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Booking award flights to Hawaii requires a different strategy than domestic flights within the continuous 48 states. Despite the natural inclination to transfer American Express Membership Rewards directly to Delta or Hawaiian Airlines, there are much better ways to save valuable points when flying to The Aloha State. Luckily, the Amex transfer partners provide options to fly on all three legacy (Delta, American, and United) US carriers.
Singapore Airlines (KrisFlyer)
The first option is to transfer Membership Rewards to Singapore Airlines. As a Star Alliance member, you can leverage KrisFlyer miles to redeem award flights on Star Alliance carriers. The sweet spot here is flying on United from the US mainland to Hawaii using KrisFlyer miles.
Singapore Airlines charges far fewer miles than what United requires for the same routes. Additionally, Singapore charges the same rate to fly to Hawaii from the East Coast as it does from the West Coast! Unlike other programs, you will only pay 17,500 miles for both non-stop and multi-segmented itineraries.
Furthermore, you can book an award with KrisFlyer partner Alaska for as little as 12,000 miles one-way. Redemptions are only good on direct flights operated by Alaska which includes direct flights from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Anchorage, and Bellingham.
This is a fantastic option for flying United as Avianca (Another Membership Rewards transfer partner and Star Alliance member) charges the same rate as United Saver Awards. Those start at 22,500 miles each way for routes to Hawaii.
Air France/KLM (Flying Blue)
Flying Blue, the loyalty program for Air France and KLM, provides the ability to redeem with Delta as Air France (and KLM) are members of SkyTeam. An excellent sweet spot for Flying Blue is flying from the continental US to Hawaii for 17,500 miles; that even includes the East Coast.
We highly recommend calling and speaking with an agent rather than booking online. Before you call try using the Flying Blue miles price estimator to get a general idea of how many miles a specific route requires. This will help gauge how many Membership Rewards you'll need to transfer once an agent confirms there is award availability.
Virgin Atlantic (Flying Club)
Another option for booking Delta flights to Hawaii is using Virgin Atlantic miles. Although the Virgin Atlantic website can be buggy at times, it’s relatively easy to navigate once you’re familiar with it. The new nonstop Detroit to Honolulu route scheduled to start on June 29, 2019, is available for only 37,500 Virgin Atlantic miles in the Delta One first class cabin. Economy flights start at 20,000 miles one way for non-stop routes.
These are incredible options for flying non-stop from the Midwest to Hawaii.
Compare that to Delta demanding 75,000 SkyMiles for the same flight.
British Airways (Executive Club)
British Airways participates in the Avios program along with two other Membership Rewards transfer partners: Iberia and Aer Lingus. Again, Avios never fail to provide ridiculously cheap domestic awards.
Much like we detailed in the previous US domestic sweet spots post, Avios are incredibly handy for Hawaii redemptions too. It’s possible to leverage Avios for award redemptions on both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines.
The cheapest rate for a Hawaii flight originating from the West Coast prices out at only 12,500 Avios for a one-way economy ticket. However, flying from the East Coast to Hawaii requires 25,000 Avios. Also, keep in mind that American Airlines flies some great aircraft with lie-flat seats on Hawaiian routes like the Boeing 777-200 on DFW-HNL and DFW-OGG. If you can find availability, try to snag a premium cabin starting at only 30,000 Avios.
Thanks to the vast array of Amex transfer partners, there are options to cash in across all three airline alliances. No matter which airport/hub you live near, Membership Rewards provide the ability to redeem in a variety of ways. The best course of action is to begin your search early and above all else be flexible with dates and routes.
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