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.
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. Click Here to learn more about the American Express Platinum Card.
Finally, you could open the Gold Card from American Express. The 25,000 welcome bonus offer is enough to secure one round-trip flight to Hawaii via Singapore Airlines. Click Here to learn more about the new Amex Gold Card and other travel rewards cards.
These transfers to your KrisFlyer account generally take anywhere from 12 hours to 3 days.
Spend just 1,000 miles more and you can book some similar flights. This time, we’re using British Airways miles. And you’ll use them to hop on an American Airlines plane to fly out to the Hawaiian airlines.
British Airways and American Airlines are close partners through the Oneworld alliance, which allows you to use British Airways Avios to book American Airlines flights. And there’s a serious sweet spot for getting to Hawaii that makes exploiting this partnership worth it.
The trick here is that, unlike most airlines, British Airways charges for award flights based on the distance you fly. The shorter the distance, the fewer miles you’ll need. That means the sweet spot for using British Airways Avios to get to Hawaii is from the West Coast – specifically, Los Angeles (LAX) and Phoenix (PHX).
You can fly from both cities to all four major Hawaiian airports for just 25,000 Avios round-trip.
American Airlines, meanwhile, charges at least 45,000 to book the exact same flights. No joke: Same dates, same time, same exact plane for 20,000 miles more.
If you don’t have British Airways Avios to cash in on this sweet spot, you could get them in a hurry. That’s because, just like Singapore, British Airways is transfer partners with Chase, American Express, and Citi. You can transfer your bank points from those cards directly to your British Airways account. It makes British Airways Avios some of the easiest miles in the world to collect.
Capitalizing on this deal is simple. Just log in to your British Airways account, select “Book a flight with Avios,” and start searching for flights from the West Coast to Hawaii.
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.
We send out the best deals to save you hundreds of dollars to get to the Hawaiian islands as soon as we find them. In November alone, we sent out three deals for round-trip flights to Hawaii starting under $300. These tickets can easily cost $700 or more, so there are some incredible savings here. And that will quickly offset Premium’s $35 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 in the above example.
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 last spring, 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.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.