In the previous four articles, we covered using Singapore Airlines miles, Virgin Atlantic miles, British Airways Avios, and Korean Air miles as not-widely-known, but much cheaper ways to use miles to get from the mainland United States to Hawaii. Most of the best options come from flying out of West Coast gateway cities, which makes sense as they are less ground to cover.
But what if you do live on the East Coast?
There are a few strategies that work well :
(1) Use Korean Air miles to fly on Delta’s lie-flat DeltaOne business class seats for 45,000 miles round-trip. Economy class is just 25,000 miles round-trip.
(2) Use Singapore Airlines miles to book United’s lie-flat BusinessFirst for 60,000 miles round-trip.
(3) Use American Airline’s off-peak award redemptions to Hawaii (January 12 to March 13 & August 22 to December 15). These are just 35,000 miles round-trip but are only available in economy class. If you don’t have enough American AAdvantage miles, you can buy additional miles at $0.0295 each, which would make those seats $516 each way or $1033 round-trip.
(4) You can buy miles from Avianca/TACA LifeMiles for even cheaper when they are on sale. This is usually for just $0.0156 cents each. Redeem them immediately for travel on United Airlines and you’ll end up paying $351 each way in coach or $624 each way in business class. I did this a few years ago to get out of a blizzard in New York just before Christmas.
(5) Use a companion fare. Remember all those $99 + tax companion fares you’ve received from Alaska Airlines and others after signing up for credit cards? Expensive routes like those from the East Coast to Hawaii would a good way to use them. Some like Delta and American have restrictions that require a HI address to use them on the Hawaii routes, but if you’re visiting family often or have a second home there, that might be an option for you.
(6) Rumor has it that Southwest will be starting flights to Hawaii as well, so use their Companion Pass benefit to fly to Hawaii (which you can get by signing up for the personal and business credit cards when they have 50,000 point sign up bonuses and meeting $10k in additional spending). The second passenger only has to pay taxes and fees. Two for one.
Keep in mind that Delta and United both fly lie-flat business class seats from the East Coast, which could make them more attractive to fly direct for 11 hours than two long-ish flights in economy class.
I’m also including a handy little calculator that lines up all of the mileage programs that are relatively straightforward to accrue miles on, which banks can transfer into them to top off accounts, which you can buy directly from, and whether they have a co-branded credit card you can use to boost your mileage balance.
Taken together, this might help you and your family get to Hawaii, even during peak season.