Paradise, on the cheap

With all the (mostly warranted) grumbling about the lack of available seats for frequent flyer program members, it's no wonder that award discounts are few and far between. In addition to being rare, free-seat deals are doubly valuable.

First and most obviously, it's always better to pay less.

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And second, flights that are discounted are generally also flights for which there are ample seats allocated for award use. Reason: it would be P.R. suicide to promote flights which were less than reliably available. So when an airline makes an award available for less, the implicit message isn't just "cheaper," it's also "more available."

That's all by way of context for discussing the following award promotion for members of American's AAdvantage program: Through May 31, they can redeem 30,000 miles (rather than the 75,000 normally required) for a round-trip coach flight between New York and Papeete, Tahiti, on Air Tahiti Nui.

That's exceptional value, and, assuming seats are readily available, an unusual opportunity to visit a truly exotic part of the world.

There's one drawback to the offer: The 30,000-mile award does not include a connecting flight to New York. But even if you had to purchase a cheap ticket from your hometown airport to connect with an Air Tahiti flight at New York's Kennedy Airport, this would be a deal worth serious consideration.

If paradise is good, paradise for less is better, and paradise with fewer capacity restrictions is, well, truly paradise.

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