The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Mar 29, 2021

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From the bustling city of Honolulu to the Road to Hana, Hawaii truly has something for everyone. Each of the Hawaiian islands has its own unique flair, pristine beaches and stunning natural beauty. Hawaii is open to tourism again, giving us all something to look forward to.

If you’re planning a trip to The Aloha State, you’ll want to know about the best ways to get to Hawaii using miles and points. We’ve focused on finding flights to Honolulu (HNL), but keep in mind that pricing is the same to all Hawaiian islands unless otherwise noted.

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In This Post

Southwest Rapid Rewards

(GERMANY OUT) A Boeing 737 of Southwest Airlines approaching Lindbergh Field, with high rises of the San Diego skyline in the background. (Photo by Dünzl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Southwest recently launched an extensive Hawaii route network. (Photo by Dünzl/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

Southwest debuted new routes to Hawaii in 2019, both intra-Island and from the mainland U.S. This was great news for Southwest Companion Pass holders who can take a companion on all Southwest flights for the price of taxes. In other words: it’s BOGO for all flights.

Southwest Rapid Rewards is different from other programs on this list. Its award prices are tied to the cash price of a ticket. According to TPG’s valuations, Southwest points are generally worth 1.5 cents each toward flights. If you find a $600 round-trip ticket to Honolulu, you can expect to pay around 40,000 Southwest points.

Below are a couple of example prices. Here, a round-trip flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu  in July costs 28,073 points or ~$425 cash.

LAX-HNL Southwest Airlines
(Screenshot courtesy of Southwest.com)

Earning Southwest points

Southwest points are relatively easy to earn too. There are currently five Southwest credit cards offering big welcome bonuses. Three are personal cards:

And two are small-business cards:

Remember, you can still get the Southwest Companion Pass after earning 125,000 qualifying points in one calendar year. This includes miles earned with a credit card, so consider getting one to fast-track qualification. Due to the pandemic, Southwest is giving all members 25 qualifying flights and 25,000 qualifying points toward the Companion Pass.

You can also transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to Southwest instantly at a 1:1 ratio. That said, you’ll need a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, or Ink Business Preferred Credit Card to do this. Unfortunately, points transferred to Southwest don’t count towards the Companion Pass.

Further reading: How to quickly earn the Southwest Companion Pass

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles

Turkish Airlines Miles & Smiles offers great award pricing to Hawaii. A member of Star Alliance, so you can use these miles to book United Airlines award flights. Here’s a look at round-trip pricing:

  • 15,000 miles round-trip in economy
  • 25,000 miles round-trip in business class (United Airlines first class)

Those are stunning rates, but they come with a couple of drawbacks.

The first is the booking process. You must find open award seats with your favorite Star Alliance search tool and contact Turkish to book. To do this, call the airline at 1-800-874-8875 or send them an email. Keep in mind that you can only book saver-level awards with Turkish.

Further reading: Booking United first class to Hawaii with Turkish Miles & Smiles

Earning Turkish Airlines miles

Another drawback is that Turkish Airlines miles are hard to earn. The only efficient way to earn these miles is by spending on cards that earn Citi ThankYou Rewards points. You can transfer these points to Turkish Airlines at a 1:1 ratio, but it can take up to two days for the transfer to process.

Turkish Airlines lets you hold award seats for two days. Call Turkish Airlines before you transfer points to make sure the agent can confirm award seats are available. Put the award on hold and immediately transfer your ThankYou points. Call back to confirm your tickets once the transfer is complete.

British Airways Avios

Manchester, United Kingdom - May 11, 2017: American Airlines Boeing 767-300 wide-body passenger plane (N379AA) taxiing on Manchester International Airport tarmac. (Photo by Juha Remes / Getty Images).
Your next American flight to Hawaii could be booked using British Airways Avios. (Photo by Juha Remes/Getty Images).

British Airways Avios provide excellent value for domestic award tickets on American Airlines, and Hawaii is no exception. The airline flies to Hawaii from many of its U.S. hubs, including Los Angeles (LAX), Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) and Phoenix (PHX).

In addition, British Airways also partners with Alaska Airlines. The Seattle-based carrier flies to Hawaii from multiple West Coast gateways, including Los Angeles (LAX), San Diego (SAN), San Francisco (SFO), Portland (PDX) and Seattle (SEA). These awards must be booked over the phone, but you’ll get the same pricing as American awards.

Speaking of pricing, you can fly to Hawaii for just 13,000 Avios each way in economy. You’ll pay more for flights from the Midwest or East Coast thanks to British Airways’ distance-based award chart. British Airways also prices by segment, so connecting itineraries cost more too.

For example, you can book a nonstop flight from Phoenix to Honolulu for 26,000 Avios round-trip. At the same time, you’d pay 41,000 Avios round-trip if you connect via Los Angeles. Here’s the price breakdown:

  • Phoenix to Los Angeles: 15,000 Avios round-trip
  • Los Angeles to Honolulu: 26,000 Avios round-trip

Earning British Airways Avios

There are plenty of different ways to earn British Airways Avios. You can open the British Airways Visa Signature Card and earn 100,000 bonus Avios after you spend $5,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening.

Points also transfer from Marriott BonvoyAmerican Express Membership Rewards and Chase Ultimate Rewards. This gives you a variety of ways to boost your Avios balance.

Further reading: The ultimate guide to Amex Membership Rewards

Alaska Mileage Plan

(Photo by Vacclav / Shutterstock.com)
Book American and Alaska flights with your Mileage Plan miles (Photo by Vacclav / Shutterstock.com)

Alternatively, you can book the same carriers (Alaska and American) through Alaska’s Mileage Plan program. The benefit here is that Alaska’s award chart is priced by region instead of distance.

With that in mind, a connecting flight from the U.S. to Hawaii doesn’t cost more miles than a nonstop. This is especially useful for those flying from smaller gateways that “force” a connection in a larger hub.

Here’s how much it costs to fly round-trip from the mainland to Hawaiian with Alaska miles. Economy flights are more expensive on American Airlines than Alaska Airlines, so pick your flights wisely.

Continental U.S. to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):  

  • Economy: 30,000 miles
  • First: 80,000 miles

Continental U.S. to Hawaii (American Airlines):  

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • First: 80,000 miles

Thankfully, all flights are bookable on Alaska’s website. Prices on American Airlines are good, but not the cheapest option. You can likely book a comparable price with another airline using rewards that are much easier to earn than Alaska Airlines miles.

Earning Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles

Now for the bad news. It’s hard to earn Alaska Airlines Mileage Plan miles with a credit card. The program doesn’t partner with any transferable point programs, but you can transfer Marriott points. These transfers process at a 3:1 ratio with a 5,000-mile bonus awarded for 60,000 point transfers.

You can also open the Alaska Airlines Visa Signature® credit card. It comes with 50,000 bonus miles plus Alaska’s Famous Companion Fare from $121 ($99 fare plus taxes and fees from just $22) after spending $2,000 in purchases within the first 90 days of account opening.

Korean Air SkyPass

A Delta Air Lines plane gets ready to land at Los Angeles International Airport on July 12, 2018. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Korean Airlines offers great pricing on Delta award tickets. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Korean Air offers great award pricing on Delta flights to Hawaii with its SKYPASS program. Korean Air prices all awards originating in the U.S. as the same award, and the pricing is comparable to a standard domestic route on many legacy airlines’ award charts. These can’t be booked online, so you need to find award availability using your favorite SkyTeam search tool and call Korean Air to book.

Here’s how many miles you’d need for a round-trip award ticket to Hawaii with Korean:

Continental U.S. to Hawaii:

  • Economy: 25,000 miles
  • First Class: 45,000 miles

Earning Korean Airlines SkyPASS Miles

Korean Air SKYPASS was a Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer partner until August 2018. Nowadays, Korean Air miles are a lot harder to earn. You have two options for earning Korean Airlines miles without flying: using the SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card from US Bank or by transferring in Marriott points. The SKYPASS Visa Signature® Card has a sign-up bonus of 30,000 SKYPASS miles after you spend $3,000 within the first 90 days.

The information for the SKYPASS 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.

Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer

United Boeing 787-10 Polaris EWR LAX Zach Griff - 35
Fly nonstop from Chicago or Newark to Hawaii in a lie-flat seat. (Photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy)

Based in a Star Alliance hub? Consider using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles for your next trip to Hawaii. Its partner Untied Airlines operates nonstop flights to Hawaii from its various hubs, including Chicago (ORD), Newark (EWR), Denver (DEN), San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX).

As a bonus, long-haul routes from its East Coast and Midwest hubs are operated by internationally configured widebody aircraft with lie-flat seats. It’s one of the few airlines that operated long-haul routes from the U.S. East Coast to Hawaii.

On top of this, Singapore Airlines also partners with Alaska Airlines. The Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer program has a separate award chart for Alaska redemptions with lower rates than United. In some cases, the chart is even cheaper than British Airways.

There is some bad news, though. You can’t book connecting Alaska itineraries with Singapore, so you’re limited to departing from the airlines’ West Coast hubs. Further, first-class Alaska tickets are expensive and better booked with other Alaska partners.

Here’s how much round-trip tickets to Hawaii cost using Krisflyer miles:

Booking United Airlines flights with KrisFlyer

Continental U.S. to Hawaii (United Airlines):

  • Economy: 35,000 miles
  • First Class: 69,000 miles

Booking Alaska Airlines flights with Krisflyer

West Coast to Hawaii (Alaska Airlines):

  • Economy: 24,000 miles
  • First Class: 89,000 miles

Earning Singapore Krisflyer miles

Singapore Airlines miles are some of the easiest miles to earn. Krisflyer is a transfer partner of all five transferrable points programs, including:

Further reading: A guide to earning transferable points

American Airlines AAdvantage

Waikiki Beach, Oahu. (Photo by 7maru / Getty Images)
You could be strolling down Waikiki Beach on Oahu for your next trip, thanks to American Airlines miles. (Photo by 7maru/Getty Images)

You can redeem American Airlines miles for award flights to Hawaii on both American and Alaska. Economy prices are fair, but it’s not the cheapest way to get to paradise — especially in business class. Here’s what you’ll pay from the mainland U.S:

  • Economy: 45,000 miles
  • First class: 80,000 miles

American Airlines sells discounted award seats to Hawaii during their “off-peak” dates. Discounted prices are 40,000 miles round-trip. Here are the dates:

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

Better yet, you may also be able to score lower award pricing if you book Web Special award tickets. These frequently offer lower pricing on select American-operated flights, so keep an eye out the next time you book.

Earning American Airlines miles

Like Alaska, American’s only transfer partner is Marriott Bonvoy. That said, you can earn American Airlines AAdvantage miles directly when you open an American Airlines credit card.

One of the best is the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard. This card offers 50,000 bonus miles after making your first purchase and paying the $95 annual fee within 90 days of account opening.

The information for the AAdvantage Aviator Red World Elite Mastercard 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.

United Airlines MileagePlus

United Airlines Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft as seen on final approach landing at Amsterdam Schiphol AMS EHAM Airport in the Netherlands, on July 2, 2020, arriving from Newark EWR New York, NY, USA. The advanced wide body, modern and advanced airplane has the new livery paint scheme and the registration N12010 and 2x GE jet engines. United UA UAL is the third largest airline in the world and a member of Star Alliance aviation alliance. United is connecting US with Europe and the Netherlands with Cargo and passenger flight during the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic period. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
United offers solid award pricing to Hawaii. (Photo by Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

United eliminated its award chart in mid-November, but prices to Hawaii are largely the same on most dates. United Airlines flights from the U.S. mainland to Hawaii usually cost:

  • Economy: 45,000 miles round-trip
  • First class: 80,000 miles round-trip

United Airlines awards are easy to find thanks to its user-friendly website. If you’re a United Airlines credit cardholder — or if you have United Airlines elite status — you’ll have access to a larger inventory of award seats too. Just go to United.com and search for a ticket to find the most up-to-date pricing.

Earning United Airlines miles

Several credit cards can help you earn United Airlines MileagePlus miles quickly:

  • United Explorer Card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first three months of account opening.
  • United Club Infinite Card: 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open.

You can also instantly transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards to United at a ratio of 1:1. If you’re just starting out, you may want to consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, which offers 100,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months from account opening.

Delta SkyMiles

Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, so award pricing can be difficult. You have to search for specific dates to see the price and these can change day-by-day.

That said, you can find excellent deals on some dates. For example, a one-way flight from Los Angeles (LAX) to Honolulu (HNL) costs 17,500 SkyMiles in basic economy and $5.60 in early December:

LAX to HNL SkyMiles Pricing
(Image courtesy of Delta)

Additionally, a flight from New York-JFK to Kona (KOA) via Seattle (SEA) costs 18,500 SkyMiles in basic economy and 20,000 in Main Cabin. First class, however, is a whopping 22,000 miles one-way. All of these tickets have $5.60 in taxes.

JFK to KOA SkyMiles Pricing
(Image courtesy of Delta)

Even better, Delta Airlines frequently runs award sales. In the past, we’ve seen round-trip tickets from the mainland to Hawaii for just 33,000 miles round-trip, so keep an eye out. We always recommend running a search to see if using SkyMiles make sense for your next trip.

Earning Delta SkyMiles

You can open Delta credit cards and earn their welcome bonuses to earn miles quickly. The Delta SkyMiles® Gold Business American Express Card offers 70,000 bonus miles, and a $50 statement credit after spending $2,000 in purchases the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

You can transfer American Express Membership Rewards to Delta at a 1:1 ratio. Consider opening The Platinum Card® from American Express to stock up quickly. This card earns 100,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $6,000 on purchases on the Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Plus, the $695 annual fee (see rates & fees) is largely offset by Delta SkyClub lounge access, up to $200 annual airline fee credit and other benefits. Enrollment required for select benefits. 

Bottom line

You have several options for redeeming points and miles to fly to Hawaiian from the mainland U.S. Korean Airlines SKYPASS is the cheapest option, though limited earning opportunities make it a tough redemption for most travelers.

For West Coast travelers, booking nonstop Alaska or American flights with British Airways Avios is a great value. Alternatively, those with connecting itineraries should consider using Singapore KrisFlyer miles to book United flights.

One thing’s for sure: you have plenty of options at your disposal. Here’s hoping you’ll be able to utilize one of these options for your first post-coronavirus vacation!

For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.

Additional reporting by Joseph Hostetler

Featured photo of Kaanapali Beach, Maui by ejs9/Getty Images

Updated on 9/08/21

Delta SkyMiles® Platinum American Express Card

Earn 90,000 bonus miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new card in the first three months of card membership. Offer ends 11/10/2021.

With Status Boost™, earn 10,000 Medallion Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, up to two times per year getting you closer to Medallion Status. Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels, 2X Miles at restaurants and at U.S. supermarkets and earn 1X Mile on all other eligible purchases. Terms Apply.

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 Bonus Miles and 10,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer expires 11/10/2021.
  • Earn up to 20,000 Medallion® Qualification Miles (MQMs) with Status Boost® per year. After you spend $25,000 in purchases on your Card in a calendar year, you can earn 10,000 MQMs two times per year, getting you closer to Medallion® Status. MQMs are used to determine Medallion® Status and are different than miles you earn toward flights.
  • Earn 3X Miles on Delta purchases and purchases made directly with hotels.
  • Earn 2X Miles at restaurants worldwide, including takeout and delivery and at U.S. supermarkets.
  • Earn 1X Miles on all other eligible purchases.
  • Receive a Domestic Main Cabin round-trip companion certificate each year upon renewal of your Card. *Payment of the government imposed taxes and fees of no more than $75 for roundtrip domestic flights (for itineraries with up to four flight segments) is required. Baggage charges and other restrictions apply. See terms and conditions for details.
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Regular APR
15.74%-24.74% Variable
Annual Fee
$250
Balance Transfer Fee
N/A
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good
Terms and restrictions apply. See rates & fees.

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