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The Cheapest Ways to Fly to Hawaii Using Points and Miles

Oct. 16, 2019
Reward Optimization, Travel, Travel Credit Cards
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When you think of Hawaii, what probably comes to mind are gorgeous beaches, palm trees, lush mountains, and that endearing Aloha spirit. The next thing? “It’s expensive” — and you’re not wrong. During peak travel season, airfare can be sky high.

If you’re looking for a cheap way to fly to Hawaii using points and miles, there are five excellent options you should know about:

15,000 miles round-trip on United using Turkish miles

United Airlines is switching to dynamic pricing for awards booked after Nov. 15, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get a bargain on flights to Hawaii. Star Alliance partner Turkish Airlines offers economy class awards between the U.S. and Hawaii for just 15,000 miles round-trip.

Want to splurge on business class? It will set you back just 25,000 miles.

That’s incredible, considering United currently requires 45,000 miles for economy class on the same route. You can transfer Citi ThankYou points to Turkish Airlines miles.

Credit cards that earn or transfer to Turkish Airlines miles

» Learn More: Find the best airline credit card for you

26,000 Avios round-trip from the West Coast to Hawaii

British Airways Avios are great for West Coast travelers looking for affordable flights to Hawaii. Since British Airways partners with both American and Alaska Airlines, there are lots of flight options.

British Airways no longer publishes an award chart, so head over to the British Airways website and do a quick search for the routes you’re looking for to figure out how many miles you’ll need to save. West Coast to Hawaii flights cost as few as 13,000 miles each way and $5.60 in taxes.

Examples include Los Angeles to Kauai or Honolulu, and Phoenix to Honolulu. Flights with stops will require more miles even if the distance to the final destination is the same. For example, San Francisco to Honolulu via Los Angeles clocks in at 20,500 miles.

Another great thing about using Avios for flights to Hawaii is that you won’t pay close-in booking fees on last-minute reservations, and Avios are easy to acquire. British Airways has a co-branded credit card; it’s also a transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou.

American Express is currently offering a 40% transfer bonus, which means the above-mentioned award would set you back less than 9,290 Membership Rewards each way.

Credit cards that earn or transfer to Avios

Terms apply.

While rewards from the Chase Freedom® and Chase Freedom Unlimited® are technically cash back, you can convert them to points by transferring them to your Chase Ultimate Rewards® account.

» Learn more: Best credit card offers for Hawaii travel

West Coast to Hawaii on Southwest

If you’re on the West Coast, Southwest could be a great option for flying to Hawaii using points and miles. Southwest has a fare-based award program, meaning the points required for an award is determined by the cost of the ticket. This can create some great redemption opportunities.

For example, using Southwest’s low fare calendar, we were able to find one-way flights between Oakland and Honolulu in October for just 12,086 points ($179 cash fare). Meanwhile, return flights cost as few as 8,967 points ($139 cash fare). That’s an incredible bargain, especially considering what some legacy carriers charge for the same route.

Aside from low fares, flying Southwest also gets you two free checked bags per person. If you’re short on Southwest points, you can transfer some over from your Chase Ultimate Rewards® account. If you’re saving up well in advance, consider picking up a Southwest credit card. At the moment, you can earn quite a few points with the sign-up bonus from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Priority Credit Card: Earn 40,000 points after you spend $1,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

As an added bonus, the card’s sign-up bonus counts toward the 110,000 points required to earn a Southwest Companion Pass.

Credit cards that earn or transfer to Southwest

25,000 miles round-trip with Korean Skypass miles

Korean Air partners with Delta Air Lines and allows you to redeem just 25,000 miles for a round-trip flight to Hawaii in economy. If sitting upfront is more your style, a first class ticket will cost you just 45,000 miles round-trip.

Earning SkyPass miles has become slightly more challenging since the airline ended its partnership with Chase Ultimate Rewards®. However, you can still earn Korean SkyPass miles through their co-branded credit cards.

Credit cards that earn or transfer to Korean SkyPass

  • Skypass Visa Business.
  • SKYPASS Visa® Signature Credit Card.
  • Skypass Visa Classic Card.
  • Skyblue Skypass Visa.
  • SKYPASS Visa® Secured Card.

30,000 miles round-trip with Air France Flying Blue

As a SkyTeam partner, Air France and KLM’s joint Flying Blue program offers lots of great redemption options. One of those are round-trip flights between the U.S. and Hawaii for just 35,000 miles round-trip in economy class. Premium cabin flights are pricier at 86,000 miles and not worth it, in our opinion.

What makes Flying Blue such a great choice, aside from the low redemption levels, is that points are easy to come by. In addition to a co-branded credit card, Flying Blue partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards®, American Express Membership Rewards and Citi ThankYou.

Credit cards that earn or transfer to FlyingBlue

Terms apply.

The information related to Citi Premier Card, Citi Prestige® Card and Amex EveryDay® Credit Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer or provider of this product or service

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 2019, including those best for:

Planning a trip? Check out these articles for more inspiration and advice:
Find the best travel credit card for you
10 ways to save on an Oahu vacation
Southwest’s service to Hawaii: A report card

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