One of the most common questions Leana and I are asked is: How can we book flights to Hawaii with miles and points from credit cards?
Hawaii is such a dream vacation spot. I’ve been there 3 times, and I’d still love to go back again. Even though the flights are long (especially from the East Coast), I like that we don’t need to mess with immigration and different driving laws since Hawaii is part of the United States.
Unfortunately, traveling to Hawaii isn’t cheap. Flights run $1000+ from many parts of the USA. Plus, lodging and food costs are higher in Hawaii. So, getting award flights can knock a significant amount off the price of a Hawaiian vacation.
Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to fly to Hawaii on miles and points. The best way for you will depend on the location of your home airport, your previous credit card history and your 5/24 status. Today, I’m covering two different credit card strategies to book flights to Hawaii.
Method One: Accumulate and Use Chase Ultimate Rewards
Accumulating Chase Ultimate Rewards is a great way to book award flights to Hawaii. You can transfer Chase points to several useful travel partners, including Southwest Airlines, United and British Airways.
Recommended cards: I recommend applying for the Chase Sapphire Preferred (affiliate link) card. The current welcome bonus is 60,000 points after spending $4000 in the first 3 months. It does have an annual fee of $95. If you and a partner/spouse each get this card, you will have at least 128,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you have a small business, you can also apply for the Chase Ink Preferred card.(affiliate link). This card’s welcome bonus is currently 100,000 points after spending $8000 in the first 3 months ($95 annual fee). Note: Chase will likely not approve you for a new card if you’ve opened 5 or more new cards in the past 24 months. See this post for more details. If you and your partner both open a Chase Sapphire Preferred card plus one Chase Ink Preferred card, you would have at least 236,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points.
How to use Chase Ultimate Rewards to book award flights to Hawaii:
Transfer to Southwest Airlines: The great thing about booking flights on Southwest Airlines is that the price in points is based on the cash price. Therefore, there is always award availability, although the number of points will vary. From the West Coast, I see one-way award prices as low as 11.779 points. Connecting flights from other U.S. cities will run higher. The lowest I see from DFW in June is ~25,000 miles each way.
Transfer to British Airways: You can use British Airways Avios (miles) to book American Airlines flights or Alaska Airlines flights. British Airways has a distance-based chart and charges by flight segment, so the best deals will be on nonstop flights from the West Coast of the U.S. Nonstop flights between LAX and Hawaii are 16,000 miles each way. See this post for more info on using British Airways Avios.
Nonstop flights from DFW are 20,750 Avios.
Transfer to United: United has nonstop and connecting flights from many U.S. cities with one-way award flights for as low as 25,000 miles each way. For example, I see a lot of availability in the fall from Houston to Honolulu:
Transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer: When you transfer to Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles, you can book Star Alliance Flights (United) or Alaska Airline flights to Hawaii. Note that transferring Chase Ultimate Rewards to Singapore can take up to 7 days. A flight from Houston to Honolulu on a United plane is as low as 19,500 KrisFlyer miles:
Singapore KrisFlyer miles can also be used to fly from the West Coast to Hawaii on nonstop Alaska Airlines flights for 13,000 miles. But, you cannot book those flights online. You must call Singapore Airlines to book.
Transfer to Air Canada Aeroplan: Aeroplan miles can also be used for Star Alliance flights, including United Airlines. The price in miles is less than through United, but the taxes are more. You can get from LAX to Honolulu for 12,500 miles:
Prices vary by US city. Flights from Houston to Honolulu are 22,500 miles.
Method 2: Accumulate and Use American Airlines Miles
I always recommend collecting flexible points (like Chase Ultimate Rewards) before airline miles because you have more options with flexible points. But, maybe you are over 5/24 and can’t get any new Chase cards at the moment. Or, maybe you live near an American Airlines hub. Collecting AA miles is another way to get to Hawaii, and there are several credit cards available to help you rack up those miles.
Recommended cards: The easiest card for earning American Airlines miles is the Barclay AAvantage Aviator Mastercard (my referral link). The current bonus on this card is 75,000 miles after you make one purchase, add an authorized user who makes one purchase, and pay the annual $99 fee. (This offer expires 1/31/24). That’s it! Barclay lets you add anyone age 13 and up as an authorized user. So, if you have teenagers in that age range, I recommend you add them as an authorized user. If you and your partner each get this card, you will have 150,000 American Airline miles. Citi also has American Airlines credit cards. Currently, the Citi /AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard (non-affiliate link) has a 50,000-mile bonus (it’s been higher in the past) after spending $2500 in the first 3 months. The annual fee is waived the first year. If you and your partner each get this card, that’s another 105,000 AA miles. Plus, if you have a small business, you can get the CitiBusiness/AAdvantage Platinum Select Mastercard (affiliate link) with its own 65,000-mile welcome bonus. Just getting the two personal cards (both you and partner) would get you over 250,000 AA miles!
Using AA miles: It’s easy to use AA miles online, and I’ve found a lot of award availability with up to 7 sAAver award seats on each flight. That makes it a great option for large families. AA also lets you put award tickets on hold for a few days. Award prices are as low as 22,500 miles each way:
I like that AA has nonstop flights from DFW to both Oahu and Maui.
There are a lot of ways to earn miles and points to fly to Hawaii, and this post just covers a few. In reality, many of us utilize a “mix and match” strategy when it comes to booking award tickets to Hawaii, using one currency for one way and a different currency for the flight home. Flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards give you many transfer partner options, but American Airlines miles are very easy to earn. Remember to always look for award availability before you transfer points, book as far in advance as possible, and be flexible with your dates.
Are you planning a trip to Hawaii with miles and points?