The 3 Best Ways to Book Cheap Flights to Hawaii: Save Hundreds or Spend 25K Points
Hawaii is a dream destination for many travelers, with its crystal blue waters and unbeatable white sand beaches. However, there’s no doubt: Whether you’re paying cash or using miles, it can be expensive. However, It doesn’t have to be.
In this post, we’ll show you a few ways to score cheap flights to Hawaii. That includes strategies that allow you to book 2 roundtrip plane tickets after just a single credit card bonus. That’s right, you and a companion could fly to Hawaii for almost free. It’s time to scratch it off your bucket list.
Singapore? Not the Nation, the Airline Miles
One of the best ways to get to Hawaii involves an airline based on the other side of the planet: Singapore Airlines. Singapore allows you to use its KrisFlyer miles for flights on Alaska Airlines, which flies to all four major Hawaiian islands. Most domestic airlines charge at least 20,000 miles one-way for those flights. Booking with Alaska MileagePlan miles, you’d need at least 35,000 miles for a round trip – and as much as 80,000 miles.
However, Singapore charges just 24,000 miles for a round-trip fare to Hawaii on the exact same Alaska flights. Better yet, Singapore miles are among the easiest to pile up (more on this later).
You’ll need to book a nonstop flight to get these low rates, so you may need to book a connecting flight. Alaska only flies direct to the Hawaiian islands from West Coast airports like Los Angeles (LAX), San Francisco (SFO), Seattle (SEA) and Portland (PDX).
The hitch here is that you can’t book Alaska flights directly through Singaporeair.com, so it requires some additional work – you’ll have to call Singapore Airlines to book the flight. But at this price, it’s worth the extra effort.
First, you’ll need to locate available award seats by searching through another partner airline like American Airlines. While searching through AA, look for flights at 22,500 miles – that’s AA’s saver-level price for a flight to Hawaii.
Thrifty Tip: Whenever you’re looking to book an award ticket with a partner airline’s miles, you should search for availability through a partner and not the airline you’d be flying on. That’s because airlines often release more award seats to their own members than to partners. In this example, you’d want to search for Alaska Airlines fares through AA or British Airways rather than on AlaskaAir.com.
Once you’ve nailed down the flights you want, copy down the flight numbers and dates. And get your Singapore KrisFlyer account information ready.
When you’re ready to book, call Singapore’s booking line at 1-213-404-0301. Give them the above information and you should have no problem withdrawing the miles from your KrisFlyer account to book your flight to Hawaii.
Luckily, getting Singapore miles is easier than almost any frequent flyer program. That’s because you can transfer points from Chase, Citi, American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest on a 1:1 basis.
So you could transfer the 50,000 point welcome bonus from the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve and have enough for two round-trip tickets. Learn more about these cards and other travel rewards cards here.
The American Express Platinum, with at least a 60,000 point welcome offer, is another strong option. If you’re eligible for its 100,000-point bonus, that’s four round-trip tickets from one just one card. Learn more about this card and other travel rewards cards here.
Finally, you could open the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express. The 25,000 welcome bonus offer is enough to secure one round-trip flight to Hawaii via Singapore Airlines. Learn more about this card and other travel rewards cards here.
These transfers to your KrisFlyer account generally take anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days.
Fly to Hawaii with Korean Air Miles
Saving your Delta SkyMiles for a dream trip to Hawaii? Look at different SkyTeam partner airlines to book it for much cheaper. Round trip flights to Hawaii typically start around 60,000 SkyMiles when booking through Delta.
However, the exact same Delta flights are bookable with just 25,000 Korean Air SkyPass miles, or 45,000 miles round trip in first class. Both offer some serious savings, and there’s an easy way to get Korean SkyPass miles to make it happen.
The one major catch here is that finding this low-level award availability can be difficult. And while you may find flights for 25,000 through Korean Air, that can be a mistake (called “phantom award space”) that will disappear as soon as you try to check out.
It’s important to remember that while these SkyTeam partners have cheaper rates for flights to Hawaii, Delta has to make low-level award fares available to those airlines. So your first stop should be to Delta.com to search for a reasonably priced award ticket, where it can be difficult to locate a workable fare (60,000 SkyMiles or less round trip).
A recent unpublished SkyMiles flash sale for flights to Hawaii has made that easier. As of the time of this post, there are still plenty of low award fares throughout the summer and early fall. That makes booking those flights with Korean a cinch.
Once you’ve zeroed in on your flights, head to KoreanAir.com and make sure you’re signed up for a SkyPass account – you’ll need one to search for award flights. Click Redeem Miles and then SkyTeam awards to get started.
Just punch in the dates you found on Delta and get searching. You may need to try a few different dates to lock in the best pricing, as Delta doesn’t pass on all of its award fares to Korean SkyPass members.
Korean Air has some strange booking restrictions that are important to keep in mind. Namely, you can only book award flights for relatives. And you have to individually register each family member in order to book their flight.
You can get Korean SkyPass miles to book these flights by transferring them from Chase Ultimate Rewards. And like the example above, you can book two round-trip tickets with a single signup bonus. Look at the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Chase Sapphire Reserve to get you there. Learn more about these cards and other travel rewards cards here.
Chase points transfer to Korean are on a 1:1 basis and generally take a few days. Just remember: never transfer your miles before you find the award flights you want – you can’t get those points back!
Harness Thrifty Traveler Premium
Finding the best flight deals to Hawaii is hard work. We do it for you if you sign up for Thrifty Traveler Premium.
Hawaii is a hotspot and we’re always searching for ways to get you there on the cheap. In the last month alone, we’ve sent out more than five deals to subscribers for round trip flights to Hawaii as low as $300. And no matter where you live, we’ll find you a deal to fly to Hawaii.
These tickets can easily cost $700 or more, so there are some incredible savings here. And that will quickly offset Premium’s $30 annual price tag.
Thrifty Tip: Not Familiar with Thrifty Traveler Premium? See our guide on how it works.
With prices that low, you may want to pay cash rather than use miles. However, these deals are also a great way to use your credit card points by booking directly through travel portals like Chase Ultimate Rewards. It’s one of our favorite ways to use points.
That’s because your Chase points go farther when booking directly through their travel portal. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, every point gets you 1.25 cents when redeemed towards travel. Upgrade to the Chase Sapphire Reserve, and you get 1.5 cents per point. That would bring the cost of the flight down to 24,853 points.
Thrifty Traveler team member Mikhala used a similar approach to book two round-trip tickets from Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) to Honolulu (HNL) earlier this year. Her total cost? Just $27.80.
When a Premium deal for $301 tickets popped in her inbox, she acted fast. With a stash of 60,000 Delta SkyMiles from an enhanced American Express Gold card bonus, she utilized Delta’s Pay with Miles feature. So rather than paying 120,000 SkyMiles or more – what Delta would normally charge for that flight – she used just 60,000 SkyMiles for two tickets.
These are just two examples of how you can leverage Thrifty Traveler Premium for cheap flights to Hawaii. Whether you pay with cash or use your points, you can save huge money.
It’s time to check Hawaii off your bucket list. With the help of some out-of-the-box points strategies, great partner airline knowledge, and Thrifty Traveler Premium, cheap flights to Hawaii may be more attainable than you originally thought.