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Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly to Hawaii from 10,000 Avios each way (for a limited time)

May 01, 2022
8 min read
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Hawaii continues to be a TPG reader favorite. Its landscapes are enthralling, visiting doesn’t require a passport for U.S. citizens and it recently dropped all coronavirus restrictions. It’s the perfect time to visit.

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Luckily for readers, Hawaii participates in one of the best sweet spots in award travel. You can fly there from the West Coast for as little as 13,000 points one-way if you’ve got any of the following currencies:

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And if you’ve got American Express Membership Rewards points, you can fly there for as little as 10,000 points each way when you book by May 15. I’ll show you how.

Why it’s special

Tourists relaxing on a beach in Hawaii. (Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

British Airways Avios are one of the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles. The British Airways distance-based award chart prices economy flights lasting between 2,001 and 3,000 miles at just 13,000 Avios. On nonstop domestic U.S. award flights, such as those between the West Coast and Hawaii, the taxes and fees are just $5.60 each way.

Related: These are the best ways to redeem 100,000 British Airways Avios

When you book these flights with Avios, you’ll fly on British Airways partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. As a reference, these programs generally charge the following for the same routes:

  • American Airlines — 20,000-plus miles.
  • Alaska Airlines — 15,000-plus miles.

You may occasionally find sale fares lower than this. But the ability to book for 13,000 miles any time is a great deal — and 10,000 miles is a coup.

Through May 15, you can transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to British Airways in increments of 1,000 and receive a 40% bonus. In other words, you can transfer 10,000 Amex points to British Airways and receive 14,000 Avios — enough for a one-way flight from the West Coast to Hawaii.

These flights frequently sell for $260-plus, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting an outsize value for your rewards. When redeeming 13,000 Avios, you should average a value of 2 cents each. That’s a solid 33% more value than TPG’s valuation of Avios.

And TPG estimates the value of Amex points to be 2 cents each. During this transfer bonus, you should be able to get a value of 2.6 cents per point — 30% higher than TPG’s valuation.

How to book this award

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer a handful of routes to the four main Hawaiian islands — though some are seasonal. Here are the nonstop routes under 3,000 miles that you can book for 13,000 Avios each way in economy class.

Oahu (HNL)Maui (OGG)Kauai (LIH)Big Island (KOA)
Anchorage (ANC).Anchorage (ANC).Los Angeles (LAX).Anchorage (ANC).
Los Angeles (LAX).Los Angeles (LAX).Phoenix (PHX).Los Angeles (LAX).
Phoenix (PHX).Phoenix (PHX).Portland (PDX).Phoenix (PHX).
Portland (PDX).Portland (PDX).San Diego (SAN).Portland (PDX).
San Diego (SAN).San Diego (SAN).San Jose (SJC).San Diego (SAN).
San Francisco (SFO).San Francisco (SFO).Seattle (SEA).San Jose (SJC).
San Jose (SJC).San Jose (SJC).Seattle (SEA).
Seattle (SEA).Seattle (SEA).

Related: How to get to Hawaii: Fly nonstop from 27 mainland U.S. cities

You can search and book American- and Alaska-operated awards on the British Airways website. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1. Log in to the British Airways site

Sign in to your British Airways account and hover over the “Book” tab at the top. This is where you’ll find “Book a flight with Avios.”

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Step 2. Enter your travel details

Enter your origin and destination according to the above table outlining eligible routes. For this example, we’ll search from Los Angeles to Honolulu.

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Step 3. Select your ideal flight

Hopefully, you’re staring at loads of availability for your desired date. If you can’t seem to find any, you can head to the American Airlines or Alaska Airlines website and look for saver availability in a monthly calendar view, then return to the British Airways site once you find dates that work for you.

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Step 4. Click 'Continue' to pay for your flights

You’ll now see flight details and an award cost of 13,000 Avios plus $5.60. Click “Continue” to move forward with booking your award.

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

This exact flight costs 7,000 miles more when booked through American Airlines — 20,000 American Airlines miles and $5.60. You could save a whopping 14,000 miles round-trip by booking through British Airways!

(Screenshot from britishairways.com)

Related: How to book award flights using British Airways Avios

How to earn points for this award

(Photo by The Points Guy)

A major reason this award is a sweet spot is because of how truly effortless it is to earn British Airways Avios. You can transfer the following flexible currencies to British Airways:

You can also transfer Qatar Airways Avios to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. This is an important detail, because Qatar is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou points. Therefore, Citi ThankYou is a 1:1 transfer partner of British Airways by proxy.

Related: Why Qatar’s switch to Avios is huge news for Citi ThankYou points

There are plenty of cards that earn these types of points, such as:

Related: Here’s why you should care about British Airways Avios

Bottom line

Hawaii is just about as international as you can get without leaving the country. And a stash of British Airways Avios is one of the best ways to get there for (nearly) free.

You can even fly an open jaw to see two (or more) Hawaiian islands when using British Airways Avios since there’s no pricing benefit to booking a round-trip award with this sweet spot. Just be sure to check cash rates before you book. Sometimes airlines publish fire sales that make booking through the Chase travel portal a better deal. If you’re unsure how to decide, check out our post on when to book travel through Chase and when to transfer points.

Additional reporting by Sarah Hostetler.

Featured image by (Photo by Madison Blancaflor/The Points Guy)
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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  • 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
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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
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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