How to Book Round-trip Flights to Hawaii for Just 26,000 AmEx or Chase Points

You can take advantage of British Airways' distance-based award chart to get flights for less points.

JT GenterMar 3, 2021
Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Hawaii has excellent beaches, active volcanoes, lush mountains and incredible resorts. But, depending on where you’re flying from, getting there can be quite pricey.

Points and miles can help cut that cost. Unfortunately, many airline mileage programs treat Hawaii as a separate region from the mainland U.S., and then price awards to Hawaii at a premium. But there’s a trick to get to Hawaii cheaper: booking your tickets through certain international mileage programs.

One of the best ways to fly to Hawaii with points and miles is by booking round-trip flights to Hawaii for 26,000 points through British Airways.

British Airways’ Hawaii sweet spot

British Airways uses a distance-based award chart. That means that the price of an award flight depends on the distance of the flight. Though British Airways doesn’t publish its chart, we’ve found that partner award flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles in distance cost just 13,000 Avios, or points, each way.

Both American Airlines and Alaska Airlines are partners of British Airways, so you can book an American or Alaska award on a flight up to 3,000 miles in distance for just 13,000 Avios. That’s far enough to include dozens of routes between the mainland and Hawaii — as you’ll see below.

However, there are some limitations to this sweet spot. British Airways prices award flights by segment; if you have a connecting itinerary, British Airways will charge Avios for each flight. This sweet spot really only works on nonstop flights.

Also, you can only take advantage of this sweet spot if there’s award availability. If American or Alaska isn’t offering saver award availability on a flight, you can’t book it with partner mileage programs.

Which U.S. mainland-to-Hawaii routes qualify?

Currently, there are 30+ Hawaii routes that cost just 26,000 British Airways Avios round-trip. Keep in mind that some routes may only operate seasonally and airlines may add or remove routes. As of the time of writing, here are all of the American and Alaska routes between the mainland and Hawaii under 3,000 miles in distance.

Routes to Honolulu, Oahu

These departure airports across the U.S. can get you to Honolulu and back for 26,000 Avios.

  1. Anchorage — Alaska only.

  2. Los Angeles — American and Alaska.

  3. Oakland — Alaska only.

  4. Phoenix — American only.

  5. Portland — Alaska only.

  6. San Diego — Alaska only.

  7. San Francisco — Alaska only.

  8. San Jose — Alaska only.

  9. Seattle — Alaska only.

Routes to Kahului, Maui

Fly from the following airports to get to Kahului for 26,000 Avios round-trip.

  1. Anchorage — Alaska only.

  2. Los Angeles — American and Alaska.

  3. Oakland — Alaska only.

  4. Phoenix — American only.

  5. Portland — Alaska only.

  6. San Diego — Alaska only.

  7. San Francisco — Alaska only.

  8. San Jose — Alaska only.

  9. Seattle — Alaska only.

Routes to Lihue, Kauai

Depart from these mainland U.S. airports and get to Lihue and back for 26,000 Avios.

  1. Los Angeles — American and Alaska.

  2. Oakland — Alaska only.

  3. Phoenix — American only.

  4. Portland — Alaska only.

  5. San Diego — Alaska only.

  6. San Jose — Alaska only.

  7. Seattle — Alaska only.

Routes to Kailua-Kona, Big Island

These U.S.-based departure airports can get you to Kailua-Kona and back again for 26,000 Avios.

  1. Anchorage — Alaska only.

  2. Los Angeles — American and Alaska.

  3. Oakland — Alaska only.

  4. Phoenix — American only.

  5. Portland — Alaska only.

  6. San Diego — Alaska only.

  7. San Jose — Alaska only.

  8. Seattle — Alaska only.

How to search for award availability

Finding award availability depends on which airline you’re flying.

For American Airlines flights

American Airlines award availability shows on British Airways’ website. That makes it really easy to find — and then book — award flights. Start your search by logging into your Executive Club account, then browse to the Book Flights With Avios page.

Enter your origin airport, destination airport, dates and number of passengers. Then click “Get Flights” to start your search.

If awards aren’t available on the date you want, you can easily search award availability on nearby dates by clicking the date tabs at the top of the results.

If you searched for a round-trip flight, scroll down past all of the outbound options to see award availability on the return flight.

Once you select flights, a “journey summary” section will confirm your selections and display the full price of your itinerary. In this case, the round-trip from Los Angeles to Honolulu costs 26,000 Avios and just $11.20 out of pocket.

Alaska Airlines flights

Unfortunately, British Airways’ website doesn't display Alaska Airlines award availability the same way. That means you’ll need to search for Alaska award availability through other means.

SEARCH ON EXPERTFLYER

If you have a membership with ExpertFlyer, you can use it to search for Alaska award availability.

SEARCH ON AMERICAN AIRLINES' WEBSITE

Alternatively, you can use American Airlines’ award search tool to find Alaska award availability. To simplify the search results, filter by “nonstop only” and limit to Alaska Airlines awards:

Don't use alaska airlines' website

We don’t recommend using Alaska’s website to search for award availability because Alaska award rates vary based on the distance and the popularity of a route. So, you may see a flight bookable with Alaska miles that is not bookable with partner miles.

After you’ve found award availability, it’s time to transfer points into Avios.

How to transfer points from other programs to British Airways

British Airways is a 1:1 transfer partner of both American Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards®.

From American Express Membership Rewards to British Airways

To start, log in to your American Express account and navigate to AmEx’s rewards page. Click the “Transfer Points” tab and click “View All” to see all transfer partners.

Scroll down to British Airways Executive Club and click “Transfer Points.” Link your Executive Club account and then enter the number of Membership Rewards points you want to transfer.

Make sure to have an AmEx card handy. You may need to confirm your identity by entering the security codes found on one of your AmEx cards before you can submit the transfer.

From Chase Ultimate Rewards® to British Airways

To transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to British Airways, start by logging in to your Chase account. Browse to the Chase Ultimate Rewards® partner programs page. Scroll down and click “Transfer Points” in the British Airways tile.

Select yourself (or an authorized user) as your recipient and enter your British Airways Executive Club number twice. Then click “Continue.”

Enter the number of points that you want to transfer to British Airways. Then click “Continue.”

On the next page, you’ll get a chance to review the transfer before clicking “Confirm & Submit” to initiate the transfer.

How to book these flights

Once you have enough Avios in your account, it’s time to book your award.

American Airlines flights

To book American Airlines awards, search for award availability on British Airways’ website as shown above. Once you’ve selected the flights you want, click “Continue” to move forward with the booking process.

The next page will confirm your selections and price, list the change and refund conditions and the terms and conditions of the award booking. If everything looks good, click “I agree to the terms and conditions” checkbox and click “Continue” to move forward.

On the next page, you’ll enter passenger names, personal information and contact information. Click “Continue” to advance to the payment page. Enter credit card information to pay for the taxes and fees. Once everything is entered, click “make booking” to book the flight.

Alaska Airlines flights

Alaska Airlines award flights can’t be booked through British Airways’ website, so you’ll need to call British Airways Executive Club to book these awards. After finding award availability, call British Airways Executive Club at 800-452-1201 between 7:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. Eastern time to book the award.

The bottom line

By booking American or Alaska awards through British Airways, you can get round-trip flights to Hawaii for 26,000 Avios/points. Even better, using British Airways Avios unlocks the ability to use AmEx or Chase points for award flights on American or Alaska — even though neither of these airlines is a transfer partner of AmEx or Chase.


How to Maximize Your Rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are our picks for the best travel credit cards of 2021, including those best for:

Get more smart money moves – straight to your inbox
Sign up and we’ll send you Nerdy articles about the money topics that matter most to you along with other ways to help you get more from your money.