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Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii Using Miles

Everyone wants to know the cheapest miles to get to Hawaii. Doing the usual, I decided to make a chart of airline prices to Hawaii. This will show how many miles it takes to get to Hawaii on each airline, and which credit cards will get these miles. Then we’ll talk about the details.

Hawaii is not only a highly desired destination, it’s “domestic” in terms of fuel surcharges. Meaning; there are no fuel surcharges for flights to Hawaii. Plus, the prices are reasonable.

Prices in miles shown for roundtrips.

Economy Business Alliance Transfers From
Virgin Elevate 20,000 50,000 (partners /w HA) Amex MR, SPG
Alitalia 30,000 60,000 SkyTeam Amex MR, SPG
Singapore 35,000 60,000 Star Alliance Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG
AA 35,000 – 45,000 75,000 OneWorld SPG
Alaska 35,000 – 45,000 75,000 SPG
Hawaiian 40,000 80,000 Amex MR, SPG
US Airways 40,000 80,000 OneWorld SPG
Avianca 40,000 75,000 Star Alliance
Lufthansa 40,000 70,000 Star Alliance SPG
Air Berlin 40,000 80,000 OneWorld SPG
United 45,000 80,000 Star Alliance Chase UR
Air Canada 45,000 80,000 Star Alliance Amex MR, SPG
Delta 45,000 – 90,000 80,000 – 190,000 SkyTeam Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG

Update: I’m told that Air France is roundtrip to Hawaii for 30,000 miles. Air France is a new Citi transfer. (Air France is a transfer partner of Citi, Amex and SPG).

For distance based programs, let’s take a look at some popular flights so at least we can get an idea of prices.

Distance Based Programs

Example: LAX – HNL

BA Avios 25,000 75,000 OneWorld Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG
JAL 40,000 60,000 OneWorld SPG
ANA 43,000 68,000 Star Alliance Amex MR, SPG
LAN 54,000 108,000 OneWorld SPG (1:1.5)
Asia Miles 60,000 80,000 OneWorld Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG

Example: NYC – HNL

BA Avios 50,000 100,000 OneWorld Amex MR, Chase UR, Citi TY, SPG
ANA 55,000 85,000 Star Alliance Amex MR, SPG
JAL 60,000 90,000 OneWorld SPG
LAN 70,000 200,000 OneWorld SPG (1:1.5)
Asia Miles 85,000 115,000 OneWorld Amex MR, Citi TY, SPG

Basically, my rule on credit cards is to wait until a bonus is at least above 50,000 miles… in general. Hotel points I have different standards for and I mostly save for last.

So if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii, you can use the chart above to figure out how many miles you would need on each airline and then check to see if there are any significant bonuses for that airline or bank points that transfer to it.

The details of each program can’t be explained in a chart, but the charts may at least give a good idea of which programs are the best.

Update: Virgin Elevate does roundtrip to Hawaii for 20,000 miles!

After all, who would have thought that Alitalia and Singapore would be the best prices for roundtrips to Hawaii!? For both Economy and Business (30k/60k). Pretty phenomenal and Singapore is a transfer partner of all the major bank rewards programs. Chase, Citi, Amex, plus SPG! And Alitalia is at least an Amex and SPG transfer.

The Distance Based programs are the ones that are hard to represent. Direct flights from the west coast to Hawaii with British Airways Avios are only 25,000 miles/avios roundtrip and 50,000 miles/avios for business class. And BA is the only other airline to be a transfer partner of Chase, Citi, Amex and SPG.

This is extra great because not only do you have AA flights from the west coast, but with BA you can also redeem your miles on Alaska.

OneWorld routes:

  • Los Angeles – Honolulu
  • Los Angeles – Kona
  • Los Angeles – Lihue
  • Los Angeles – Kahului
  • Phoenix – Honolulu
  • Phoenix – Kona
  • Phoenix – Lihue
  • Phoenix – Kahului

But with Alaska Airlines you add a bunch of routes:

  • Bellingham – Honolulu
  • Bellingham – Kahului
  • Seattle – Honolulu
  • Seattle – Kona
  • Seattle – Lihue
  • Seattle – Kahului
  • Portland – Honolulu
  • Portland – Kona
  • Portland – Lihue
  • Portland – Kahului
  • Oakland – Honolulu
  • Oakland – Kona
  • Oakland – Lihue
  • Oakland – Kahului
  • Sacramento – Kahului
  • San Jose – Honolulu
  • San Jose – Kona
  • San Jose – Lihue
  • San Jose – Kahului
  • San Diego – Honolulu
  • San Diego – Lihue
  • San Diego – Kahului
  • Anchorage – Honolulu
  • Anchorage – Kona
  • Anchorage – Kahului

As you can see, Alaska added a lot of options.

Basically, when using BA Avios on any of these 33 direct flights from any of the 9 west coast cities (and Alaska) will cost 12,500 Avios each way. But you make one connection and you jack the price up.

For anything not from one of these cities, it’s cheaper just to use Alitalia or Singapore miles.

AA off peak

When using AA miles, or Alaska miles on AA flights during off-peak, it’s 17,500 miles each way. Off-peak times are Jan 12 – Mar 8 and Aug 22 – Dec 15. This is nearly half the year but avoiding peak holiday times like summer and winter break.

All 3 Alliances

And there you have it folks. A few great options on three different alliances and Alaska. Singapore is Star Alliance, AA & BA are OneWorld, and Alitalia is SkyTeam. Between the three of those and all their transfer partners, surely you can find availability.

But the best part is, you can check availability before transferring. See which airline has availability and then transfer your points.

Conclusion

It’s a bit of a brief overview when I’ve written so much more on many of these programs.  Still, I think this could start someone off in the right direction. And hopefully the decision is simple. What’s the cheapest way to get to Hawaii? Can I easily get enough miles? Is there availability?

And again, since there aren’t fuel surcharges, it’s a bit of “what you see is what you get”.

Hopefully this helps a few people figure out or discover the actual cheapest way to get to Hawaii, since I know so many people go there so often.

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46 Comments

  1. Have you considered taxes for this list?

    Reply
    • Taxes should be like $5.

      Reply
  2. “This will show how many miles it takes to get to Hawaii on each airline, and which credit cards will get these miles.”

    You forgot to mention (& link) which credit cards to get! WORST TRAVEL BLOGGER EVER!

    Reply
    • Not worst case travel blogger at all; worst credit card flogger ever, which is a good thing. Thanks, Drew!

      Reply
    • I dont understand anything you wrote here. This is a GREAT post. Thank you, Drew!!

      Reply
    • I was being sarcastic, and attempting humor, but I guess it didn’t come across…

      Obviously, if i wanted to be sold credit cards via affiliate links I wouldn’t be visiting this site

      Reply
    • Don’t worry I have a new post coming out this week called, “top 10 AMAZING credit card bonuses for republicans or democrats” and it’s all barclay cards.

      Reply
    • best comment reply ever

      Reply
  3. Good luck booking anything with Alitalia though. Their call center is horrific.

    Reply
    • so I’ve heard…

      Reply
  4. The Avios redemption is a little misleading for business tickets. In order to pay 25,000 RT, you would need a 3-class plane. Otherwise, it books into 1st, which is 75,000 points for a round trip.

    Reply
    • Thanks for mentioning that.

      Reply
  5. Quality post, as usual :) and timely for me!

    Thanks Drew.

    Reply
    • Great! glad to hear.

      Reply
  6. I’m pretty sure BA still charges first class rates at 3x coach (75000 rt) on all 2 class planes to Hawaii.

    Reply
    • Thanks, updated it.

      Reply
  7. This is extremely useful article for hawaii trip planning. I was exactly looking for this kind of information. Well, looks like the Travel Hacking Master is in full flow here. Looking forward to more such articles with specific destinations in mind. London, Paris please?

    Reply
    • Yea, not sure where I’ll do next but those are popular ones.

      Reply
  8. “Good luck booking anything with Alitalia though. Their call center is horrific.”

    I probably commented about this before, but it is my pet peeve. I will pay a few more points to know I will be dealing with an airline that provides at least a modicum of good service. How about a chart with categories (good, OK, poor, horrific) for airline call centers. Ditto for how long to expect to wait on hold 😉 !

    Along these lines, it is hard to keep track of which CCs offer which perks. If you are looking for more post ideas, consider some charts listing perk and CC for things like:
    > primary car rental insurance
    > lounge access
    > free checked bag
    > boarding priority
    > 10% (or whatever) back on award bookings
    > more award seat available to cardholders
    > etc!

    Love your stuff! Hi to Carrie.
    Elaine

    Reply
    • Thanks Elaine. I’m going to put your list in my “post ideas” note on google drive.

      Reply
  9. I seem to recall that there is another airline that flies to Hawaii. I can’t remember the name though, oh wait, I think I remember…HAWAIIAN! They have a credit card with a 35,000 sign up bonus and it costs 35,000 (with CC discount) for a nonstop flight from the US (including a direct flight from NYC). Seems pretty straightforward and you don’t have to spend your other arguably more valuable points on a trip to Hawaii!

    Reply
    • Doh! *homer’s voice*

      Added in the chart. Thanks. lol

      Reply
  10. Taxes on SJC-OGG AVIOS redemption are only $5.60 for one way. Taxes for one way of AA miles redemption for the same flight are $80

    Reply
    • Taxes are the same, but AA charges a $75 close-in booking fee. Try again looking for flights more than 21 days out.

      Reply
  11. Also Virgin Elevate has partnership with Hawaiian Airlines. Example: SFO-HNL Return for 20k Elevate points +$5.

    Reply
    • Awesome! Thanks much. Added to the front.

      Reply
    • SPG doesn’t transfer to Virgin Elevate (Virgin America). It only transfers to Virgin Atlantic which is a different program

      Reply
  12. Air France also books on Skyteam for 30k RT, and you don’t have to deal with Alitalia’s customer service!

    Reply
    • See, I went to check the price before the post and just couldn’t get an award chart or the calculator to work. And while I believe you, I just want to verify. Have a link or something?

      Reply
    • Take a look at Atlanta to Honolulu. There’s a decent amount of availability that will show 30k.

      For example September 6, ATL to HNL, then September 15 HNL to ATL.

      Reply
  13. Does anyone other than Alaskan offer a domestic stopover en route to Hawaii? Example: NYC-LAX-HNL?

    Reply
    • Sure, but let me get back to you on that when I get to our hotel tonight.

      Reply
  14. Has anyone done a Virgin Elevate redemption?

    20K would be particularly attractive for the JFK-HNL route. You can see award availability on AA.com — and it’s usually pretty darn good. I’m assuming Virgin’s inventory would be the same, but it would be good to confirm that. I’m also curious how the Virgin redemption process would be; I’ve called them regarding award tickets I booked on Virgin from other programs, and they’ve always been super courteous and helpful.

    I also recall that Virgin has an (unpopular) credit card that’s issued in the US. I’ll have to check whether there’s a good sign-up bonus to leverage to this award.

    Reply
  15. The new Virgin America credit card offer today (up to 90K miles) motivated me to look at their award chart. It is 40,000 miles roundtrip from the mainland to Hawaii, not 20,000. I guess it’s Virgin AMERICA that your chart refers to.

    Reply
  16. Jeez, too many Virgins (at least in the sky). The credit card offer is Virgin ATLANTIC. I always wish there was a way to edit blog comments!

    Reply
  17. What is your opinion on the best way to us points from Chicago and/or Minneapolis to Hawaii?

    Reply
  18. great info!
    i see it’s pretty easy to get round trip to hawaii from west coast. but where should i look for from east coast? i’m flying from BDL (small town, i know), and if i want to use virgin miles with stop over in Los Angeles, then continue to Honolulu then back to BDL, you think that’s doable? so i’m assuming delta?

    Reply
  19. Great info. Love your blog.

    Can you clarify the difference between Virgin Elevate and Virgin Flying Club. I plan to fly from the west coast to Hawaii and the SPG transfer to Virgin Elevate (which is Virgin America from my understanding) doesn’t look like an option by looking at the SPG website for transfer partners.

    Alternatively, I could transfer UR points to BA Avios and fly on AA but all their flights are partnered with Hawaiian Airlines and from what I can tell HA doesn’t partner with BA? Is that the case? Is there a work-around?

    Thank you so much!

    P.S. My wife grew up in C-Ville!

    Reply
  20. Drew, are you sure British Airways Avios transfer from Citi TY? Did I miss a recent announcement?

    Reply
  21. Is there a way to check on availability and pricing with Singapore airlines online for Hawaii? I keep getting errors and of course, too busy to call and play around with dates with the phone reps

    Reply
    • Ali, I’m having the same problem. Their website only lists NY, LA, and SF for stops in the Americas (although the route map also shows Houston).

      Reply
    • Currently, you have to call in to book partner awards when using Singapore miles. So you’d find availability using, say, United or ANA, and then call SQ’s Krisflyer number to book.

      Reply
  22. Where does Flying Blue fit into this chart? They can get you to Hawaii for 30,000 round trip and to STT or San Juan for 25k

    Reply
  23. Hi Drew,

    The whole “20,000 Virgin Elevate points for r/t to Hawaii” has me very confused (like other posters). I’m seeing well over 40,000 points round-trip from Chicago to Maui on their website. I know this is an older post, but any chance you might be able to clarify this for us? Thanks!

    Reply
  24. Virgin aside, for long time, I thought that the cheapest miles to Hawaii from the west coast is BA avios. But I believe I was wrong. The cheapest way is usually with the Prestige card with TYPs. I’m looking at SAN->HNL flights now, you can pretty much fly there with about 460$ aug, sep, oct, etc. With the 1.6cpp, it is 28.7k points. But you are earning points as well. For this specific route it’s 5.2k miles (alaska). So technically, you spent 23.6k miles for the same alaska flight that costs 25k in avios. If the ticket is 500$, you are spending ~26k miles. I’ve been watching this routes prices for quite some time, the fare goes below 300$ too. With enough luck, sub 400$ is totally possible.

    Reply
  25. What’s the cheapest mile to go nyc/ newark to sfo/ lax?

    Reply

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