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I tweeted this deal first from @MileValueAlerts. Follow @MileValueAlerts on Twitter and follow these directions to get a text message every time I tweet from that account. I tweet from @MileValueAlerts only a few times a month because it is designed to be used only for the best and most limited-time deals–like mistake fares–so that you aren’t bombarded by text messages.

American Airlines and United are in a fare ware right now, both offering cheap roundtrip economy fares to Hawaii. Prices start at $358 (I even see a few dip into the $340 range) from cities across the United States to Kona (Big Island) and Lihue (Kauai). Available travel dates span all the way from October through December, 2018. This is a fantastic deal that won’t last, so act fast.


  1. What city pairs are available?
  2. When are the cheap fares?
  3. Mileage Earning
  4. Baggage Allowance
  5. Best Credit Card to Buy the Ticket

Available City Pairs

You’ll find the cheap fares…

  • Atlanta
  • Newark
  • Detroit
  • Houston
  • Minneapolis
  • Salt Lake City
  • Cincinnati
  • Reno
  • Cleveland
  • Boise
  • Denver
  • Boston
  • Portland
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • San Francisco


  • Kona (KOA)
  • Lihue (LIH)

When are the cheap fares?

The easiest way to see the cheap fares is on Google Flights. Available dates for the low price start in October and span through December of this year. The specific travel windows with the cheap fares are:

I brought up this calendar of roundtrip prices between Atlanta and Kona on Google Flights.

You can’t purchase tickets directly on Google Flights, but after choosing an outbound and return flight you will be given links to follow to buy on the appopriate airline’s website.

Mileage Earning

Flying United, the fare bucket is G. That is helpful to know if you want to look up elite status credit earnings. 

If you credit your butt-in-seat miles to United, assuming you don’t have status, you would earn 5x the base fare (base fare + surcharges – taxes), which you can find easily on ITA Matrix. For the $358 flight, you would earn 1,404 United miles. Meh.

Flying American, the fare bucket is O.

If you credit your butt-in-seat miles to American, assuming you don’t have status, you’ll earn 5x the base fare (base fare + surcharges – taxes). For the $358 flight, you would earn 1,395 American Airlines miles. Also meh.

But you don’t have to credit to the airline loyalty program you’re flying, you can credit to any partner. Check to see which partner you could credit to and earn more miles.

In Waikoloa
In Waikoloa, photo by Nan Palermo

Baggage Allowance

Neither of these fares are Basic Economy. Flying United you’ll get a free personal item to fit under the seat in front of you and a free carry-on, but any checked luggage will cost you as it’s a domestic award. The first checked bag is $25. Same policy applies for flying American.

Best Way to Buy the Ticket

You should buy this ticket with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The card comes with 50,000 “miles” after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. I called the card’s rewards “miles” because they’re not like traditional airline miles, but rather are redeemed for 1 cent each toward any travel expense. The bonus alone will more than cover this roundtrip to Hawaii…use the rest to help cover an Airbnb or hotel. If you opt to stay in a hotel in Hawaii, make sure you also charge that to your Capital One Venture Rewards Card as it will earn 10 miles per dollar spent!

With the Capital One Venture Rewards, you don’t even have to wait to meet the minimum spending requirement before you spend the miles. Open the card, put this roundtrip on it (along with any other spending), and once you do meet the requirement and earn your bonus miles, you can redeem them retroactively for a statement credit. The bonus, worth $500 in travel expenses, will more than cover the roundtrip. And it’s easy to get a Capital One card number before the physical card arrives in the mail! Just download Capital One’s app and login.

Don’t want to open a new card? Put it on whatever card you have travel statement credits for, like the Sapphire Reserve or Citi Prestige. Don’t have any travel statements credits to earn? Check out the Best Credit Card to Buy Airfare if you’re concerned with earning more rewards. Check out my series on the travel protection benefits of popular rewards cards if you’re more concerned with travel insurance.

Hat Tip Airfare Watchdog