Award Space on United’s East Coast to Hawaii Flights with Flat Beds


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United flies daily from Newark to Honolulu and weekly from Washington to Honolulu. Both routes have flat beds in First Class.

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The 767-400ERs plying the routes have five across First Class beds in a 2-1-2 pattern. I’ve flown both routes and recommend the middle seat for solo travelers and A & B for people traveling together.

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These 10+ hour flights are a great candidate for award redemptions because the miles cost of First Class awards is lower than you’d expect.

  • United charges 40,000 miles + $5.60 each way in First Class
  • Singapore charges 30,000 miles + $5.60 each way for the same seats/beds

But what is the award space?

You can get 96,000+ Singapore miles, almost enough for two roundtrips in First Class to Hawaii from opening two credit cards.

Award Space

The award prices quoted above are for United Saver award space, the only space that Singapore miles have access to. United Saver award space is almost completely absent between Washington and Honolulu, though it is much better between Newark and Honolulu.

Washington-Dulles <-> Honolulu

This route operates on Saturdays heading east and Sundays heading west. Award space is non-existent in First Class at the moment. Economy space is available most Sundays heading west, and about two Saturdays per month heading east.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.51.28 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.53.20 PM

Newark <-> Honolulu

Space is better than it used to be from Newark to Honolulu.

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You have a real chance to fly this route in a flat bed. There are six days in the next five weeks with First Class award space.

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In 2016, the space really picks up. There are 14 days in April and May with First Class award space for two passengers.

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Unfortunately award space is definitely worse from Honolulu to Newark.

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You can plan your trip’s dates around the very rare space in First Class from Honolulu to Newark and book something like this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.46.43 PMThis award would cost 160,000 United miles or 120,000 Singapore miles for two passengers roundtrip.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.46.35 PM

Or you can book one way in direct First Class and the return from a different island in economy with a layover. I’d favor this strategy because you should see a new Hawaiian Island every 2-4 days.

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.50.04 PMFor two people, this award would cost 125,000 United miles or 95,000 Singapore miles.Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 2.49.59 PM

How and Why to Book with Singapore Miles

Singapore Airlines is a Star Alliance partner with United, and it just happens to have a far cheaper award chart between the United States mainland and Hawaii than United does. Singapore charges:

  • 17,500 miles one way in United economy, United charges 22,500 miles
  • 30,000 miles one way in United First, United charges 40,000 miles

There is no way to transfer United miles to Singapore miles, but all transferable points (Chase, Citi, AMEX, and Starpoints) transfer to Singapore miles.

Search for United award space to Hawaii. Singapore miles can only book space with a blue button in the Saver column, like this flight has in both cabins.

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Note the date, cabin, and flight number of the award space you want to book, then call Singapore at 213-404-0301 and give the agent that information. (Call United First Class “Business Class” on the phone.)

The Singapore agent will charge you according the Singapore chart, which is way cheaper. For instance a couple who flew roundtrip from Newark to Honolulu with one direction in United First Class would pay 125,000 United miles + $22.40.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.51.50 AM Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 6.51.59 AM

The same flights are 95,000 Singapore miles + $22.40.

Bottom Line

There is good award space in flat beds from Newark to Honolulu. There is much worse award space Honolulu to Newark and none in flat beds between Washington and Honolulu.

If some of the space works for you, book with Singapore miles, not United miles.

Both of these can transfer to Singapore miles:

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  1. ” Award space is definitely worse from Honolulu to Newark, though, so you’ll want to return in economy or in First Class with a connection. ”
    HNL-EWR is a redeye around 10.5 hrs- sleeping in coach – Ouch! Did this one in First this past March and slept almost the whole time. Wonderful.
    If you take First with a connection, aren’t you changing planes in your body’s middle of the night but early morning due to time zone change? Did that years ago, flying coach (only other trip to Hawaii) and remember being a zombie in LAX for a couple of hours.

  2. I was looking at these during the January February timeframe last year and actually found some IAD space in the couple of weeks prior to departure. At the same time the EWR flights were basically wide open for February when searching 1-3 weeks out

    • Yes, I expect the best space to be found during searches made in December through February for travel January through March.

  3. What a difference a year makes — last July, my family of 4 flew non-stop from IAD to Hawaii in First Class on United (and non-stop in First Class from Hawaii back to IAD), and I was able to get all of the tickets at the saver level.

  4. It looks to me like United won’t be continuing to operate the non-stop flight from IAD to HNL. I checked on Expedia and the flights are still available in July, but not on dates that I checked in mid-August or several subsequent months.

  5. Thanks for the information. If I book a one way using Singapore miles in coach and a first class saver ticket becomes available later, can I call Singapore and change the ticket to first class and just pay the additional miles?

      • Should I expect any issues booking a mixed cabin award? I have heard that sometimes people have had trouble confirming availability on these types of awards. Also, are there any special instructions to follow when calling to book this kind of award?

          • Awesome. One last question if you don’t mind. I have read conflicting reports, but do you know whether, if we book a one way award ticket, we could still “buy” a stopover for $100, or can you only do that on round trip tickets?

  6. The Y economy shown is fare class XN. That’s not bookable with Singapore miles. XN is only for MP credit card holders and UA elites. (However, a similar flight in X should work with SQ miles.)

    • True, but the space was there before I signed in, so there is X space on the flight. Sometimes after signing in, it shows as XN even when X is available.


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