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Aloha my friends! Hawaii is the place that dreams are made of. If you haven’t been, stick with me and I’ll show you how to make your dream vacation a reality without costing you a small fortune. If you have been then you are probably like me and want to return again and again and again! When it comes to a Hawaiian vacation the biggest hurdle to cross is getting there! Luckily, through credit card points you can get there for nearly free! In this guide, I’ll explain all the best ways to get to Hawaii on points. We’ll talk Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards, Citi ThankYou Points, and some co-branded airline cards.
I like transferable points when it comes to booking to Hawaii because you have multiple options. If you can’t find dates on one airline you can try another. That being said, sometimes award travel requires a little bit of flexibility. By changing your travel days and leaving a day or two earlier than you originally planned you can sometimes save a lot of points! I recommend searching using the flexible dates feature offered on the airline website when possible. One thing I want to stress is never transfer points from one of your transferable accounts to one of their partners until you have confirmed that the seats are available. Once points are transferred they are stuck in that particular loyalty account.
Make sure to check out the Turkish Miles and Smiles option with Citi ThankYou Points, it’s pretty incredible! Lately, Southwest has been my go-to when flying to Hawaii. If you are a West Coaster or towards the West, like me in Utah, then I would look into Southwest.
I also want to add a disclaimer ????…My goal with this blog is to keep things simple and less overwhelming. At the same time, there are some times where I feel like I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t tell you all your options. I’ll try to keep it as simple as I can but please, contact me if you have any questions!
There are a variety of ways to get to Hawaii using Chase Ultimate Reward points. The following three cards allow you to transfer your points to Chase travel partners:
Chase Sapphire Preferred- 60,000 point sign up bonus
Chase Sapphire Reserve- 50,000 point sign up bonus
Ink Business Preferred- 100,000 points sign up bonus
You can also open any of the no-fee cards and combine those points with one of the cards listed above. To book flights to Hawaii using Ultimate Rewards you will be transferring your points into a loyalty account.
This is one of the most simple and straightforward options for flying to Hawaii on points, but not the cheapest. United starts at 45,000 points round trip.
You will want to go to the United website and look for flights costing 22,500 points each way. Once you find the flights transfer the points from your Ultimate Rewards account to your United account. Points will show up in your United account instantly.
One really cool option is United allows you to do a free stopover on another island with an award booking. This is called the “Excursionist Perk”. Basically, outside of the continental U.S., Alaska, and Canada, you can book a multi-city booking for free as long as it is in the same region as your destination. To do this just click on “advanced search.”
Now you will want to click on “multi-city” where it asks for your trip type.
You’ll then be able to choose your flights, with the inter-island flight costing you $0! In the end, you will see your total is 45,000 points. Exactly the same as if you were to book roundtrip Salt Lake City to Honolulu! Pretty cool!!
This perk is also great if you are planning a trip to Europe and what to hit up another country!
British Airways is a partner of both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. What this means is that you can transfer your Chase Ultimate Rewards to your British Airways account and then book a flight on an American or Alaska Airlines plane. British Airways uses a distance-based award chart, each segment of a flight is used to calculate the distance flown. The longer the flight and the more layovers, the more expensive it will be.
If you are flying out of the west coast or Phoenix, this is a fabulous option as they offer direct flights. Flights start at 26,000 points round trip. Flying from Salt Lake City will cost you 40,000 points because you will have a connecting flight and a longer distance to fly. To see how many British Airways Avios (points) it would cost to fly from your home airport to one of the Hawaiian islands, or anywhere for that matter, you can use this handy tool.
You can search for American flights on the British Airways site. To do this you need to create an account with British Airways. After you log on, you will need to hover to “manage” located on the top main menu and then click on “log in to my Executive Club”.
Once you get to this page you will select “book with Avios.” Then you will fill out all your travel information.
Upon entering your travel information you will be taken to a page that will show the availability and flights. If you find flights that you like then I suggest calling British Airways to verify that the flight is really available, it seems to be rare but sometimes the system will show a flight that isn’t actually available. Once you verify availability, transfer your points and book. Points transfer to British Airways instantly.
Alaska Airlines flights aren’t bookable directly on the British Airways site. You will actually need to search the American Airlines site. By searching on American you will be able to see the flights that Alaska allows to be booked by their airline partners. You will need to search for MileSAAver flights and only have the Alaska Airlines box checked.
When you find a flight that you like, write down all the information (flight number, flight time, etc) and then call British Airways to book. Remember British Airways charges per segment so if a direct flight isn’t an option you want to find one with only one connection. Verify with the phone agent the number of British Airways Avios it will cost to book and then transfer your points and complete the booking.
Singapore is part of the Star Alliance along with United and many others. Because of this, you can book a flight on Singapore but actually be flying in a United plane. The great thing about Singapore is it cost 35,000 points round trip while United will cost you 45,000! On the exact same plane!
You can sometimes search and book your flight online. You will need to create a Krisflyer account and then click on redeem miles in the search box.
Here you can see that it will be 35,000 points to fly direct from Denver to Maui. This is the price roundtrip.
If you can’t find flights on Singapore’s site, or it isn’t letting you search, you can look for them on United and then call Singapore to book.
What you would do is find the flight you want on the United site that cost 22,500 points each way and then give the Singapore phone agent all the flight information. The downside is that when you transfer your points to Singapore it is not instantaneous like many others. It is usually a day but can take up to two. It can be risky if you transfer and then the flight becomes unavailable. Once you transfer your points are stuck with that partner and you can’t get them back. You can ask them to hold the reservation for you. A reader just did this and they told her they couldn’t hold them but then when she logged into her Krisflyer account she saw them reserved. They even called her before releasing her reservation, 3 days later. Definitely worth asking and checking your Krisflyer account even if you get a no!
Singapore is also partners with Alaska Airlines, meaning you can use your Singapore miles to book a flight on an Alaska Airlines plane. Singapore will charge you per leg for this option so it really only makes sense to do this if you are taking a non-stop flight from the west coast. A one-way, direct flight ticket to Hawaii will cost you 12,000 points.
You will use the same method to book an Alaska Airlines flight on British Airways that I mentioned above to search for this flight. Once you find your flight call into Singapore to verify that the flight is available. If it is, transfer your points and then call back to book once the transfer comes through.
Southwest is my favorite option for flying to Hawaii! On our last trip, we booked flights for 22,000 points roundtrip from Salt Lake City to Maui! What’s even better is if you have the Southwest Companion Pass, you can fly someone with you for free! We have the pass, so our last flight was just 22,000 points for the two of us! I recently booked us flights for this coming June and it was 34,000 points to Kauai for the two of us due to having the Companion Pass still. The amount you pay in points is tied to the current cash price. To find out how many points it will take to get you there, do a search on Southwest.com. If you find a flight you like, transfer your points. Transfers are instant to Southwest.
The Chase Travel Portal is also an option. I always check the prices in the portal. If you find a great cash fare somewhere, definitely log into the portal and check how many points you can get a flight for. If it is more points than any of the options listed above then I wouldn’t do it.
American Express Membership Reward Points are also a great option for flying to Hawaii on points. You can earn Amex Membership Rewards by signing up for any of the following cards. You can also check Card Match as they sometimes offer increased targeted offers on the Platinum and Gold card. Amex offers change periodically, click on the link below to see what the current offer is for each card. The listed points are what is being offered at the time of writing.
The Platinum Card – 100,000 points
Amex Gold Card – 60,000 points
Amex Green Card- 45,000 points
Amex Everyday Card – 10,000 points
Amex Everyday Preferred – 15,000 points
The Platinum Business – 85,000 points
Amex Gold Business – 60,000 points
You can transfer your Amex MR points into your Delta account. Delta doesn’t have an award chart so the prices fluctuate. You can find award sales sometimes but typically flights to Hawaii are around 45,000 points roundtrip, although sometimes much higher. Occasionally, Delta will run flash sales where you can find tickets for less than 45,000 points.
Read about how to use Membership Reward points to book a flight on Singapore Airlines in the Chase UR section.
Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance. What this means you will book your flight through Aeroplan but actually be flying in a United Plane. Flights cost 45,000 points roundtrip.
You will need to make an account on the Aeroplan website. After making an account you will head down the page a bit and click on use your miles.
Then fill out the information for the dates and search. After finding your flight transfer your miles to Aeroplan. Your points should show up instantly. Booking is straight forward and easy!
Membership Reward points instantly transfer to British Airways. To see how to search and book using British Airways, scroll back up to the Chase UR section.
Hawaiian doesn’t offer the best price when it comes to booking an award seat but it can be nice for inter-island travel.
You will need to make an account with Hawaiian Airlines. When you find your flight transfer your points into your account. They should show up instantly. Then go ahead and book!
Citi ThankYou Points are one way to get very cheap flights to Hawaii! The Citi Premier Card has a bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in 3 months. What you can do with those points is transfer them to Turkish Airlines Miles and Smiles. Turkish Airlines is part of the Star Alliance meaning you can book flights on United through Turkish. The great news is that a round-trip ticket to Hawaii on Turkish Airlines is just 15,000 points! With this signup bonus, you could book four free flights to Hawaii! Sometimes you can book online but other times it requires calling or emailing Turkish Airlines to book these flights. Check out this post from Frequent Miler, he’ll tell you everything you need to know about booking United flights using Turkish Miles and Smiles. This post from Rob over at Easy Travel Points is also great.
If you already have a lot of points with a co-branded card then it may be a good idea to open up a transferable points card that is a transfer partner with that airline. For example, if I have a stash of Delta points I would open up an American Express Membership Rewards earning card to top off my Delta account.
Southwest Airlines is a great option for flying to Hawaii on points. The cost in points is tied to the current cash price so it is hard to tell exactly how much it will cost in points. Do a search on the website to get an idea of what the cost would be. I’ve booked roundtrip flights for 22,000 points a person, 34,000 points, and 45,000 points. It fluctuates. If you can fly on a weekday, you will sometimes find cheaper flights. I recommend searching by flexible dates. I also recommend getting the Southwest Companion Pass! Not only will you be able to fly someone free with you for a year+ but you will have a lot of Southwest Rapid Rewards to get your family to Hawaii! Another reason to love Southwest, bags fly free!
The Alaska Airlines Visa Signature is an intriguing card. Currently, the bonus is 40,000 points plus one free companion fare (minus taxes) after spending $2,000 in 3 months. The companion fare can only be used with a cash ticket. Essentially you are getting a buy one get one free offer.
You can find tickets on Alaska that start at 17,500 points each way. This offer might be nice for a family. With this bonus, you would have enough for one roundtrip ticket. You would pay cash for one ticket, use the companion fare for another, and use points on the third. You would need to book the cash fare and companion fare together and then your points booking as a separate reservation. In this scenario, you are getting three tickets for the price of one. If your spouse were to get the card as well, you could get six tickets for the price of two! Keep in mind Alaska can have some painfully long flights so search online and make sure it’s an option that would work for you before you sign up for the card. My parents have the Alaska Card and use the Companion Fare each year to fly a couple of grandkids to Hawaii with them.
The Barclay AAdvantage Aviator is a nice card if you don’t want to stress about meeting the minimum spend. The signup bonus just increased to 60,000 points after paying the $95 annual fee and making a purchase! I don’t think it gets any easier! A roundtrip flight to Hawaii will cost you 45,000 points. Basically, you are buying a flight to Hawaii that cost $95. You and your spouse could each get this card and be off on a romantic getaway! If you rather not pay an annual fee, you can get the Citi AA card. After spending just $2,500 in 3 months you will get 50,000 points. The $99 annual fee is waived for the first year.
Ok, so I know that was A LOT of info!!! You guys, there are so many options when it comes to getting to Hawaii on points! I wanted to include all these because I know certain things will work great for some people while others will feel more comfortable with a different option.
There is a lot of talk in the travel hacking world about getting the highest value possible out of your points. While I love a good value as much as anyone, sometimes it isn’t worth the stress, flexibility, etc. The best value for your points is whatever gets you when and where you want to go! Message me if you need more info or clarification about a certain topic I discussed!
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