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Hawaii travel challenge for a family of five

One of my readers had requested, that I cover different ways to get to Hawaii for a family of 5. My last post  focused on  Chase BA Visa and its 100000 miles offer. But that particular sign-up bonus requires 20000 dollars in spending and if you don’t buy any prepaid money products like Vanilla Reloads, it would take you a long time to claim your “prize”.

So, I figured I would do a post on some ways to get to Hawaii, that would require between 6000 to 10000  dollars in spending over 3 months. That’s a bit more, than most families put on credit cards, but 5 tickets is  a lot to cover. In my next Monday post I  will share some ways you can spend that amount, that may not require manufactured spending. I also assume, that both spouses can apply for cards.

I have narrowed it down to 3 cards, and the combination will depend on where you live and your travel needs. Keep in mind, American Airlines and British Airways are partners. Some routes will be on Alaska Airlines, redeemed through Avios (BA currency).

1) CITI AAdvantage Visa. You get 50000 miles after spending 3000 dollars in 3 months. Annual fee waived.

2) Chase BA Visa. You get 50000 miles after spending 2000 dollars in 3 months. Annual fee is 95 dollars, not waived.

3) Barclaycard Arrival(TM) World MasterCard® – Earn 2x on All Purchases You get 40000 points after spending 3000 dollars in 3 months, that you can redeem for 400 dollars off your flight. Annual fee waived.

Scenario number 1.  Update: One-way add on is no longer allowed.

If you live near AAdvantage gateway city, you absolutely should try to tack on your Hawaii flight as a one way add-on to your Europe trip. Provided, you are interested in going to Europe, of course. I wrote a post on it HERE with a link to  Saverocity and the list of cities, that would qualify. The same principle actually works for South America as well, though I didn’t cover it in that post.

I also would recommend you consider it, even if you have to drive a good distance to get to that particular airport, because the value  is tremendous. Also, the trip to Hawaii would have to start between October 15th and May 15th for this to work.

Card combination: 2 CITI AAdvanatge visas and 2 Chase BA visas.  Total spending is 10000 in 3 months.

Both spouses would get CITI AAdvantage Visa and each would have 53000 miles , once the minimum spending is done. We would redeem 2 one way tickets from each account (at 20000 miles each) from Hawaii to the AAdvanatge Gateway city airport plus one way to Europe  in the future.  But wait, we have 5 people!

You will have an option to transfer from one account to another, since AAdvantage does not let you pull miles. The transfers are instant, check current pricing. So, we would transfer 7,000 miles and would have enough for that 5th ticket. Of course, make sure there are 5 seats available before the transfer. Air Berlin is usually pretty good on that.

Let’s forget the Europe part for now. Also, the AAdvantage visa gives a rebate of 10 percent on your miles, but we won’t focus on that, because it’s not instant. Right now we have to take care of that flight to Hawaii.  We would use Chase BA visa bonuses from both cards, totaling 105000 miles to redeem 62500 miles for 5 one way tickets at 12500 miles each from LAX, Portland or Seattle. There are several more airports, like San Diego, Anchorage and a few others with non-stops to Hawaii, served by Alaska Airlines.  Pick, whichever city works best.

As far as getting there from your home airport, you can apply for Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards Visa later, in case it has 50000 sign-up bonus at the time. Or go with Chase Sapphire Preferred and transfer to Southwest. Alternatively, you can just purchase tickets with cash and have a short stopover in LAX, Seattle or Portland. Either way, you can take care of that part later.

As far as the Europe tickets are concerned, we would have enough leftover for 3 one way tickets  from Dublin to Boston on Aer Lingus through Avios from one of our BA cards. Remember, we already have the tickets to Europe taken care of.  Avios program lets you copay if you are short on miles when it comes to international redemptions. So my advice would be to do just that for the other 2 tickets. At a cost of a little over 1 cent per mile, it would be best to lock in your redemption and not worry about it. You can also copay and redeem for 1 business class seat, which runs only 25000 miles for that route.

This scenario is the most ambitious one of the three, and there is a big risk of things not working out as planned. As I said before, you have to have a huge amount of flexibility to pull this off.

Scenario number 2 . You live in Midwest or East coast, not near AAdvantage gateway city or simply are not interested in Europe or South America trip.

Card combination2 CITI AAdvantage Visas and 2 Chase BA Visas  Total spending is 10,000 in 3 months, the same as in the previous scenario.

Flights to Hawaii run at 17,500 AAdvantage miles in the off-season, which is: January 12 – March 13; August 22 – Dec. 15. Between our 2 AAdvantage cards, you would have 6 one way tickets (we need a total of 10).  You would use your 106,000 Chase BA Avios for the other 4 one-way tickets from Hawaii back home. The award price is distance based, so you would have to plug in your airport codes HERE to find out the cost in miles. But 100000 Avios should take care of 4 one way tickets from many airports in US, as long as you have a good connection to AA hub. All the flights are priced in segments through Avios program.

Scenario number 3  You live on the West coast within driving distance to LAX (AA hub), Portland, Seattle, Anchorage or San Diego(the last four served by Alaska Airlines). You are not interested in going to Europe or South America. Or you live in a West coast city with cheap flights to the mentioned airports and want to have  a short stopover on the way to Hawaii. This one is the easiest to pull off.

Card combination: 2 Chase BA Visas, 2 Barclaycard Arrival cards. Apply for Barclay’s cards first. Total spending is 10000 in 3 months.

The flights from those airports are 25,000 miles roundtrip through Avios program. So, between 2 Chase BA cards we would have enough for 4 tickets. The fifth will be bought with Arrival bonus. 400 dollars should cover most, if not the whole price of the ticket on the same flight.  The second Arrival bonus could be used for car rental.

Well, its a wrap!  Please, comment and let me know if the above info makes sense. If you are thinking about the first option, I strongly recommend you read my referenced post on a one-way add-on. Keep in mind, there is always a risk of devaluation, so have a plan B ready, just in case.

Author: Leana

Leana is the owner and founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.

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