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Deal alert: $237 round-trip fares to Hawaii from the West Coast

July 19, 2022
5 min read
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Hawaii has been one of the most popular travel destinations in the post-lockdown travel boom. Hotels, rental cars and attractions in the islands are selling out, and airfares have been typically sky high.

As the calendar shifts to the traditionally slower fall travel season, United and Southwest have announced some new deals for travel from the West Coast to Hawaii in September and October.

Fares that were previously in the $775 range for round trips from the West Coast are now offered in the sub-$300 range, if you act quickly.

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Related: You may need reservations for these Hawaii attractions

Deal basics

Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. (M Sweet Productions/Getty Images)

United is offering a set of deals from the West Coast, including Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle to multiple airports in Hawaii, with basic economy fares for round trips beginning at $237.

Keep in mind Basic Economy on United does not include seat assignments or allow full-sized carry-on luggage. It also has limited mileage qualifying credits and bonuses.

Airlines: United, Southwest.

Routes: Between the U.S. West Coast to airports across the Hawaiian Islands.

How to book: Directly through the airline or Google Flights.

Travel dates: September through October.

Related: The best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles

Sample flights

West Coast airports where these deals are available include San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle. Hawaiian airports include Maui's Kahului Airport (OGG) and Kona airport (KOA) on the Big Island of Hawaii.

United Airlines sample deal

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

Pricing begins at $237 for United's Basic Economy fares. Keep in mind that this is truly basic.

The price does not include seat assignments, or the opportunity to have a full-sized carry-on bag or check a bag without an additional charge. It also excludes the ability to change your flight — you must cancel and rebook — as well as the eligibility to earn full Premier qualifying credit.

Be warned: If you book a Basic Economy seat and try bringing a carry-on to the gate that's judged to be full size, you'll be charged the regular $25 checked baggage fee plus a $25 "service charge."

United's Economy price for this same routing, including a full-sized carry-on and seat choices (but not including checked baggage) is $297.

Southwest sample deal

(Screenshot from southwest.com)

Southwest is offering similar nonstop flights to airports across the Hawaiian island from West Coast cities including the Oakland International Airport (OAK) routing cited above.

From late September through October, you can find Southwest flights beginning at $247 round trip from Oakland to the Kona International Airport (KOA) on the Big Island of Hawaii.

This flight (like all flights on Southwest) does not include reserved seating, but it does include both carry-on and checked baggage.

If you're planning to fly to Hawaii with luggage, or you're with a group that wants to sit together, Southwest flights may prove to be significantly less expensive — to the tune of hundreds of dollars.

Related: I had sworn off Hawaii: Here’s why I went back

Maximize your purchase

Pay with The Platinum Card® from American Express for 5 points per dollar on flights booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel (on up to $500,000 in these purchases per calendar year). The Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card will earn you 5 miles per dollar on flights booked through Capital One Travel. The Chase Sapphire Reserve gets you 5 points per dollar on flights purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards (after using your $300 annual travel credit).

Bottom line

(Photo by Adam Hester/Getty Images)

Hawaii has experienced huge visitor traffic over the past year. However, with prices rising exorbitantly for hotels and rental cars (when even available), now might be a good time to book a flight for fall with the hope that those hotel and car prices may decrease as well.

Before purchasing a ticket, though, compare the fully-loaded cost of the tickets that you want -- particularly considering the cost of checked or even carry-on baggage.

By the time your flights are booked, what appears to be a slightly more expensive ticket on Southwest turns out to be much cheaper than a United fare with the features you want.

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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  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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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

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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