Last time, I walked through the rates for redeeming Singapore’s KrisFlyer miles on the new Virgin America routes to Hawaii from San Francisco (starting December 3rd, 2015).
But then I thought, “Can we do better?” Yes! …If you live west of Dallas.
Virgin America also has another partner with a mileage program that’s easy to accrue miles in — its sister airline Virgin Atlantic! (Virgin Atlantic’s airline code is VS, and Virgin America’s code is VX. They are loosely affiliate company that happen to license the Virgin brand and have an equally loose frequent flyer partnership; they are not part of the same company or a global alliance.)
Now how does this compare to using Singapore’s miles to book? I called Virgin Atlantic to get a quote on the same route, SFO-HNL, and got a great answer!
It took the agent a lot of searching to find space (so it’s not amazing availability) but the price quotes back are an amazing 25,000 miles roundtrip (VS doesn’t have one way awards) – better than nearly any other mileage program except BA out of the west coast on American or Alaska – and you get to fly Virgin instead of a legacy carrier or aging Alaska planes!
Since Virgin Atlantic prices their awards route-by-route, it IS more expensive to add on additional routes, but they are really to fairly cheap anywhere from Dallas westward – cheaper than Delta, United or American (non-off-peak).
Awards to San Francisco run 10,000 roundtrip from LAX, 12,500 roundtrip from San Diego, Las Vegas and Portland, 15,000 roundtrip from Seattle and 20,000 from Dallas. These rates plus the 25,000 SFO-HNL/OGG are all the same as or cheaper than the 45,000 other programs charge one-way for the privilege to go to Hawaii.
Moreover, Virgin Atlantic miles are also easy to obtain, again being a transfer partner of Chase, SPG and Citi, as well as having a credit card from Bank of America that has 55,000 mile signup bonuses.
In addition to Virgin America, Virgin Atlantic also provides a backdoor into Delta and Hawaiian Airlines flights. The rates are still slightly cheaper than Delta (40,000 vs 45,000 roundtrip in coach) and given how easy VS miles are to obtain, it seems like a no brainer to use them over SkyMiles or (harder to obtain) HawaiianMiles.
So hopefully, these two extra options will help you in making plans to get to Hawaii.
I’ll be following up with an overview of every possible way to get there via mileage programs (at least the ones that have easily obtainable miles). Has anyone else gotten quotes on that route? Either way, between Singapore and Virgin Atlantic (and the fact that their programs are starting to trump their US carrier partners on their own routes in many instances), It’s exciting to have more options to Hawaii!
Check out the next article in this series – using a carrier you’d never expect!