Sweet Spot Sunday: Book Alaska Airlines flights to Hawaii for just 12,000 miles

Dec 19, 2021

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Hawaii is the destination many Americans envision when they think of vacation. It’s a beautiful segment of Polynesia that those of us in the continental U.S. have the privilege of visiting without even needing a passport. Yes, it’s touristy — that’s because it’s spectacular.

Depending on when you travel, airfare to Hawaii can be prohibitively expensive. But if you know the best ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles, you’ll be impervious to price gouging.

Let’s look at one exceptional sweet spot between the West Coast and Hawaii using Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles. They’re extremely easy to earn, as they partner with the following transferable points programs:

By using this tactic, you can stretch the rewards you earn from the best travel credit cards into multiple trips to the tiny archipelago for the price of a single trip booked through competing loyalty programs.

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In This Post

Why it’s special

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

Singapore Airlines doesn’t sound like it would be as relevant to the free-travel strategy of U.S. travelers as the likes of American Airlines or United.

However, you can book many of the same exact award seats with Singapore Airlines miles as you can with AA or United miles. The award price can even be significantly cheaper.

For example, a flight from Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) to Honolulu (HNL) on United Airlines usually costs 45,000 miles round-trip in coach (though it may occasionally be cheaper). But the same exact United Airlines seat booked through Singapore Airlines will only cost 35,000 miles (PDF link).

There’s an even sweeter deal buried in the Singapore Airlines loyalty program for travel to Hawaii — but you must fly Alaska Airlines to get this special price.

Here (PDF link) is Singapore Airlines’ award chart for Alaska Airlines flights. As you can see, flights from Zone 1 (California, Oregon, Washington) to Zone 5 (Alaska, Hawaii) cost only 12,000 miles one-way in coach. That is fantastic, especially considering these flights can cost hundreds of dollars.

Singapore Airlines' Alaska Award Chart
(Screenshot courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

It’s worth noting that these aren’t the absolute lowest prices to Hawaii. You can book flights on United Airlines via Turkish Airlines for as little as 7,500 Turkish miles each way in coach. But award space isn’t nearly as accessible — and Turkish Airlines miles aren’t as easy to earn as Singapore Airlines miles.

Related: Ultimate Guide to Singapore KrisFlyer

How to book this award

(Photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy)

There are a couple catches to this sweet spot:

  1. You cannot book online (you’ll have to call Singapore Airlines)
  2. You can only book nonstop flights between the West Coast and Hawaii

That second bullet is important. To aid your search, keep in mind that you can reach the Kona (KOA) and Kauai (LIH) nonstop from the following airports:

  • San Diego (SAN)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Portland (PDX)
  • Seattle (SEA)

And you can reach Honolulu (HNL) and Maui (OGG) nonstop from the following airports:

  • San Diego (SAN)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • San Jose (SJC)
  • Portland (PDX)
  • Seattle (SEA)

Here’s how to book your flights.

 Step 1. Head to the American Airlines website

The American Airlines award tool is reliable enough to help you locate award seats on their partner, Alaska Airlines. Enter your travel details and click “Search.”

Searching for an award flight on AA.com
(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Step 2. If you don’t see nonstop Alaska Airlines flights, click “Calendar”

You’ll now see your search results. You can find both the airline and the number of stops for each itinerary on the left side of the screen.

If nonstop Alaska Airlines flights have appeared for your desired dates, skip to step 4.

Search results on AA.com
(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Step 3. Filter results by “Nonstop only”

Alaska Airlines award seats won’t be available every single day of the year. To easily see where they are, change the calendar results to “Nonstop only.” Click on an available date.

AA.com award calendar
(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Step 4. Note your flight details

Now, look for flights that have an “Operated by Alaska Airlines” note below the departure time — these are bookable with Singapore miles. Then, write down the date, flight number and flight times.

Alaska flight on AA.com
(Screenshot courtesy of aa.com)

Step 5. Call Singapore Airlines

With your flight info in hand, call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333. Relay your details to the customer service representative, and they’ll reserve your flight!

Related: Book this, not that: Hawaii resorts edition

How to earn points for this award

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)

Again, Singapore Airlines miles are some of the easiest rewards to earn in the miles and points world. All the major transferable points convert into Singapore Airlines miles. However, note that points take can take 24 hours or longer to transfer to Singapore Airlines. With that in mind, consider finding a backup flight in case your desired award ticket is booked up before your points transfer.

You can transfer the following points currencies to Singapore Airlines:

  • American Express Membership Rewards (1:1)
  • Capital One miles (1:1)
  • Chase Ultimate Rewards (1:1)
  • Citi ThankYou (1:1)
  • Marriott Bonvoy (3:1, with a 5,000 mile bonus given for every 60,000 points transferred)

A round-trip flight between the West Coast and Hawaii on Alaska Airlines will cost 24,000 Alaska Airlines miles. There are plenty of huge welcome offers right now that could easily take you and a few friends on a bucket-list trip. For example:

That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Read our post on the best travel credit cards to see other cards that earn the transferable points you need to unlock Hawaii for dirt cheap.

Related: TPG beginner’s guide: Everything you need to know about points, miles, airlines and credit cards

Bottom line

There are plenty of ways to reach Hawaii for practically free — but one of the biggest sweet spots is with Singapore Airlines miles. You can fly from the West Coast on Alaska Airlines miles for as little as 12,000 miles one-way in coach. Just remember that you can only fly nonstop itineraries operated wholly by Alaska AIrlines.

Feature photo by Clint Henderson/The Points Guy

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More Things to Know
  • Limited Time Offer: Earn 90,000 bonus miles after you spend $3,000 in purchases on your new Card in your first 3 months. Offer ends 8/3/2022.
  • 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 up to 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.
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