Redeem American Airlines Miles: Part 7 — Redeeming for Hawaii

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Let’s talk about how to use American Airlines miles for awards to Hawaii.

 

“Redeeming American Airlines Miles” Series Index

The Partners for Hawaii Awards

To Hawaii, American Airlines miles can be redeemed on:

  • American Airlines
  • Alaska Airlines
  • any combination of the two

Award space on both airlines is searchable on aa.com. Here’s how to search aa.com.

As of September 1, 2015, American Airlines miles cannot book Hawaiian Airlines flights between the mainland and Hawaii. AA miles can still book interisland flights on Hawaiian and flights between Hawaii and Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.

Pricing

Between the mainland and Hawaii, American charges:

  • 20,000 miles in economy each way during Off Peak dates ONLY on American Airlines flights. Off Peak Dates:
    • to Hawaii: December 29 – March 12, August 11 – November 18, November 24 – December 10
    • from Hawaii: January 7 – March 19, August 18 – November 27, December 3 – December 25
  • 22,500 miles each way in economy the rest of the year
  • 40,000 miles each way in First Class
  • 65,000 miles each way in First Class if you fly a three-cabin First Class flight on the mainland as part of the award. There is no three-cabin First Class to Hawaii itself.

All the prices mentioned above are for partner awards or MileSAAver awards on American Airlines flights. MileSAAver awards are highly capacity controlled and not available on all or even most flights. When not available, AAnytime awards, which are much more expensive, are available. Here are the prices for flying American Airlines economy, for example, which include the elevated AAnytime prices:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.02.50 PMScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 11.57.35 AM

Who Should Never Redeem American Airlines Miles to Hawaii

If you live in one of 10 western cities with direct flights on American or Alaska to Hawaii, you are better off redeeming 12,500 British Airways Avios each way to Hawaii. Full article on the 12,500 Avios routes to Hawaii and how to book them.

The cities/routes with 12,500 Avios awards:

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1: Seasonal Flight

Award Space

Award space to Hawaii is highly seasonal on all airlines, and it lines up well with American’s Off Peak dates.

Award space is usually fairly abundant from mid-January through mid-March and during the Fall. It is non-existent over Christmas and New Year’s and sparse in the Summer and Spring, unless you can afford to wait until right before to book. Space opens up between the United States and many destinations in Hawaii within three weeks of departure. If you want to visit Hawaii over those sparse times and can’t book last minute, use ThankYou Points.

American and its partners serve Hawaii from about a dozen cities, most of them on the west coast, though American also flies from Dallas to Honolulu, Kahului, and Kona (beginning December 15, 2016).

The best award availability is via the west coast during off peak times and in the last month before departure.

I’m going to show award space as a series of calendars. All calendars show availability on direct flights for one passenger. Most people reading this post won’t live in any of the cities shown on the calendars. That’s OK. You can connect via these cities to Hawaii. The award space to these cities shouldn’t be much of a problem and will not add any miles to the award price as long as you add a leg priced as MileSAAver and it’s in the same or a lower cabin as the transoceanic leg.

Los Angeles to Honolulu

Economy award space is pretty much non-existent from now until the end of November. The end of November and first half of December have a handful of seats, but economy award space really opens up at the end of January 2017 and stays available through early March.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.22.06 PM

First Class award space is extremely sparse with the exception of the next three weeks which have a lot of open seats. Of course, if you live in LA, you want to book these direct American flights with Avios. If you live elsewhere, you’ll want to use AA miles and connect here.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 12.50.56 PM

Space is equally good on the return in First Class over the next three weeks…
Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.01.50 PM…and almost as good in Economy.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.06.17 PM

There are a good deal of economy seats mid October through November, but past then only in February 2017

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.12.20 PM

After the next three weeks, space in First Class thins out to almost nothing for the remainder of the year.

In general, award space is terrible in American Airlines First Class to Hawaii.

Los Angeles to Lihue

The rest of the calendars will just show economy award space for the next few weeks to give you an idea of the pattern.

Los Angeles to Kauai has a ton of award space over the next four weeks.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.24.41 PM

The return has a decent amount as well.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.33.49 PM

Los Angeles to Kahului

Maui award space is excellent for the next four weeks to Maui…

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.30.52 PM

…and from Maui.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.36.35 PMLos Angeles to Kona

Award space is spotty from Los Angeles to the Big Island for the next four weeks…

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.40.20 PM…but is more open on the return.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.41.28 PM
Dallas to Kahului

Award space is much better on the Los Angeles routes than the Dallas routes. The most award space from Dallas is over the next three weeks to Maui.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.51.18 PMThere is a little less space available on the return from Maui.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 1.52.59 PMPhoenix to Hawaii

American Airlines took over US Airways’ Phoenix-to-Hawaii routes last year.  Phoenix to Maui has the most space:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.08.02 PMAnd has plenty of options on the return as well:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.09.06 PM

The rest of the routes between Phoenix and Hawaii have very spotty space over the next four weeks, except Lihue to Phoenix, which has a few options:

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 2.16.47 PM

Bottom Line

Right now American Airlines miles have good access to award space between the United States and Hawaii in the beginning of 2017 as well as some seats in the fall of this year, which is low season (mid-January to mid-March and fall) and coincides with the Off Peak dates to Hawaii when awards are just 20,000 miles one way (flying American Airlines only).

Economy award space is way more plentiful than First Class space, and the best space is available within a month or even a week of departure in most cases.

If you need to plan farther out, book your Hawaii trip with different miles (United often has better award space) or ThankYou Points, which have access to every flight to Hawaii with no blackouts.

For me, it’s just as well that American Airlines miles are just OK to Hawaii when you understand the limitations. I never want to use them to Hawaii anyway because there are cheaper awards to Hawaii (like with Singapore miles) and because I save my American Airlines miles for these sweet spots on the new devalued American Airlines award chart instead.

For a limited time, the Citi® / AAdvantage® Executive World Elite™ MasterCard® is offering 60,000 bonus American Airlines miles and Admirals Club lounge membership, among other awesome benefits, after spending $5,000 in the first three months.Screen Shot 2016-02-12 at 4.44.21 PM


Editorial Disclaimer: The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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29 COMMENTS

  1. Just curious as to what you can tell me about lounges in Honolulu. I booked a first class ticket on HA from HNL-LAS-ORD-SP. All legs are in first class. Am I able to use the lounge in Honolulu before my flight? I used AA miles for the ticket, and the first leg is on HA. The second and third legs are on AA. I don’t have status with either, and don’t have any lounge memberships. Thanks for any input!

    • HA First = HA lounge. Very very basic. Not worth the time frankly. No other lounges on this trip for you.

  2. Can anyone tell me if i do it right or not? i try to book a flight from Seattle to Kahului, HI (OGG) under Alaska airplane. But i try to search for the flight on AA website nothing show up, i try to use Alaska website to search then it show a whole bunch direct flight??? so can i use the information for Alaska airplane on Alaska website to book the flight using AVOIS point? i just try to understand clearly before i call BA to book that sweet 12500 point 🙂 thanks for any input.

    • Partners of Alaska like American Airlines miles and Avios only have access to SAVER award space on Alaska flights. All of that shows up on aa.com. When you searched on alaskaair.com, you saw other award space that costs a LOT of Alaska miles and is NOT bookable with AA miles or Avios. Just search on aa.com.

    • Lee,
      Try searching ‘Nonstop only’ on AA.com. I tried searching myself and many weekend departures/returns are blocked out. You can still get SEA to OGG direct on a weekday though.

  3. Do those LAX to Hawaii flights still take you all over the place? Like la to Phoenix to Hawaii. Or la to Seattle to Hawaii and never really direct

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