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Sweet Spot Sunday: How to fly to Hawaii for just 35,000 miles round-trip

July 25, 2021
9 min read
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TPG senior news editor Clint Henderson recently described his third pandemic-era trip to Hawaii as "easy, breezy, beautiful." If you've also got Hawaii on your mind -- and just about any transferrable currency in your pocket -- you can use today's domestic award sweet spot to fly to Hawaii on Delta-operated flights.

In this guide, I'll describe how to leverage the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program to fly round-trip between the mainland U.S. and Hawaii for just 35,000 Flying Blue miles plus minimal taxes and fees. Don't worry if you don't have any Flying Blue miles yet, though. Flying Blue is a transfer partner of multiple transferrable currencies, including American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards and Citi ThankYou Rewards.

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Why it's special

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Frankly, there are many ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles. For example, I recently wrote about how you can fly to Hawaii from 13,000 Avios each way. And you can also fly to Hawaii for just 15,000 Turkish miles round-trip. So, redeeming 35,000 Flying Blue miles for an economy-class round trip isn't the lowest cost award you'll find to Hawaii. And if you can find a non-stop Delta award of fewer than 3,000 miles, redeeming Virgin Atlantic Flying Club miles may provide better value.

But, if you want to fly a longer Delta non-stop flight or Delta-operated connecting flights to Hawaii, you should consider the Air France/KLM Flying Blue program. After all, if you can find award space, you can frequently book Delta-operated awards from mainland U.S. to Hawaii with the Flying Blue program for far less than with Delta Skymiles. And unlike many of the Hawaii award flight sweet spots, you're not limited to west-coast gateways. Instead, assuming you can find award availability, you can fly from anywhere in the mainland U.S. that's served by Delta.

Related: You may not need a test for Hawaii anymore: Everything you need to know about visiting the islands now

How to book this award

You can book Flying Blue awards via Air France or KLM. Both sites can be frustrating to use, but let's walk through how to book this award on the KLM site.

Start here and click on "Book via KLM." Once you do so, you'll need to log in to your Flying Blue account. So, create an account if you don't already have one.

(Screenshot courtesy of klm.nl)

After logging in, you can enter your desired flight details. I recommend searching for a one-way award for one passenger unless you must travel in a larger group.

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(Screenshot courtesy of klm.nl)

After clicking the "Search flights" button, you may get a message stating, "Sorry, there are no fares available for this date. Please try again." If you get this message, you may need to go back to the start to search for availability on a different date since this page often acts buggy. But, if you happened to search for a route and date with availability, you'll see some award options on the next page.

(Screenshot courtesy of klm.nl)

If you found an award option that works for your trip, click the green box that shows the rate. Doing so will take you to a page where you can see the details of your award ticket.

(Screenshot courtesy of klm.nl)

If these details are acceptable, click on "Select" and then on "Continue to trip summary." Doing so will show a final trip summary.

(Screenshot courtesy of klm.nl)

If this summary is correct and you want to continue with your booking, click "Continue to passenger details." If you have enough miles in your account, you can enter the passenger details for your award and complete the booking. But, if you don't have enough miles in your account, you'll see the following error: "Unfortunately, you do not have enough Miles for this booking. Please select a different flight." I don't have enough miles in my account, so this is as far as I can guide you through the booking process.

Related: The best websites for searching SkyTeam award availability

How to earn miles for this award

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Don't worry if you don't have enough miles in your Flying Blue account to book your award. One of the highlights of Flying Blue is that it's a transfer partner of multiple transferrable currencies, including:

If you have transferrable points and miles, it's easy to get enough miles to redeem for Flying Blue awards. However, if you want to replenish your stash of transferrable points and miles, consider adding one of the following travel rewards cards to your wallet and spending to earn its bonus:

Alternatively, you could add the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard® to your wallet. This $89 annual fee card currently offers a sign-up bonus of a $100 statement credit and 50,000 bonus miles after you make $2,000 or more in purchases within the first 90 days of your account opening. Plus, you'll earn 3x miles on purchases with SkyTeam member airlines and 1.5x miles on all other purchases.

The information for the Air France KLM World Elite Mastercard has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

Related: Sweet Spot Sunday: Fly from the US to Europe, North Africa from 21,500 miles each way

Bottom line

There are many ways to use points and miles to fly to Hawaii. Today I discussed one method: redeeming Air France/KLM Flying Blue miles for Delta-operated flights. This method isn't best for everyone, but it can provide excellent value for central and east coast U.S. residents. And, since there's no benefit to booking this award as a round trip, you could book an open-jaw itinerary and visit two (or more) Hawaiian islands. Then, you could book your inter-island Hawaii travel separately.

Finally, before transferring points to Flying Blue, check cash rates for your award. We've recently seen some excellent deals, including Hawaii flights from $81 each way. If you’re looking to transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you may get a better deal booking travel through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal when paid rates are low. And you can redeem Capital One miles at a fixed rate toward new or existing travel purchases. So, although you can often get excellent value by transferring points, it's always worth checking cash rates too.

Featured image by (Photo by Zach Honig/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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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
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

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
3XEarn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • 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

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees