The Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii

The Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii

Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit, and judging by the number of inquiries I get about booking awards to Hawaii, it’s clear that many people agree. There are a number of cheap ways to get there that I’ll list in order.

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Waikiki at Sunset

1. Allegiant Air $314+ roundtrip (ending 8/2016)

Allegiant Air is an ultra-low cost carrier that flies from Las Vegas and Los Angeles to Honolulu. The flights are as cheap as $314 roundtrip, but a carry on will cost $50 roundtrip and a checked bag is $70 roundtrip. Additionally if you want to select your seat or board early, you have to pay extra.

If you live in LA or Vegas, don’t mind a middle seat for six hours, and can travel with only one carry on, $364 roundtrip to Hawaii including a carry on is the best deal in my opinion–better than burning 25,000+ miles on the trip.

You can always pay for your Allegiant flights, bag fees, seat fees, and food with the $250 Air Travel Credit on your Citi Prestige® Card, which comes with 40,000 bonus ThankYou Points after $4,000 in purchases made with your card in the first 3 months the account is open.

Check out my review of the Citi Prestige Card which explains its many benefits like $250 in airfare or airline fee credits per calendar year, access to the American Airlines Admirals Clubs and Priority Pass lounges, 3x points per dollar on air travel and hotels, and a $450 annual fee.

With $250 off the price of an Allegiant ticket, you could get one to Hawaii for about $100 roundtrip.

Here’s my review of paying $90 extra to get a “Giant Seat” up front from Los Angeles to Honolulu when I flew Allegiant.

Allegiant has announced that it will terminate Hawaii service in August 2016.

2. Avios Award: 25,000+ Avios and $11+ roundtrip

I love that British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart. For 25,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

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1: Seasonal

Avios can be used for one way awards at half the price of a roundtrip award, which means that if you can’t get the Avios deal both ways, it’s still a good idea to go one way for 12,500 Avios and use another one way deal.

See here for an Anatomy of an Award post for a step-by-step breakdown of the time I booked a one way award from Honolulu to Los Angeles with Avios.

Getting British Airways Avios

You can get Chase’s British Airways card, transfer Ultimate Rewards 1:1, transfer Starpoints 4:5, or transfer Membership Rewards 5:4.

  • The British Airways Visa Signature card comes with 50,000 bonus Avios after spending $2,000 in the first three months on the card.Spend $15,000 in the first 12 months for another 25,000 bonus Avios. The maximum bonus is 75,000 total Avios for spending $15,000 in the first 12 months of which $2,000 came in the first three.

    While I can not directly link to the current British Airways Visa offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

3. Korean Miles Award: 25,000+ Korean Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip

Korean miles can book a roundtrip in Delta economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 25,000 Korean miles. A roundtrip in Delta First Class is 45,000 Korean miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on Delta flights on and transfer your Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking Delta Flights to Hawaii for 25k Korean Miles Roundtrip, 45k in First

Korean miles can also book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Saver award space, but the price is higher: 30k/60k Korean miles roundtrip in economy/First.

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Ultimate Rewards and 4:5 transfer partner of Starpoints.

  • The Chase Sapphire Preferred is a personal card that earns 50k Ultimate Rewards after spending $4k in 3 months.You also get 5k bonus points for adding an authorized user while applying, so I think of this as a 55k bonus point card. (Adding an authorized user does not prevent that person from getting the card at the same time or in the future as a primary account holder and getting the full sign up bonus.)

    The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more.

    The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

    While I can not directly link to the current Sapphire Preferred offer, you may find it by clicking below if you decide to apply. (I receive a commission, and your support keeps this blog going.)

4. Singapore Miles Award: 35,000+ Singapore Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class from 60,000 Singapore Miles Roundtrip

Singapore miles can book United economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 17,500 Singapore miles each way. One way in United First Class is 30,000 Singapore miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on United flights on and transfer your Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

While it’s ideal to use one of the three previous options to book an award to Hawaii, you might not live in a place that can take advantage of Allegiant flights or Avios awards, and Delta is notoriously poor for releasing award space (which means Korean miles are useless.) The best bet on this list is definitely United opening up award space, which you can then book with Singapore miles.

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program. Cards I like that earns points that transfer:

What Wasn’t On the List

  • United miles
  • Delta miles
  • American Airlines miles

Flights on those airlines can be booked cheaper with Singapore, Korean, and British Airways miles respectively.


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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    • That can be a good deal. On a random day this summer, I see Alaska charging $632 r/t from SEA and $1135 r/t from Washington-DCA. That works out to about $360 per person from SEA and $600 per person from DCA, and you both earn mileage credit! So if you have the pass, it beats several of the deals listed.

  1. For HA, don’t you have to have one of their credit cards to get the 35k ticket? Otherwise the normal low level award is 40k.

    • I think you’re right! And I had no idea. Hawaiian does a horrible job advertising the benefit; I thought that was the normal price. Looking over the CC materials, the only thing it says is “access to discounted awards” and the normal price does appear to be 20k oneway not 17.5k oneway. Thank you for correcting me.

  2. Heres another idea:
    Korean air is a partner with both Alaska and Hawaiian airlines and a transfer partner with ultimate rewards. You can fly to Honolulu from the mainland USA for 30,000 pts RT economy, and Korean awards desk is feeless. Not shabby.

    • Thanks for reminding me. This is a very good value. Since I don’t have any Korean miles, I would be using 30k UR, which I value a little above 35,000 Hawaiian miles. But if this award can have interesting routings or free oneways, it would be one of the very top values. I just called the award desk, but they’re closed for the holiday. I plan on digging deeper into this.

      • Did you ever dig into this? I don’t remember seeing anything on it since last June, and I’d love to hear about some creative uses for Korean miles.

  3. Thanks for a great article, I plan to keep it as reference for future bookings!

    As luck would have it, I just booked four tickets (2 from OAK and 2 from LAX) to OGG using a combination of BA, AA, and ThankYou points. I totally spaced out on calling BA for flights on Alaska, so used AA miles for that segment when I didn’t see availability on Oh well, more BA Avios for the next trip 🙂

    As a side note, United also has a non-stop to NYC area (though not JFK): UA 15 EWR/HNL and UA 14 HNL/EWR.

  4. In February I was easily able to find a one week trip on DL from CVG to Kona in late Nov/early Dec for 40K miles. Going via SLC on outbound and LAX on the return. There were actually a few dates to choose from (using some of the strategies espoused by the Delta Points blog). Possibly I have better availability due to Diamond elite status.

    • I just checked LAX-HNL again, and it was 90% medium, 10% high, and zero low for the next 11 months. There may be better availability from other Delta gateways to Hawaii, but using Delta miles to Hawaii is pretty tough.

  5. I’m most intrigued by your first option (American Airlines Award Free Stopover) because I have a ton of AA and Avois miles.

    I live on the east coast (DC). Just got off the phone w/ AA and they said this award isn’t possible because “it’s not the most direct routing”

    Any pointers on how to get this done, I’d like to go to Tokyo with a stopover in Hawaii.



    • From JFK-HNL, you want to fly the direct Hawaiian flights for 17.5k Hawaiian miles each way. From BOS, I would probably look at United miles because I think they offer a ton of space to Hawaii for 20k each way.

  6. Thanks. I was also thinking about doing paying for the flight to the west coast via Virgin or Jetblue and then using miles from the west coast using Avios.

  7. I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday and I’m so happy!! My productivity at work has decreased by 100%, oops. Anyway, let me get this straight. I live in Chicago, so can I book TYO-HNL on JAL for 20K Avios and then get HNL-ORD as the “free stopover” add-on at the end of my trip even though that leg will be on AA? Please let me know if I’m understanding this incorrectly as I just called BA and the guy had no idea what I was talking about.

      • Got it, thanks! I need to read more about Avios awards, but good thing I have tons of AA miles too 🙂 So I can use AA miles on JAL from TYO-HNL and then combine that with a free HNL-ORD leg on AA right? It sounds similar to when you were able to combine Qantas with AA for your brother’s trip.

        • you are right. TYO-HNL will price the same as TYO-HNL stop HNL-ORD give or take a few bucks in taxes. Read my Avios series.

  8. I’m trying to do something very similar…

    WAS-HNL (stop) HNL-TYO (destination)
    TYO-ORD (stop) ORD-WAS (destination)

    I have tons of AA and Avios. I would prefer to use Avios. AA website shows availablity for the above routing (using combination of AA and hawaiian, does not show japan airlines availability).

    However Avios website does not. Is it possible to book the above routing using Avios points? If so, can it be done online?

    The second question is – is there any advantage to flying on Japan Air for the above routing, over hawaiian or AA flights?


    • 1) AA partners with Hawaiian, but BA doesn’t, so you can’t use Avios on Hawaiian.
      2) You should prefer to do that with AA miles. An Avios award on that route would cost tons more miles (because Avios is distance based) and tons more dollars because Avios charges huge surcharges between the USA and Asia.
      3) If you use AA miles for an economy award, I don’t think you’d see much difference between Hawaiian and Japan Airlines.

  9. Scott,
    I live in Hawaii but need to travel on Detroit to visit family on the holidays. I’m trying to understand if I can get the American Airlines “Free Stopover” deal to work for me. It sounds like I would have to travel to Australia, or somewhere internationally afterwards. Can I delay the international part for 6 months, to go there another time, then fly back home to Hawaii?

  10. My husband and I have 100k AA miles each. Could we book our family of 4 to Hawaii from Boston by transferring to Avios? Can we do a free stopover in California?

  11. can u help with getting to middle east the cheapest way with miles and which credit card shd i signup would be best for roundtrip from dfw to dxb

  12. There is also Korean miles which you get from Chase Ultimate Rewards which allow a 30k coach 60k First Class from Continental US on either Hawaiian or Alaska…………

  13. BA used to impose the phone fee on anything that wasn’t bookable online as policy, but not anymore. Now only certain redemptions (Aer Lingus, for example) incur a phone fee, but Alaska does not. Case of hang-up-call-again if an agent insists on charging (though asking for a supervisor will make them look up the policy and it is clearly stated in their manuals).

  14. This past Feb. my husband and I flew UA going economy EWR-LAX-KOA, stayed 4 days, then ITO(Hilo)-OGG, stayed 5 days, and returned in business class OGG-HNL-EWR (only the HNL-EWR leg was business). Award cost was 68,500 each.

    We would like to return to Hawaii (possibly fall 2016 or early 2017) but only visit Maui and Kauai. Any of the NYC airports would work but we’d prefer to go in and out of the same airport because we live an hour or so away so would be driving/long term parking. Since this trip would involve interisland flights, what miles are best? And, we would love to fly business non-stop on the return since it’s a long overnight flight. Does that limit us to using United at least on the return?


    • This post answers the question. Korean miles are best if there is Delta award space. If there is only United space, Singapore miles are best. There is no nonstop from either of those islands to the New York area.


  16. If leaving from Detroit trying to get to Maui using Korean Air will it still be 45k miles for first class on Delta?

  17. Why no mention of Lufthansa Miles? 35 K for united first one way. Barclay card for LH Miiles and More is 35k.
    I just booked BOI-SFO-HNL 35 K 1st then 6 K HNL-LIH with United miles.

    • Same exact flights are 25k Korean, so why pay more? (If you only have ThankYou Points or Membership Rewards, which transfer to Flying Blue but not Korean, that’s one reason I suppose.)

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