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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.
American Airlines has launched an aggressive attack fare on United hubs of Newark (EWR), Houston (IAH), Denver (DEN) and San Francisco (SFO) offering round-trip flights for less than $300 in Basic Economy, with the option to buy up to Main Cabin for $90 more round-trip. Most of these city pairs have one-stop options, but it might take a little digging to find these instead of the more-numerous two-stop options.
For this particular deal, the cheapest options are showing up on American Airlines’ website after clicking through Google Flights. The fares aren’t appearing on AA.com through a direct search, and I haven’t been able to find the fares through an OTA such as Expedia or Priceline.
If you can’t make a trip happen in the next couple of months, you can score a deal on a 2019 Hawaii getaway through AA Vacation’s ongoing $130-off sale. You can get a flight+hotel for two adults and a five-night stay in Kona for just $986 total ($493 per person). Even better, that’s in Main Cabin — instead of Basic Economy — and the flights code as Special Fares.
Routes: EWR/DEN/IAH/SFO to HNL/LIH/KOA
Cost: $284+ round-trip in basic economy
Travel Dates: October to early December 2018
Pay With: The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline), Citi Premier Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, American Express® Gold Card, Citi Prestige (3x on airfare plus excellent trip delay insurance) or Chase Sapphire Preferred (2x on travel)
Booking Link: Expedia, Priceline or directly with the airline
Here are a few examples of what you can book:
Newark (EWR) to Honolulu (HNL) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Denver (DEN) to Honolulu (HNL) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Houston Intercontinental (IAH) to Lihue (LIH) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Denver (DEN) to Lihue (LIH) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Denver (DEN) to Kona (KOA) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
San Francisco (SFO) to Lihue (LIH) for $284 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Newark (EWR) to Lihue (LIH) for $291 round-trip on American Airlines Basic Economy:
Newark (EWR) to Kona (KOA) for $292 round-trip on 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® Gold Card, Citi Premier, Citi 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.
With great travel benefits, 2x points on travel & dining and a 50,000 point sign up bonus, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great card for those looking to get into the points and miles game. Here are the top 5 reasons it should be in your wallet, or read our definitive review for more details.
- Earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $625 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
- Chase Sapphire Preferred named "Best Credit Card for Flexible Travel Redemption" - Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2018
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- No foreign transaction fees
- 1:1 point transfer to leading airline and hotel loyalty programs
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 50,000 points are worth $625 toward travel
- No blackout dates or travel restrictions - as long as there's a seat on the flight, you can book it through Chase Ultimate Rewards