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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly to Hawaii for 20,000 AAdvantage miles each way

June 19, 2022
8 min read
Sunset on a Hawaii beach
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Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new information.


You might assume a flight to Hawaii is expensive. However, especially when paid rates are high, you can save a lot of money by redeeming airline miles for your flight.

There are many ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles. In this guide, I’ll discuss a Hawaii sweet spot that travelers with American Airlines AAdvantage miles may want to utilize: American Airlines off-peak awards.

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Why it’s special

(Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

As I mentioned above, there are many ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles. There are also some excellent sweet spots to consider if you have transferable points. For example, we've previously covered how to fly to Hawaii for 13,000 British Airways Avios each way.

However, if you already have American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you may want to redeem these miles before transferring points to another program. After all, points and miles are a bad long-term investment. Also, points and miles in specific programs like American Airlines AAdvantage are more susceptible to devaluation than transferable points.

Based on American’s award charts, you can redeem American Airlines AAdvantage miles as follows for a one-way main cabin economy ticket between Hawaii and the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Canada:

  • MileSAAver Off Peak: 20,000 miles.
  • MileSAAver: 22,500 miles.
  • AAnytime Level 1: 40,000 miles.
  • AAnytime Level 2: 50,000 miles.

You may also see other award prices when you search for a main cabin economy award. After all, you may see Web Special awards for select flights and dates when you search on American Airlines’ website or mobile app. In this guide, though, I’ll focus on MileSAAver off-peak awards between the contiguous 48 U.S. states and Hawaii.

You’ll only see MileSAAver off-peak award pricing between the continental U.S. and Hawaii on flights operated by American Airlines. As evidenced by the "off-peak" part of its name, MileSAAver off-peak awards are only available on select dates:

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  • To Hawaii: Dec. 29 to March 12, Aug. 11 to Nov. 18 and Nov. 24 to Dec. 10.
  • From Hawaii: Jan. 7 to March 19, Aug. 18 to Nov. 27 and Dec. 3 to Dec. 25.

Of course, you might not find any MileSAAver availability on some off-peak dates and routes. You’ll also need to pay taxes and carrier-imposed fees on these awards. However, if your itinerary doesn’t have any long layovers, the taxes and fees will typically be $5.60 per person per award.

Related: American’s loyalty chief reveals the fate of AAdvantage award charts

How to book this award

American Airlines makes it relatively easy to search for awards on its website. Go to aa.com and enter your origin, destination, travel date and the number of passengers. Be sure to check “Redeem miles” before clicking “Search.”

(Screenshot from aa.com)

You’ll hopefully find some results on the next page. You’ll see the minimum price for your search date and surrounding dates, but the first results you see will likely cost more than this minimum price.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

You can click the arrow next to “Main Cabin” to sort prices from lowest to highest.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

You can also click “Stops” and “Nearby airports” to filter out specific options. For example, when flying from New York City, I often filter out inconvenient airports.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

Although there are multiple MileSAAver off-peak awards bookable on my sample date, I could click on “Calendar” to see my options for other dates. Any of the filters you selected so far should carry over to the calendar search. As you can see, there’s pretty good MileSAAver off-peak award availability from New York City to Honolulu in January 2023.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

Click on a date to move forward with booking. If I wanted to depart on Jan. 20, 2023, I’d have several MileSAAver off-peak one-stop award options.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

Click on the main cabin award cost for the option you want. You'll see your trip summary on the next page. But, you'll need to log in to continue booking.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

After logging in, you’ll need to enter passenger details, select seats if you want to and then review and pay for your trip.

(Screenshot from aa.com)

I have enough miles for this award. However, if I didn’t have enough miles, I assume American Airlines would have told me after I logged in.

Now let’s consider how to earn enough miles for this award.

Related: I had sworn off Hawaii during the pandemic — here’s why I went back (and plan to again)

How to earn miles for this award

Waikiki Beach in Hawaii. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

This sweet spot is best suited for travelers who already have American Airlines miles in their account. After all, you’ll want to consider other sweet spots to Hawaii if you have transferable points.

If you decide an American Airlines award is best for your trip and you need to earn more American Airlines AAdvantage miles, you can transfer points to American AAdvantage from:

Or, you could sign up for a new American Airlines credit card. Here are some of the best cards and their current sign-up bonuses:

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red cards has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

However, note that you’ll need to meet the minimum spending requirements on your new card and then wait for your bonus miles to post. So, signing up for a new card is only a good option if you’re planning your trip well in advance.

If you only need a few extra miles, you can also earn American Airlines miles through the AAdvantage shopping portal, AAdvantage Dining, SimplyMiles and other partner programs. Or, you could consider buying American Airlines miles during a promotion.

Related: How to change or cancel an American Airlines flight

Bottom line

If you want to fly to Hawaii, there are many award options to consider. Although American Airlines MileSAAver off-peak awards aren’t the least expensive awards you can book, they can be a good option if you have unused American Airlines miles sitting in your account.

However, it’s also worth checking paid rates. After all, we’ve recently seen several flight deals to Hawaii. So, be sure to consider whether to pay cash or points for your flight before booking.

If you’re not sure how to compare, check out this article on how to decide whether to redeem points for a flight or pay cash. If you choose to pay cash for your flight, consider using one of the best credit cards for airfare to maximize your earnings.

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.

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  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • 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
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.