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Airfare deals are typically only available on limited dates. We recommend you use Google Flights to find dates to fly, then book through an online travel agency such as Orbitz or Expedia, which allows you to cancel flights without penalty by 11pm Eastern Time within one day of booking. However, if you’re using The Platinum Card® from American Express, you’ll need to book directly with the airline or through the Amex Travel portal to get 5x MR points. Remember: Fares may disappear quickly, so book right away and take advantage of Orbitz or Expedia’s courtesy cancellation if you’re unable to get the time away from work or family.

As temperatures start to drop in some parts of the country, you might already be interested in booking a beach getaway this fall. Good news: Hawaii fares have dipped under $400 round-trip from a wide swath of the country, including fares for just $344 round-trip from New York City.

These prices are available through American Airlines, which unfortunately just implemented basic economy on its Hawaii routes last week. While you still won’t be able to select a seat or be able to upgrade into business/first, the good news is that these fares now include a carry-on bag.

For the best experience flying from New York City to Hawaii, I’d recommend flying AA’s flagship A321T aircraft from JFK to Los Angeles (LAX). The premium-heavy aircraft has just 102 seats (10 lie-flat first class, 20 lie-flat business class, 36 extra-legroom economy and 36 standard economy) which provides an exclusive feel. Plus the aircraft offers power and in-seat entertainment in all seats. AA elites who book a Main Cabin fare (i.e. not basic economy) can get one of the best free upgrades available.

The economy cabin on the A321T is actually pretty short, with only 12 rows.
The economy cabin on the A321T only has 12 rows, and half of them have extra legroom. Image by Kevin Song / The Points Guy.

There are no tricks to find these fares. Use Google Flights to search for your preferred departure and destination and then book directly with the airline or an OTA like Expedia.

Airlines: American Airlines
Routes: JFK/LAX/SFO/SJC to HNL/OGG/KOA/LIH
Cost: $247+ round-trip in economy
Travel Dates: September-December 2018
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi ThankYou Premier CardChase Sapphire Reserve, Premier Rewards Gold Card from American ExpressCiti Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Booking Link: PricelineOrbitzExpedia or directly with the airline

Here are a few examples of what you can book:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Lihue (LIH) for $247 round-trip nonstop in American Airlines Basic Economy:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Kona (KOA) for $247 round-trip nonstop in American Airlines Basic Economy:

Los Angeles (LAX) to Kahului (OGG) for $298 round-trip nonstop in American Airlines Basic Economy:

San Francisco (SFO) to Kahului (OGG) for $314 round-trip in American Airlines Basic Economy:

San Jose (SJC) to Honolulu (HNL) for $314 round-trip in American Airlines Basic Economy:

New York Kennedy (JFK) to Honolulu (HNL) for $344 round-trip in American Airlines Basic Economy:

Maximize Your Purchase

Don’t forget to use a credit card that earns additional points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on flights booked directly with airlines or American Express Travel), Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express Premier Rewards GoldCiti ThankYou PremierCiti Prestige (3x on airfare) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on all travel purchases). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

H/T: Scott’s Cheap Flights

Featured image by Adam-Springer via Getty Images.

The Platinum Card® from American Express

The American Express Platinum card has some of the best perks out there: cardholders enjoy the best domestic lounge access (Delta SkyClubs, Centurion Lounges, and Priority Pass), a $200 annual airline fee credit as well as up to $200 in Uber credits, and mid-tier elite status at SPG, Marriott, and Hilton. Combined with the 60,000 point welcome offer -- worth $1,140 based on TPG's valuations -- this card is a no-brainer for frequent travelers. Here are 5 reasons you should consider this card, as well as how you can figure out if the $550 annual fee makes sense for you.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you use your new Card to make $5,000 in purchases in your first 3 months.
  • Up to $200 for Uber rides annually. Credit and Uber VIP status available to Basic Card Member only.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or with American Express Travel.
  • 5X Membership Rewards® points on eligible hotels booked on amextravel.com.
  • As a Platinum Card Member, you can enjoy access to the Global Lounge Collection, the only credit card airport lounge access program that includes proprietary lounge locations around the world.
  • Receive complimentary benefits with an average total value of $550 with Fine Hotels & Resorts. Learn More.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit, up to $200 per calendar year in baggage fees and more at one qualifying airline.
  • Get up to $100 in statement credits annually for purchases at Saks Fifth Avenue on your Platinum Card®. That's up to $50 in statement credits semi-annually. Enrollment required.
  • $550 annual fee.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees
Intro APR on Purchases
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$550
Balance Transfer Fee
See Terms
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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