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For those with an acute need to relax, a curiosity for other cultures and no passport, Hawaii is a perfect vacation destination. It’s sunny, picturesque and easygoing.
Just think about it. You, chilling, on a beach, in Hawaii. It’s a nice visual, isn’t it?
Unfortunately, short of an occasional airfare sale, flights to Hawaii aren’t cheap. Fortunately, you have 10xTravel in your life to help you get to the Aloha State using miles and points.
However, with so many airline programs, how do you pick the right option and get the best value for your miles that you worked so hard to earn?
Let’s take a closer look at the best ways to fly to Hawaii using points.
British Airways Executive Club
I’m going to be upfront with you and say that British Airways (BA) Executive Club won’t benefit every traveler equally. This is only a good redemption opportunity for those on the West Coast, and the reason is simple.
The Executive Club is a distance-based program, and the number of miles needed for an award reservation is based on the distance between two airports. Naturally, one of the best ways to maximize British Airways Avios is by redeeming them for short, expensive flights.
British Airways is a member of Oneworld alliance, and so is American Airlines, which means it’s possible to use Avios for booking American-operated flights.
As mentioned above, to maximize this redemption opportunity, you want to originate in Los Angeles and fly to either Honolulu or Maui. You can also originate in Phoenix and fly to Honolulu at the same mileage rates. (Unfortunately, there are no direct flights from Phoenix to Maui.)
The flight distance falls between 2,001 miles and 3,000 miles; therefore, you need 13,000 BA Avios to book a one-way flight from mainland U.S. to Hawaii in economy class. Round-trip flights will set you back 26,000 miles.
Keep in mind that flights with connections incur more miles because the total flown distance increases.
BA also partners with Alaska Airlines, another carrier that operates Hawaii-bound flights from the United States. Alaska isn’t a part of any major airline alliance, and Mileage Plan miles aren’t a partner of any transferable mileage program. That makes Avios a pretty good option for booking Alaska-operated flights.
The downside is not having the ability to book these awards online. You have to call British Airways to find availability and complete a booking. There’s a possibility that a BA agent would charge you a phone booking fee, but we recommend to request to waive it politely.
Ways to Earn British Airways Avios
From time to time, you can transfer Amex points to British Airways at a more favorable ratio by converting your points during a promotional period. This way, you ultimately redeem fewer points for your desired flights to Hawaii.
Cards to Help You Earn British Airways Avios
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer
As you probably guessed, Singapore Airlines doesn’t fly to Hawaii from any U.S. cities, but its Star Alliance partner United Airlines does. For this reason, KrisFlyer miles can come in handy.
A one-way from the States to Hawaii in economy class can be booked for 17,500 KrisFlyer miles, which makes a round-trip itinerary cost 35,000 miles—that’s fewer miles than United charges via its own program.
Because Singapore KrisFlyer is a region-based program, a departure from any U.S. city will cost the same number of miles even if you have a connection, as long as there’s availability.
Thankfully, it’s become much easier to book Hawaii-bound flights on United Airlines by using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles since the airline switched to an online booking process. You no longer have to lock down these awards by phone.
What you want to look for is Saver awards on United.com. Keep in mind that we don’t want to see the expanded award availability open to elite flyers and co-branded United Chase cardholders. This space won’t show up in Singapore’s search engine because it’s exclusive to elite members and cardmembers, so we recommend logging out of your MileagePlus account to perform a search.
Ways to Earn Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer Miles
Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program partners with American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles, Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards. All of these points can be transferred to KrisFlyer at a ratio of 1:1 (except Capital One Miles that transfer 2:1).
Cards to Help You Earn Singapore KrisFlyer Miles
Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
This is probably the most obscure way to book flights to Hawaii, but it’s also the most economical. At 7,500 Miles&Smiles miles per direction, it’s worth a little extra work.
Turkish Airlines is another Star Alliance partner, which means United is the airline you’ll be flying by utilizing this booking method. As is the case with KrisFlyer miles, only Saver flights can be booked via the Miles&Smiles program.
To book these super-duper cheap flights, you want to go to United.com and locate available space first. Write down the dates, flight times and numbers and call Turkish Airlines at 1-800-874-8875 and provide an agent with all the information one flight at a time. Remember that not all agents are versed in booking Star Alliance partner award flights. Be patient and keep calling until you find one who does.
When an agent finds an itinerary that works for you, request to put it on hold. Turkish miles don’t transfer instantly, and you don’t want to miss out on a free flight while waiting for a transfer request to process. Once the miles are in your account, call back and ticket the award.
If you have difficulties finding an agent who knows how to book United flights with Miles&Smiles, try a different approach—via email. On the airline’s website, find a U.S. ticket sales office and locate its email address. Get in touch with the office, provide the same information as you would to a phone agent and wait for a response.
Once you receive confirmation of availability, you’ll have to initiate a point transfer and hope that the flights are still there once it’s complete. Additionally, you’ll have to send the following items via email: a redemption form, a credit card authorization form, a photocopy of your ID, a photocopy of your credit card and a photocopy of your Miles&Smiles membership card.
This process is useful for someone who doesn’t live in a city with a Turkish Airlines ticket sales office. It might sound like a hassle, but it’s how you save a ton of airline miles for a Hawaii flight.
Ways to Earn Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles
Aside from Marriott Bonvoy, the only U.S.-based transfer program of Turkish Airlines Miles&Smiles is Citi ThankYou Points. Points transfer at a 1:1 ratio, but transfers aren’t instant. It can take a day or two for a transfer to complete.
Cards to Help You Earn Turkish Miles&Smiles Miles
Air France/KLM Flying Blue
Let’s not forget SkyTeam and its bigwig partner Delta Air Lines that flies to Hawaii from many U.S. cities. The carrier’s own SkyMiles program has been the subject of disapproval since it removed award charts and changed redemption rates to dynamic pricing. However, Air France and KLM’s joint program, Flying Blue, is a good alternative here.
A one-way flight in economy requires 17,500 Flying Blue miles, or 35,000 per round-trip journey. Itineraries with connections price out the same in the same class of service.
Note than when looking for award space on Delta via Air France or KLM, you have to search one date at a time and not a range. Otherwise, you’ll get no results. The feature works when booking Air France and KLM awards, but not on other SkyTeam partners. For this reason, make sure to uncheck the box that says, “You are looking for a flight around these dates.”
Ways to Earn Flying Blue Miles
Just like Singapore KrisFlyer, Flying Blue partners with all major transferable point programs, such as American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles, Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards. Amex, Citi and Chase points transfer 1:1, but Capital One miles transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio.
American Express and Citi frequently run transfer bonuses to Flying Blue, which means you can save your flexible currency and book these flights for fewer points.
Cards to Help You Earn Flying Blue Miles
Virgin Atlantic Flying Club
Another underrated program in the bunch, Virgin Atlantic Flying Club isn’t a bad choice when it comes to redemptions on Delta-operated flights. A one-way flight from the U.S. to Hawaii comes to 20,000 miles each way, or 40,000 miles for a return trip.
Unfortunately, this rate applies to nonstop journeys only, including Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minneapolis. If you originate in a city from which a connection is required, it’ll cost you more miles.
In this case, you’re better off using the Flying Blue program to book your award flight to Hawaii.
Ways to Earn Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Miles
You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points and Chase Ultimate Rewards to Virgin Atlantic Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio.
The upside of the program is the ability to take advantage of an occasional transfer bonus from either Amex or Citi and reduce the final cost of redemption. In the past, we’ve seen transfer bonuses as high as 30%, which means that you can redeem as few as 31,000 Membership Rewards or ThankYou Points for a round-trip journey during a promo.
Cards to Help You Earn Virgin Atlantic Miles
Southwest Rapid Rewards
Although this is another available option, it’s not going to work the same for everybody. Southwest Airlines uses a revenue-based redemption system, and the number of points you need for an award ticket is tied to how much a ticket costs. This also means that redemption rates aren’t constant and are going to vary based on your exact itinerary.
The best way to use Rapid Rewards points for a flight to Hawaii—or anywhere—is when cash prices are low. Southwest runs airfare deals from time to time, and the key is to book during one of those windows.
Buying two tickets for the price of one by leveraging a Companion Pass will help reduce that cost even further. Companion Pass works on cash bookings and award redemptions the same way, which helps you burn those points for maximum value. If you’ve earned the perk, it might be the best way to reach Hawaii on points.
However, if you live in a city where Southwest isn’t prominent or don’t have a companion to fly with, this redemption option isn’t for you.
Ways to Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
One way to earn a bunch of Rapid Rewards points is by using one of its co-branded credit cards issued by Chase. The other is to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a ratio of 1:1.
Cards to Help You Earn Southwest Rapid Rewards Points
And there you have it. With so many booking options, Hawaii isn’t that far out of reach once you know how to cover airfare with points and miles. Lodging is another story and can get quite pricey, but that aspect can be taken care of with rewards credit cards as well.
So, what are you waiting for? By following our guide, you’re that much closer to sipping quintessential tropical cocktails while watching the waves crash on the beach in Hawaii.
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Editors Note: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.