I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.
United Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines are offering super cheap roundtrip economy flights starting at $305 from lots of cities on the west coast to Honolulu, Maui, Kona, and Lihue. Available travel dates span all the way from November through May of 2018. Most of the flights I saw have one stop. Depending on where you fly from, flights are either non-stop or have one connection.
If you read my series on award space to Hawaii, you know that it’s often very difficult to find any First Class saver level award space to the islands. Flights from the west coast aren’t super long anyways, so buy a cheap economy cash ticket and save your rewards for when you can redeem them for a higher value. Of course, before jumping at this deal, make sure you read The Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii and check on economy award space so you don’t pass up a better deal.
- What city pairs are available?
- When are the cheap fares?
- Mileage Earning
- Baggage Allowance
- Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket
Available City Pairs
You’ll find the cheap fares ($305+ roundtrip) between…
- San Francisco
- San Diego
- Las Vegas
When are the cheap fares?
The easiest way to see the cheap fares is on Google Flights. Available dates for the low price start in November and span through the May of next year, with of course less cheap fares available right around the holidays. I brought up this calendar of roundtrip prices between San Francsico and Honolulu on Google Flights.
You can’t purchase tickets directly on Google Flights, but after choosing an outbound and return flight you will be given links to follow to buy on United’s or Hawaiian’s website.
You need to know the fare class when looking up how many redeemable miles cash flights earn, which you can find using ITA Matrix.
For example, let’s look at the United flight I discussed above, roundtrip between San Francisco and Honolulu. The United flights are fare class G (not basic economy–don’t worry). If you credit your butt-in-seat miles to United, assuming you don’t have status, you’ll earn 5 x (ticket price – government-imposed taxes/fees). You can also see the breakdown of any ticket on ITA Matrix if you want to figure out the base fare.
Equation for how many United miles earned flying United economy: 5 x $257.90 = 1,289 redeemable United miles.
But you don’t have to credit your miles to MileagePlus, you can credit to a partner airline’s program like ANA or Aeroplan (Air Canada) and get even more miles. Crediting to either you’d earn 50% of the actual distance flown, which, if you were flying between San Francisco and Honolulu roundtrip, would be 2,398 miles.
I’d take 2,398 Aeroplan or ANA miles over 1,289 United miles.
To look at options crediting redeemable miles to other programs, check out Where to Credit Butt in Seat Miles: Flying United Airlines.
Flying United or Hawaiian you’ll get a free personal item to fit under the seat in front of you and a free carry-on, but any checked luggage will cost you. The first bag is $25.
Best Way to Buy the Ticket
You should buy this ticket with the Barclaycard Arrival Plus. The card comes with 40,000 Arrival miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Arrival miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each toward any travel expense, so the bonus alone will more than cover this roundtrip to Hawaii. Learn How to Redeem Arrival Miles.
With the Arrival Plus, you don’t even have to wait to meet the minimum spending requirement before you spend the miles. Open an Arrival Plus, put whatever cash tickets on the card you want now to help you meet the minimum spending requirement, and then redeem Arrival miles within 120 days to offset the charges. Buy your ticket to Hawaii on the Arrival Plus to help meet your minimum spending requirement you’ll still get all your money back for it if you redeem your Arrival miles on the charges later.
Don’t have the Arrival Plus card? Put it on whatever card you have travel statement credits for, like the Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige. Don’t have any travel statements credits to earn? Check out the Best Credit Card to Buy Airfare if you’re concerned with earning more rewards. Check out our series on the travel protection benefits of popular rewards cards if you’re more concerned with travel insurance.
Credit card links have been removed from posts and added to the menu bar at the top of every page of MileValue under the heading Top Travel Credit Cards
Hat Tip The Points Guy