips. Many islands are very specialist appeal so picking wisely is key.
Readers, what Pacific islands have you visited?