New United Hawaii routes now bookable with miles

Sep 28, 2020

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Earlier this month, we reported that United Airlines was adding several new routes to its network, including two nonstop flights to Hawaii, specifically into Kona (KOA) on the Big Island and Kahului (OGG) on Maui.

Now, as first reported by Dan’s Deals, the Hawaii routes, which will take off beginning in June 2021, are now bookable with miles. United’s new routes include nonstop service between Chicago O’Hare (ORD) and Kona (KOA) and Newark (EWR) and Kahului (OGG).

Here’s what you need to know about booking these awards using points and miles.

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United MileagePlus

United uses dynamic award pricing, so the price of an award can vary day to day. As of today, we are seeing pretty decent pricing on these new routes. Economy awards start at 22,500 United miles one-way in economy or 50,000 miles one-way in business class from Newark to Maui.

Screengrab from United
Screengrab from United

The Chicago to Kona route also has pretty good award pricing and availability, with economy awards starting at 22,500 miles, though there appears to be no saver award space in business class. Those lie-flat seats seem to start at 95,000 miles each way.

Screengrab from United
Screengrab from United

If you’re low on miles, United is an instant 1:1 transfer partner of Chase Ultimate Rewards. If you’re starting from scratch and working toward the future, you’ll want to consider signing up for a United credit card. You’ll have your choice between entry-level and premium cards and personal and business options:

  • United Explorer Card: Earn 40,000 bonus miles after you spend $2,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. Plus, an additional 25,000 bonus miles after you spend $10,000 in the first 6 months. The first year’s annual fee is waived, and it’s $95 per year after that.
  • United Business Card: Earn 75,000 bonus miles after you spend $5,000 on purchases in the first 3 months your account is open. 

Related: Best credit cards for flying United 

Book for less via Singapore KrisFlyer

United miles aren’t the only method to booking awards on United-operated flights. You can also book United awards via Star Alliance partners.

For example, using Singapore KrisFlyer miles, economy awards on these flights are available starting at 17,500 KrisFlyer miles each way. Business class is available from 34,500 Singapore KrisFlyer miles each way (note that I’m only seeing business award space between Newark and Maui).

Related: Ultimate Guide to the Singapore KrisFlyer program

Screengrab from Singapore KrisFlyer

Singapore partners with American Express Membership RewardsCapital One RewardsCiti ThankYou and Chase Ultimate Rewards. All of these programs transfer miles to Singapore Krisflyer at a 1:1 ratio, except for Capital One which transfers at a 2:1 transfer ratio.

Your best bet is to transfer from programs that offer a 1:1 transfer ratio like Chase Ultimate Rewards. You need a premium Ultimate Rewards card — like the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card or Chase Sapphire Reserve — to transfer points to travel partners.

However, know that point transfers to Singapore Airlines take at least a day or so to process, so you’ll want to call and ask if Singapore Airlines can hold your award ticket before you initiate a transfer.

Some of our favorite Chase Ultimate Rewards credit cards include:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred Card: Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. Plus earn a $50 statement credit on grocery purchases in the first year of account opening. The card also lets you earn 2x Ultimate Rewards points on travel and dining purchases.
  • Chase Sapphire Reserve: Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 in the first three months from account opening. The card also lets you earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on travel (excluding the $300 travel credit) and dining purchases and includes various travel benefits like a $300 travel credit and a Priority Pass Select membership.
  • Ink Business Preferred Credit Card: Earn 100,000 bonus points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first three months after account opening. The card also lets you earn 3x Ultimate Rewards points on select business purchases (up to $150,000 in purchases per account anniversary year).

Related: How long do Ultimate Rewards points transfers take Additionally, transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to Aeroplan are usually instant, so this can be a great way to book the awards in a hurry.

Aeroplan

Additionally, you can see this United award space via Aeroplan, with awards starting at 22,500 miles each way in economy. If you’re looking for premium award space, those flights start at just 40,000 Aeroplan miles each way to Maui. That is a tremendous deal and a better value than using United miles at that rate.

Related: Start here: TPG details Air Canada’s sweeping Aeroplan changes

If you need Aeroplan miles, American Express cardholders can transfer their Membership Rewards points at a 1:1 ratio. Additionally, transfers from Amex Membership Rewards to Aeroplan are usually instant, so this can be a great way to book the awards in a hurry.

In need of more Membership Rewards points? Here’s a look at the best U.S. American Express cards for earning these points:

  • American Express® Green Card: 30,000 Membership Rewards points after you spend $2,000 on purchases within the first three months of account opening. Earn 3x points on dining at restaurants and travel, including flights, hotels, transit, taxis, tours, and ridesharing services, 1x points on all other purchases, ($150 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • American Express® Gold Card: 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new card within the first six months of account opening. Earn 4x points on dining; 4x points at U.S. supermarkets (up to $25,000 per calendar year; then 1x points); 3x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines; 1x points on all other purchases, ($250 annual fee; see rates and fees).
  • The Platinum Card® from American Express: 75,000 Membership Rewards® Points after you spend $5,000 on purchases in your first 6 months of Card Membership. Earn 5x points on airfare purchased directly from airlines or Amex Travel (starting Jan. 1, 2021 earn 5x points on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year), 5x hotels booked through Amex Travel, and Amex Fine Hotels & Resorts; 10x points on eligible purchases on your new Card at U.S. Gas Stations and U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $15,000 in combined purchases, during your first 6 months of Card Membership. That’s an additional 9 points on top of the 1 point you earn for these purchases; 1x on all other purchases, ($550 annual fee; see rates and fees).

Americans with a Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card can also transfer miles to Aeroplan. These transfers also process instantly, but at a 2:1.5 ratio. This means that 1,000 Capital One miles equal 750 Aeroplan miles. Here’s a look at the card’s current offer:

Bottom line

While Hawaii hasn’t reopened to tourism quite yet, it is set to reopen with a testing option to avoid quarantine on Oct. 15. While much can happen before June 2021 arrives, our fingers crossed that it will be possible to soak in the sun on Hawaii next summer. And if you are able to scoop up saver awards in United business class, there’s really no better deal to arrive there rested and ready to explore — or simply relax.

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

Featured photo by M Swiet Productions/Getty Images

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More Things to Know
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