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Hawaii deal alert: Score flights from the West Coast to Hawaii from $238 round trip

March 19, 2022
5 min read
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We found another killer flight sale to Hawaii. This one has fares to Hilo that start at $238 round trip. While not as flashy or as big a tourist magnet as other parts of Hawaii, this laid-back city on the east end of the Big Island has a well-deserved reputation for its relaxed vibe and plentiful outdoor activities.

Whether you want to hike, swim or simply chill and enjoy the beautiful surroundings, you can't go wrong with Hilo. Especially not with this sale. Most of the fares we are featuring are for economy but note that United's cheapest seats don't allow you to bring a full-size carry-on. It will likely cost you between $50-$80 round trip to upgrade and get overhead bin space.

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Photo taken during sunset In Hilo, Hawaii. (Photo: Stefano Pucci/EyeEm for Getty Images)

Deal basics

Airlines: Hawaiian, United
Routes: JFK, LAX, PDX, PHX, SAN and others to ITO
Travel dates: March — May
Cost: From $238 round trip

Thanks to Scott’s Cheap Flights for letting us know about this deal. They offer deals up to 90% off via its Premium membership, which users can try for free for 14 days and then for $49 per year. You can upgrade to the Elite tier for $199 per year and also receive premium economy, business-class and first-class alerts. TPG readers can use promo code TPG25 and save 25% off a Premium membership through March 31.

Related: 7 fun things first-timers should do when they visit Hilo

Sample flights

Search for flights via Google Flights by entering your departure city and the travel dates you prefer. As always with these deals, flexibility is your friend. The greater your travel window, the better chance you have of scoring a sweet fare.

Below is a flight from LAX to Hilo (ITO) in late April for $238 roundtrip, which is more than 50% cheaper than the usual price. You get a free carry-on bag, but if you like to travel with more, your first checked bag is $60.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

There are lots of great deals to be found if you live in San Francisco. We found this great itinerary on Hawaiian Air for $310 round-trip in May. That's half what that ticket usually costs, and it comes with a free carry-on. The best thing about this one is it only has one stop. Most of the cheapest fares we found from SFO-ITO involved two stops.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

If you want to plan your fall getaway, you can book a nonstop basic economy seat on United for a late September visit to the Big Island for just $318 round-trip. You'll fly to Kailua Kona (KOA) on the west side of the island, which is about 90 minutes from Hilo.

The sale extends to the Pacific Northwest, as well. Portland (PDX) to Hilo can be booked on Hawaiian Airlines for $412 roundtrip, a significant discount from normal prices.

We found a rock-bottom fare from San Diego (SAN) to Hilo on Hawaiian Air in May that was less than $300. This itinerary usually sells for more than double that price.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

If you're in New York City, you can get a round-trip ticket to Hilo from Kennedy Airport (JFK) for under $500, which is practically unheard of for spring travel. Again, Hawaiian Airlines had the lowest fares we saw for travel from the East Coast in April and May. United also had some discounted tickets, but they were more expensive and basic economy, so you'll incur the added cost of either upgrading or checking a bag if you want to bring luggage.

(Screenshot courtesy of Google Flights)

Related: Book this, not that: Hawaii resorts edition

Maximize your purchase

Don’t forget to use a card that earns bonus points on airfare purchases, such as The Platinum Card® from American Express (5x on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel), on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, Citi Prestige® Card (5x on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3x on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3x on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2x on travel). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.

The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Featured image by Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

TPG featured card

Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards

1 - 3X points
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases

Intro offer

Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points60,000 points
For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

Annual Fee

$95

Recommended Credit

670-850
Excellent, Good
Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases
Best starter travel card
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
1XEarn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Intro Offer
    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

    Earn 80,000 ThankYou® points
    60,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $95
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent, Good

Why We Chose It

The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

Pros

  • Earns 3x points on restaurants, supermarkets, gas stations, air travel and hotels.
  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
  • Points transfer to 16 airline programs, from JetBlue to Virgin Atlantic.
  • World Elite Mastercard benefits, extended warranty, damage and theft protection.

Cons

  • $95 annual fee
  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases