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Hawaii is a one-of-a-kind destination offering the warmth and exotic experience of a trip to the South Pacific without any of the hassle and expense of international travel. At the same time, 2,000 miles separate the Hawaiian islands from the US mainland, and it can be an expensive trip.
Thankfully, there are multiple ways to use points, miles, and perks to book a trip to our 50th state, and if you're looking for the best deal, we've got it below.
If you don't already have points and miles in the programs listed or need to top up your account, you can jump-start your way to a Hawaiian vacation by focusing on a few key strategic signup bonuses. For example, the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card earns 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®, or, if transferred to the right travel partner, enough points for two round-trip economy fares.
Chase Ultimate Rewards is especially valuable if you want to get to Hawaii!
Don't Use American, Delta, or United Miles. Instead, Use Partners for a Better Value!
While more people than ever before are utilizing frequent flier miles, when it comes to leveraging different programs, the majority of us still focus on legacy airlines that are now merged into just three carriers; American, Delta, and United.
United offers flights to Hawaii from the mainland United States, Alaska, and Canada for as low as 45,000 miles round-trip in economy class, and 80,000 in first or business class. Plus another 7,000 miles for any inter-island flights on airline partners if needed.
With American, you'll need the same 45,000 miles for economy and 80,000 for first class for an AAdvantage sAAver award. Unfortunately, while Delta no longer offers an award chart (meaning the miles required will be unpredictable), the best rates you can expect to find using SkyMiles are similar to what you'd see with American and United.
The only domestic carrier which does offer good value to Hawaii on points (when the cash equivalent fares are low) is Southwest Rapid Rewards. Southwest only started servicing Hawaii this year (2019), and with Rapid Rewards being a revenue-based rewards program, the award price in points is tied directly to the cash price of the ticket. In peak season when fares cost more, awards cost more points. In the low season when flights are comparatively cheap, the points cost also goes down.
When Southwest really comes into play for trips to Hawaii is for folks that have a companion pass. Already one of the most valuable perks in award travel, if you have a Compaion Pass, you can now use it to get 2-4-1 flights to Hawaii on Southwest, both on points or when paying cash!
The Solution: Flexible Points to Hawaii
Our preferred method of collecting miles to get to Hawaii is with flexible rewards programs that offer transferable points. This strategy gives you the opportunity to transfer travel rewards into mileage programs with airlines that have available award flights at the lowest rate.
There are four primary flexible rewards currencies:
- Chase Ultimate Rewards Points
- American Express Membership Rewards Points
- Citi ThankYou Points
- Marriott Points
Our favorite program for flights to Hawaii is Chase Ultimate Rewards, which offers 19 different ways to redeem points. Points can be earned with Chase's Ultimate Rewards earning cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Business Preferred℠ Credit Card. You can transfer these points at a ratio of 1 point:1 mile (in 1,000-point increments) to 7 different airlines including United, Southwestm, JetBlue, Singapore, Air France/KLM, and British Airways.
Ultimate Rewards is the Best Program for Flights to Hawaii
Chase Ultimate Rewards are the best points to use for flights to Hawaii as they offer the ability to redeem for flights with transfer partners at the best rates.
- British Airways, which counts both American and Alaska as partners, offers a distance-based award chart with flights of under 3,000 miles costing just 12,500 Avios points one-way, so 25,000 Avios round-trip. This includes non-stop flights to Hawaii operated by American and Alaska from Oakland, Phoenix, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacremento, Bellingham, San Jose, Portland, Seattle, and even Anchorage. Step through our guide on how to redeem British Airways Avios and check out the latest credit card offer for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card if you're looking to take more people to Hawaii. British Airways even allows you to pool points in their loyalty program, Executive Club, with others.
- With Singapore Krisflyer miles, you can book an award with their partner United, on flights operated by United, for 35,000 miles round-trip, and 60,000 miles in business (on a three-cabin aircraft). If you need a hand with Krisflyer, we've put together a post on how to redeem miles with Singapore Krisflyer.
- ALSO with Singapore Krisflyer miles, you can book an award with their partner Alaska, on direct flights operated by Alaska, for as low as 12,000 miles one-way. Alaska operates direct flights to Hawaii from Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Jose, Sacramento, Anchorage, and Bellingham. Outside of these airports, you'll get better value redeeming Krisflyer miles on United as you'll pay by segment to fly Alaska.
- Transfer points to Southwest Rapid Rewards. The price of an award fare with Southwest Airlines is tied directly to the cash cost of a ticket. When the prices are low, the award cost is low, and vice versa. If you can score a cheap award ticket with Southwest, it offers another option for folks earning Ultimate Rewards to get to Hawaii. Even better, if you hold a Companion Pass, you can get 2-4-1 tickets with cash or on points, slashing the cost of traveling with a companion in half!
Get to Hawaii with American Express Membership Rewards
Using points from American Express Membership Rewards, you have the option of transferring points to miles with 16 different carriers including the options previously mentioned for Delta, Singapore, and British Airways.
Additionally, Hawaiian Airlines offers Coach SuperSaver awards starting at 20,000 miles one-way, along with more available Saver and Flex awards at 30,000 and 40,000 miles each way, First class with Hawaiian starts at 40,000 miles each way.
Despite recent changes to the program, another option is Flying Blue, the frequent flyer program for Air France and KLM which offers award flights to Hawaii operated by Delta for as low as 35,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Flying Blue is one of only three airlines which partner with Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Rewards, and Marriott Rewards, making it one of the easiest programs to fund a balance for redemption.
You can earn Membership Rewards points with many American Express cards including:
- The Amex EveryDay® Credit Card from American Express
- The Platinum Card® from American Express
- Business Green Rewards Card from American Express
- American Express® Business Gold Card
- The Business Platinum® Card from American Express
Transfer Marriott Rewards Points to Korean Air Skypass
Using Korean SKYPASS miles, you can book awards to Hawaii on Delta for just 25,000 miles round-trip in economy class or 45,000 miles in first, which is a fantastic deal. If you used SkyMiles for the same flights and same seats, Delta would charge you at least 45,000 and 80,000 miles. You can transfer points from Marriott Rewards to Skypass, and be sure to check out our post on how to redeem miles within the Korean SKYPASS program.
Get Your Flights Booked
The key is knowing which points make the most sense for your unique situation. If you value flexibility, it's hard to go past Chase Ultimate Rewards with some of the best transfer partners available at the best rates. The Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card on its own is almost enough to get you one round-trip first-class ticket, or round-trip economy fares for you and a companion! Remember
Have a preferred travel rewards currency for trips to Hawaii? Let us know in the comments!
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