The Cheapest Ways to Get to Hawaii


Hawaii is one of the best places in the world to visit, and judging by the number of inquiries I get about booking awards to Hawaii, it’s clear that many people agree. There are a number of cheap ways to get there that I’ll list in order.

1. Korean Miles Award: 25,000 Korean Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class 45,000 Korean Miles Roundtrip

Korean miles can book a roundtrip in Delta economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 25,000 Korean miles. A roundtrip in Delta First Class is 45,000 Korean miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on Delta flights on and transfer your Ultimate Rewards or SPG Starpoints to Korean miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking Delta Flights to Hawaii for 25k Korean Miles Roundtrip, 45k in First

Korean miles can also book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines Saver award space, but the price is higher: 30k/60k Korean miles roundtrip in economy/First.

Getting Korean Miles

Korean miles are a 1:1 transfer partner of Marriott Rewards.

The Marriott Bonvoy Boundless Credit Card comes with 75,000 bonus Marriott Rewards for spending $3,000 within three moths.You can use Marriott points to book free nights (starting at 7,500 points a night) at thousands of hotels as the company, post SPG merger, has the biggest footprint in the world. OR you can also transfer them to airline miles of almost any type. You’ll earn at least 81,000 Marriott points for meeting the spending requirement for the bonus, which translates to 32,000 of almost any airline mile as you’ll get a 5k mile bonus for every 50k point increment you transfer.

2. Avios Award: 26,000+ Avios and $11+ roundtrip

I love that British Airways Avios has a distance-based award chart. For 26,000 Avios and $11, you can fly roundtrip on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines planes from the West Coast to Hawaii. Here are the possible routes.

Screen Shot 2015-12-03 at 6.21.15 PM
1: Seasonal

Avios can be used for one way awards at half the price of a roundtrip award, which means that if you can’t get the Avios deal both ways, it’s still a good idea to go one way for 13,000 Avios and use another one way deal.

See here for an Anatomy of an Award post for a step-by-step breakdown of the time I booked a one way award from Honolulu to Los Angeles with Avios.

Getting British Airways Avios

You can get Chase’s British Airways Visa Signature Card, transfer Ultimate Rewards 1:1, Marriott Rewards 4:5, or transfer Membership Rewards 5:4.

Check out the top options for cards with big bonuses

3. Singapore Miles Award: 35,000 Singapore Miles and $11 Roundtrip, First Class 60,000 Singapore Miles Roundtrip

Singapore miles can book United economy from anywhere in the United States to any of the four major Hawaiian islands for 17,500 Singapore miles each way. One way in United First Class is 30,000 Singapore miles.

You just have to find Saver award space on United flights on and transfer your Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, or SPG Starpoints to Singapore miles.

More info on the process: Guide to Booking United Flights to Hawaii with Singapore Miles

While Korean miles and Avios are cheaper, I use this option the most to get to and from Hawaii. I am not usually traveling to or from a place with a direct American or Alaska flight to Hawaii, and Delta releases less Saver award space than United, making Korean miles harder to use. The best bet on this list is definitely United opening up award space, which you can then book with Singapore miles.

Getting Singapore Miles

Singapore miles are a partner of every transferable points program including Ultimate Rewards.

The Chase Sapphire Preferred comes with a bonus of 60k Ultimate Rewards after spending $4,000 in 3 months.

The Sapphire Preferred earns 2x points on dining and travel. Dining includes bars, restaurants, and fast food. Travel includes airfare, hotels, taxis, rental cars, tolls, parking, and much more. It’s my #1 recommendation for beginners.

The Sapphire Preferred has no annual fee the first year, then $95 thereafter.

Check out the top options for cards with big bonuses of all the transferrable point types

4. Cash Flights

If cash flights are below about $400, you are better off booking them than using Avios or Korean miles. If they are below $550, you are better off booking them than using Singapore miles.

You don’t often find cash fares that low, but they certainly do happen.

When they do, you should buy the ticket with the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card. The card comes with 50,000 Capital One miles after spending $3,000 on the card in the first three months. Capital One miles can be redeemed for 1 cent each toward any travel expense. After meeting the minimum spending requirement for the bonus, you’ll have $560 in travel credit.

With the Venture Rewards Card, you don’t even have to wait to meet the minimum spending requirement before you spend the miles. Open the Venture Rewards Card, put whatever cash tickets on the card you want now to help you meet the minimum spending requirement, and then redeem your Capital One miles to offset the charges.

What Wasn’t On the List

  • United miles
  • Delta miles
  • American Airlines miles

Flights on those airlines can be booked cheaper with Singapore, Korean, and British Airways miles respectively.

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    • That can be a good deal. On a random day this summer, I see Alaska charging $632 r/t from SEA and $1135 r/t from Washington-DCA. That works out to about $360 per person from SEA and $600 per person from DCA, and you both earn mileage credit! So if you have the pass, it beats several of the deals listed.

  1. For HA, don’t you have to have one of their credit cards to get the 35k ticket? Otherwise the normal low level award is 40k.

    • I think you’re right! And I had no idea. Hawaiian does a horrible job advertising the benefit; I thought that was the normal price. Looking over the CC materials, the only thing it says is “access to discounted awards” and the normal price does appear to be 20k oneway not 17.5k oneway. Thank you for correcting me.

  2. Heres another idea:
    Korean air is a partner with both Alaska and Hawaiian airlines and a transfer partner with ultimate rewards. You can fly to Honolulu from the mainland USA for 30,000 pts RT economy, and Korean awards desk is feeless. Not shabby.

    • Thanks for reminding me. This is a very good value. Since I don’t have any Korean miles, I would be using 30k UR, which I value a little above 35,000 Hawaiian miles. But if this award can have interesting routings or free oneways, it would be one of the very top values. I just called the award desk, but they’re closed for the holiday. I plan on digging deeper into this.

      • Did you ever dig into this? I don’t remember seeing anything on it since last June, and I’d love to hear about some creative uses for Korean miles.

  3. Thanks for a great article, I plan to keep it as reference for future bookings!

    As luck would have it, I just booked four tickets (2 from OAK and 2 from LAX) to OGG using a combination of BA, AA, and ThankYou points. I totally spaced out on calling BA for flights on Alaska, so used AA miles for that segment when I didn’t see availability on Oh well, more BA Avios for the next trip 🙂

    As a side note, United also has a non-stop to NYC area (though not JFK): UA 15 EWR/HNL and UA 14 HNL/EWR.

  4. In February I was easily able to find a one week trip on DL from CVG to Kona in late Nov/early Dec for 40K miles. Going via SLC on outbound and LAX on the return. There were actually a few dates to choose from (using some of the strategies espoused by the Delta Points blog). Possibly I have better availability due to Diamond elite status.

    • I just checked LAX-HNL again, and it was 90% medium, 10% high, and zero low for the next 11 months. There may be better availability from other Delta gateways to Hawaii, but using Delta miles to Hawaii is pretty tough.

  5. I’m most intrigued by your first option (American Airlines Award Free Stopover) because I have a ton of AA and Avois miles.

    I live on the east coast (DC). Just got off the phone w/ AA and they said this award isn’t possible because “it’s not the most direct routing”

    Any pointers on how to get this done, I’d like to go to Tokyo with a stopover in Hawaii.



    • From JFK-HNL, you want to fly the direct Hawaiian flights for 17.5k Hawaiian miles each way. From BOS, I would probably look at United miles because I think they offer a ton of space to Hawaii for 20k each way.

  6. Thanks. I was also thinking about doing paying for the flight to the west coast via Virgin or Jetblue and then using miles from the west coast using Avios.

  7. I just stumbled upon this blog yesterday and I’m so happy!! My productivity at work has decreased by 100%, oops. Anyway, let me get this straight. I live in Chicago, so can I book TYO-HNL on JAL for 20K Avios and then get HNL-ORD as the “free stopover” add-on at the end of my trip even though that leg will be on AA? Please let me know if I’m understanding this incorrectly as I just called BA and the guy had no idea what I was talking about.

      • Got it, thanks! I need to read more about Avios awards, but good thing I have tons of AA miles too 🙂 So I can use AA miles on JAL from TYO-HNL and then combine that with a free HNL-ORD leg on AA right? It sounds similar to when you were able to combine Qantas with AA for your brother’s trip.

        • you are right. TYO-HNL will price the same as TYO-HNL stop HNL-ORD give or take a few bucks in taxes. Read my Avios series.

  8. I’m trying to do something very similar…

    WAS-HNL (stop) HNL-TYO (destination)
    TYO-ORD (stop) ORD-WAS (destination)

    I have tons of AA and Avios. I would prefer to use Avios. AA website shows availablity for the above routing (using combination of AA and hawaiian, does not show japan airlines availability).

    However Avios website does not. Is it possible to book the above routing using Avios points? If so, can it be done online?

    The second question is – is there any advantage to flying on Japan Air for the above routing, over hawaiian or AA flights?


    • 1) AA partners with Hawaiian, but BA doesn’t, so you can’t use Avios on Hawaiian.
      2) You should prefer to do that with AA miles. An Avios award on that route would cost tons more miles (because Avios is distance based) and tons more dollars because Avios charges huge surcharges between the USA and Asia.
      3) If you use AA miles for an economy award, I don’t think you’d see much difference between Hawaiian and Japan Airlines.

  9. Scott,
    I live in Hawaii but need to travel on Detroit to visit family on the holidays. I’m trying to understand if I can get the American Airlines “Free Stopover” deal to work for me. It sounds like I would have to travel to Australia, or somewhere internationally afterwards. Can I delay the international part for 6 months, to go there another time, then fly back home to Hawaii?

  10. My husband and I have 100k AA miles each. Could we book our family of 4 to Hawaii from Boston by transferring to Avios? Can we do a free stopover in California?

  11. can u help with getting to middle east the cheapest way with miles and which credit card shd i signup would be best for roundtrip from dfw to dxb

  12. There is also Korean miles which you get from Chase Ultimate Rewards which allow a 30k coach 60k First Class from Continental US on either Hawaiian or Alaska…………

  13. BA used to impose the phone fee on anything that wasn’t bookable online as policy, but not anymore. Now only certain redemptions (Aer Lingus, for example) incur a phone fee, but Alaska does not. Case of hang-up-call-again if an agent insists on charging (though asking for a supervisor will make them look up the policy and it is clearly stated in their manuals).

  14. This past Feb. my husband and I flew UA going economy EWR-LAX-KOA, stayed 4 days, then ITO(Hilo)-OGG, stayed 5 days, and returned in business class OGG-HNL-EWR (only the HNL-EWR leg was business). Award cost was 68,500 each.

    We would like to return to Hawaii (possibly fall 2016 or early 2017) but only visit Maui and Kauai. Any of the NYC airports would work but we’d prefer to go in and out of the same airport because we live an hour or so away so would be driving/long term parking. Since this trip would involve interisland flights, what miles are best? And, we would love to fly business non-stop on the return since it’s a long overnight flight. Does that limit us to using United at least on the return?


    • This post answers the question. Korean miles are best if there is Delta award space. If there is only United space, Singapore miles are best. There is no nonstop from either of those islands to the New York area.


  16. If leaving from Detroit trying to get to Maui using Korean Air will it still be 45k miles for first class on Delta?

  17. Why no mention of Lufthansa Miles? 35 K for united first one way. Barclay card for LH Miiles and More is 35k.
    I just booked BOI-SFO-HNL 35 K 1st then 6 K HNL-LIH with United miles.

    • Same exact flights are 25k Korean, so why pay more? (If you only have ThankYou Points or Membership Rewards, which transfer to Flying Blue but not Korean, that’s one reason I suppose.)

  18. Including Singapore and Korean in this article for a Business Class flights is so misleading. I have searched Delta high and low, and the same for United. Hen’s teeth are easier to find. You use the disclaimer “You just have to look for the Saver…..” It would be better to say that a Business Class seat is very rare on these routes and if you get one, go buy a lottery ticket, as you are really in luck. That would be the more honest way to report this.

    • I also have been looking for Saver business seats on Delta. When I see one labeled as “lowest” in orange i then check on Korean and its not available. What is one to do??

  19. As of September 1, 2015, American Airlines miles cannot book Hawaiian Airlines flights between the mainland and Hawaii. How can one check award availability for redeeming Korean miles to book Alaska Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines flights? Thanks!

    • You can find Alaska award space right on Look for the Lowest level (cheapest) award space, as that is the level other partners’ miles can book. As for Hawaiian award space, look on Hawaiian Airline’s website for SuperSaver space, which is the award space all partners’ miles should be able to book.


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