How I Booked Two Roundtrip Tickets to Hawaii for $27.80

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There are few things that make me happier than harnessing the power of credit card points and miles and my Thrifty Traveler Premium membership. Last month, I was able to do just that when we posted a premium deal from Minneapolis to Honolulu, Hawaii for $301 nonstop roundtrip on Delta. I took advantage of this amazing deal by using Delta’s pay with miles feature. In this post, I am going to walk through how I booked two roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for $27.80.


Step 1: Earn Those SkyMiles

Last fall, Delta was offering an increased welcome bonus offer on both the Delta Platinum and Gold co-branded American Express cards offering 70,000 and 60,000 SkyMiles respectively. I decided to open the Gold Delta SkyMiles credit card and after meeting my minimum spending requirement I had about 65,000 SkyMiles in my account. Now is a great time to grab one of the co-branded Delta American Express cards as they are currently offering an increased welcome offer again through April 11th, 2018. Already have the card? Read our tips on the best ways to earn more Delta SkyMiles. 


Delta Gold SkyMiles Card

  • 30,000 SkyMiles – 30,000 SkyMiles after $1,000 in spend in the first 3 months.
  • $50 statement credit after you make any Delta purchase with your new Card within your first 3 months.
  • No annual fee the first year, then $95
  • Priority Boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar on Delta purchases. Earn 1 mile for all other spending.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • No foreign transaction fees
  • Click Here to learn more about the Gold Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express


Platinum Delta SkyMiles Credit Card from American Express

  • 70,000 SkyMiles after $3,000 spend in 3 months ($5,000 on the business version)
  • 35,000 SkyMiles – 35,000 SkyMiles after $1,000 in spend in the first 3 months.
  • Earn 5k Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) towards Delta status
  • $100 Statement Credit after you make any Delta purchase with your new card in the first 3 months.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card
  • $195 annual fee
  • Priority Boarding (even with a basic economy ticket)
  • Earn 2 Miles per dollar on Delta purchases. Earn 1 mile for all other spending.
  • Check your first bag free on every Delta flight – savings of up to $200 per round trip for a family of four.
  • No foreign transaction fees


Step 2: Meet the Welcome Offer Requirements

My ultimate goal in signing up for the Delta Amex card was to get the 60,000 miles welcome offer. That’s a pretty hefty bonus, and in order to get it, you need to spend $3,000 in the first 3 months of having the card. I took the easy way out and put exactly $3,000 of my tuition for the upcoming semester onto the card (a small 2% fee for credit card processing through the University of Minnesota).

This met my welcome offer requirements in just one transaction. If you don’t have a big purchase coming up like I did, I’d recommend paying your rent, bills, or other monthly expenses with the card to reach that goal.


Step 3: Wait For An Awesome Deal

Of course, there are many great ways to use your Delta SkyMiles, however, I decided to wait for an awesome Thrifty Traveler premium deal. Thrifty Traveler Premium sends instant fare notifications via email to international destinations all over the world (and Hawaii is often included).

Sure enough, a beautiful deal from Minneapolis to Hawaii for $301 came through on Premium on the morning of February 8th. I had never been to Hawaii, and neither had my boyfriend. We deliberated and decided to book the trip for this coming fall.

By the time I made it back to the deal the next day, the price was up to $314. In hindsight, I should have booked right away and asked questions later. All US flights include free 24-hour cancellation. Nonetheless, I was still ecstatic about finding a nonstop, roundtrip flight from Minneapolis to Honolulu for $314.


Pay With Miles

The Premium deal I booked with Delta’s Pay With Miles feature



Step 4: Book Using Delta Pay With Miles

Once I had confirmed that the flight deal from Minneapolis to Honolulu was still live on the Delta website, I logged into my SkyMiles account via Delta.com to book the trip. I found the deal for $314 nonstop, roundtrip, and booked for two people using the Delta Pay With Miles feature.

When using Pay With Miles, your SkyMiles will redeem at 1 cent per mile. Because of this, the total was 62,800 SkyMiles. I opted to use 60,000 SkyMiles and pay the additional $27.80 out of pocket. One Credit Card sign up bonus is flying my boyfriend and I roundtrip to Hawaii for $27.80! It is hard to argue with that kind of value.

The best part? Pay with Miles tickets are eligible to earn Medallion Qualifying Miles (MQMs) and Medallion Qualifying Segments (MQSs) where standard award tickets are not. In addition, Pay with Miles tickets will earn mileage for the portion of the base fare and carrier-imposed surcharges remaining that is paid in currency after miles are applied to the ticket total.


Pay With Miles

Using 60K miles to get to Hawaii



Step 5: Check Out; Start Happy Dance!

I’m so excited to visit Hawaii for the first time, and, I’m even more excited that I’m doing it for so cheap. Technically speaking, my tuition just bought me two free tickets to Hawaii.


Bottom Line

Take advantage of credit card welcome offers. If you’re not sure where to start with credit cards points and miles, subscribe to our Thrifty Traveler Premium service. One of the many benefits we provide with Premium is free credit card consulting. One welcome offer bonus is flying both of us to Hawaii and I couldn’t be more excited.


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