The Best Ways to Get to Hawaii Using Points and Miles

Oct 2, 2018

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From Waikiki Beach to the Road to Hana, Hawaii truly has something for everyone. While each of the Hawaiian islands has its own unique flare, all have pristine beaches, stunning natural beauty and the promise of a relaxing holiday that doesn’t require a passport or international travel.

Planning a trip to The Aloha State? More airlines than ever are flying to the Hawaiian islands from the continental United States. And more airlines = more redemption opportunities, so in this article, we’ll show you the four best ways to get to Hawaii from the mainland US using miles and points. While we’ve focused on finding flights to Honolulu (HNL), pricing is the same to all Hawaiian islands unless otherwise noted.

Let’s get started!

British Airways Avios

Manchester, United Kingdom - May 11, 2017: American Airlines Boeing 767-300 wide-body passenger plane (N379AA) taxiing on Manchester International Airport tarmac. (Photo by Juha Remes / Getty Images).
Your next American flight to Hawaii could be booked using British Airways Avios. (Photo by Juha Remes / Getty Images).


British Airways Avios have been long known to provide excellent value for domestic award tickets on American Airlines. Thankfully, flights to Hawaii are no exception. American flies to Hawaii from many of its US hubs, including Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX). Though there have been issues with online award bookings in the past, it appears that these have been resolved.

In addition, British Airways also partners with Alaska Airlines, giving you additional options for reaching Hawaii. After its integration with Virgin America, the Seattle-based carrier flies to the Hawaiian islands from multiple West Coast gateways, including Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA). The only downside to these options is that awards on Alaska using British Airways Avios must be booked over the phone.

Between the airlines, you can fly to nearly every Hawaiian island using British Airways Avios starting at just 12,500 Avios each way (plus taxes and fees) in economy. But there’s one important consideration to keep in mind: thanks to the carrier’s distance-based award chart, flights from the Midwest or East Coast will cost more than nonstop flights western gateways. As a result, using Avios is typically the best option when departing from Arizona, California, Oregon or Washington.

Here’s a sampling of how much round-trip tickets cost from various departure cities:

West Coast: Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL), nonstop

  • Economy: 25,000 Avios
  • First Class: 75,000 Avios

Midwest: Chicago (ORD) to Honolulu (HNL), connecting

  • Economy: 45,000 Avios
  • First Class: 115,000 Avios

East Coast: New York (JFK) to Honolulu (HNL), connecting

  • Economy: 50,000 Avios
  • First Class: 150,000 Avios

Getting British Airways Avios

If you’re looking to book an award flight to Hawaii through British Airways, Avios are quite easy to earn. You can open the British Airways Visa Signature Card and receive 4 Avios for every $1 spent on all purchases within your first year up to $30,000. That’s up to 120,000 bonus Avios. If you’re departing from the West Coast and earn this entire sign-up bonus, you’d be able to book four round-trip flights to Hawaii from this haul of Avios alone.

Points also transfer from Marriott, American Express Membership Rewards (sometimes with a transfer bonus) and Chase Ultimate Rewards, giving you a plethora of ways to boost your account balance.

Alaska Mileage Plan

Alaska operates exclusively Boeing aircraft, while Virgin America has a fleet or Airbus A320s.
Alaska offers extensive service to the Hawaiian Islands from a variety of western cities.

Instead of using Avios for flights to Hawaii, you could book the exact same airlines (Alaska and American) directly through Alaska’s Mileage Plan program. The big benefit here is that Alaska’s award chart is region- rather than distance-based, so a connecting flight from the US to Hawaii won’t set you back additional miles. This is especially useful for flights originating on the East Coast or Midwest or for flights from smaller western gateways that “force” a connection in a larger hub.

Here’s how much it costs to fly round-trip from the Lower 48 to the Hawaiian islands using Alaska miles. Note that economy flights are more expensive on American Airlines than Alaska Airlines, so pick your flights wisely.

Continental United States to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):  

  • Economy: 30,000 miles
  • First: 80,000 miles

Continental United States to Hawaii (American Airlines):  

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • First: 80,000 miles

Regardless of which airline you take to get there, these flights are bookable on Alaska’s website.

Getting Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan Miles

The downside to booking through Alaska? It can be hard to earn Alaska Mileage Plan miles. The program doesn’t partner with any of the three major transferable point programs, though you could transfer Marriott points to your account. You could also open the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature credit card, which is currently offering 30,000 bonus miles after you make $1,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening. Finally, one of the best ways to boost your Alaska account balance is by leveraging the program’s frequent buy miles promotions. In some cases, this has allowed members to purchase miles for a little as 1.97 cents apiece. However, this tends to only make sense when redeeming your miles for international premium class redemptions, so unless you’re looking at a super pricey economy ticket, I wouldn’t recommend it to get to Hawaii.

Korean Airlines SkyPass

Fly Delta to Hawaii using Flying Blue miles instead of SkyMiles.
Fly Delta to Hawaii using Korean miles instead of SkyMiles and you’ll save a boatload of miles for another trip.

Korean Airlines offers the cheapest award pricing to Hawaii through its SKYPASS program, though you’ll need to find award availability on its Sky Team partner Delta Airlines in order to book. The airline prices all awards originating in the United States as the same award, and the pricing is comparable to a standard domestic route on many legacy airlines’ award charts. Here’s how many miles you’d need for a round-trip award ticket to Hawaii through Korean:

Continental United States to Hawaii:

  • Economy: 25,000 miles
  • First Class: 45,000 miles

Getting Korean Airlines SkyPASS Miles

Korean Airlines SKYPASS was a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner until August 2018. Nowadays, you have two options for earning Korean Airlines miles without flying: using the SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card from US Bank or by transferring in Marriott points. The SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 SKYPASS miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

A vintage poster of a 1950s United aircraft flying to Hawaii next to a United 767-300 in Honolulu from 2017.
It’s easier to get to Hawaii on United than in the past, but your best bet for award flights is by redeeming miles through Singapore’s KrisFlyer program.

Based in a Star Alliance hub? Consider using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for your next jaunt to Hawaii. Singapore Airlines partner Untied Airlines operates nonstop flights to Honolulu (HNL) and other island destinations from many of its hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), Denver (DEN), San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX). Note that the Star Alliance award chart for KrisFlyer redemptions splits Hawaii off from North America, so you’ll want to make

Singapore Airlines also partners with Alaska Airlines and provides exceptionally cheap fares on these flights. The KrisFlyer program has a separate award chart for Alaska redemptions and in some cases is even cheaper than awards through British Airways. Unfortunately, this is only valid from certain gateways; just about every state east of the Mississippi River isn’t eligible for these award tickets. In addition, booking first class will command a very high premium compared to economy.

Here’s how much round-trip tickets to Hawaii cost using Krisflyer miles:

Booking United Airlines Flights with KrisFlyer

Continental United States to Hawaii (United Airlines):

  • Economy: 35,000 miles
  • First Class: 60,000 miles

Booking Alaska Airlines Flights with Krisflyer

West Coast to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):

  • Economy: 24,000 miles
  • First Class: 89,000 miles

Rocky Mountain states* to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):

  • Economy: 23,000 miles
  • First Class: 84,000 miles

Midwest to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):

  • Economy: 25,000 miles
  • First Class: 93,000 miles

* See the award chart for details on which states fall into which zone

Getting Singapore Krisflyer Miles

Singapore Krisflyer is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Marriott, so it’s easy to top up your balance. Singapore Airlines does not have a US cobranded credit card, so you must transfer in points from elsewhere.

Other Options

Of course, none of the four programs mentioned above belong to a “big three” carrier in the US. What if you’re sitting on a ton of other miles and want to get to Hawaii? Well, that’s certainly a possibility; it’ll typically just cost you more miles. Here’s a quick rundown of how to book award flights to the Aloha State using the respective loyalty programs of the major legacy carriers in the US:

Continental United States to Hawaii using American AAdvantage:

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • First class: 80,000 miles

Continental United States to Hawaii using United MileagePlus:

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • First class: 80,000 miles

Continental United States to Hawaii using Delta SkyMiles:

Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, so it can be hard to accurately price their awards to Hawaii. On the lowest level, Delta economy awards start at 45,000 miles round-trip from the continental United States to Hawaii, but they can often be much higher. However, the airline occasionally runs promo awards for just 33,000 miles round-trip, so run a search before booking your next trip out west.

Bottom Line

Waikiki Beach, Oahu. (Photo by 7maru / Getty Images)
You could be strolling down Waikiki Beach on Oahu for your next trip if you utilize one of the above programs. (Photo by 7maru / Getty Images)

There are many ways to redeem your hard-earned points and miles to get to the Hawaiian islands from the United States, and many offer a comparatively low price point. Korean Airlines SKYPASS is one of the most economical options, but limited earning opportunities coupled with unreliable Delta award inventory makes it difficult or impractical for most travelers. For West Coast travelers, booking nonstop Alaska or American flights using British Airways Avios can be a phenomenal value, while many readers may want to consider using Singapore KrisFlyer miles to book United-operated flights.

One thing’s for sure: you have plenty of options at your disposal, and the competition may soon heat up even further. Southwest announced its four Hawaii destinations earlier this year, and the carrier could announce its inaugural flights at any time, opening up yet another way to fly to the Aloha State. Here’s hoping you’ll be able to utilize one of these options for your next vacation!

Featured image by Sam Antonio Photography / Getty Images.

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