Update from Scott: I’m finding $382 all in roundtrip now too:
According to this thread in the ever popular Mileage Run forum on FlyerTalk, Hawaiian Airlines is running a fare sale from New York to Honolulu. Hawaiian Airlines operates a direct flight from JFK to Honolulu, and we are seeing fares for as low as $435 for this direct flight.
There appears to be only one stretch of days in early December and great availability in January and February.
What’s the best way to hunt for eligible dates?
I always use the ITA Software Matrix. It’s one of the most useful tools to search for available flights and low fares. First, go to matrix.itasoftware.com.
Type in “JFK” as your home airport and “HNL” as your destination. Then click “Advanced Routing Codes” right below this box. Enter “HA” in both routing boxes. This ensures that only Hawaiian Airlines flights will be displayed. It will give you a better overall sense of which dates the low fare direct flight is available.
I also prefer to search certain length trips one month at a time for the lowest fares, so use that section of the form by selecting “See calendar of lowest fares.” I’ve asked it to search for 3-8 night itineraries leaving in the month of January.
After you click “Search” you will be taken to a calendar displaying the lowest fare departing each day. You can ignore fares in light blue (though $447 is still a great price). You are targeting the $435 days in bold orange.
Clicking on a particular date will bring up the lowest prices departing on that date and returning 3-8 days later. Once you have found a comfortable length of time, click to display the flight.
Remember that the ITA Matrix is only for finding airfares. You don’t have the ability to book directly through this site. Write down the dates and flight numbers that work for you, and book directly through Hawaiianairlines.com.
I don’t live in New York, why is this of value to me?
Flights to Hawaii from the East Coast rarely fall below $600, and I’ve never seen Hawaiian market this flight for lower than $480. They are clearly trying to fill planes during the traditional offpeak travel months in Hawaii.
If you live on the East Coast, there are numerous low cost ways to get to New York, but Hawaii tends to be much more expensive. If your home airport is less than 1,151 miles from New York, British Airways Avios can open up quite a few doors for you.
As Scott wrote in his post, How Much Are Avios Worth? The Value of British Airways Avios, short haul domestic tickets on American Airlines can be booked extremely inexpensively using Avios. Flights under 650 miles cost 4,500 Avios. Flights 651-1151 miles cost 7,500 Avios.
I was able to piece together a great 9,000 Avios itinerary to reach New York. Trust me, I’m very tempted to book a quick January vacation to Hawaii! For more reading on how to put together flights using Avios, check out Scott’s post, Free First Class Next Month: Using BA.com for oneworld Awards.
Just keep in mind that if you are booking separate tickets to New York and then to Honolulu, you should leave ample space for weather or mechanical delays. Hawaiian’s JFK-Honolulu flight leaves at 9:00 a.m. each morning. It might make sense to fly up the night before and spend the night at an airport hotel just to be safe.
Does it make sense to purchase this fare as a mileage run?
Unfortunately not. Unless they are intra-island or international flights, American Airlines and Delta, both Hawaiian partners, don’t even allow you to credit Hawaiian operated flights to their frequent flyer programs. At approximately 4.4 cents per mile, a trip like this makes much more sense as a pure vacation anyway.
I think I would rather save the cash. Are there any good award ticket options to Hawaii right now?
Actually, yes. As I mentioned earlier, the first third of the year is typically considered offseason for travel to Hawaii. American Airlines actually offers MileSAAver Offpeak awards to Hawaii from January 12-March 8. Roundtrip economy awards are only 35,000 miles, 5,000 miles less than the other three legacy carriers.
Doing a brief search in January, I found spotty availability from New York to Honolulu for two passengers in economy.
However, travel from Hawaii back to New York showed award space galore!
Keep in mind that American allows you to book oneway awards for half the cost of a roundtrip ticket. You could actually piece together an itinerary with the outbound leg on Hawaiian and the return leg using American miles.
Low fares to Hawaii from the West Coast happen pretty frequently. In fact, Scott wrote about a recent sale here. Those of us on the East Coast are much less fortunate. When Hawaiian advertises a sale, especially a direct flight from New York, for under $500, you should take notice. This is clearly a play to fill seats during the typical slow January/February travel months, but if you have the flexibility, you should definitely take advantage.
If the cash outlay is still too much, consider piecing together a oneway award using American Airlines miles. There is good offpeak availability from Honolulu to New York.
Also, don’t dismiss this fare sale because you don’t live in the New York area. Everyone on the East Coast should take note of these deeply discounted itineraries. There are plenty of easy ways to get up to New York and join in the party. If an early year vacation is on your radar, these prices seem like a good excuse to hit up Hawaii.