Fly to Hawaii with Points

Fly to Hawaii with Points: 4 Best Options For Families

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A Hawaiian vacation is a popular goal for families who are saving up miles and points. And for good reason! The islands are beautiful, you don’t need a passport to visit, and hotel prices can be high. Due to high demand, points redemptions to Hawaii can take more planning but are still possible — especially if you plan in advance and can be flexible.

We’ve been to Hawaii twice using points. Once to Oahu and once to Kauai. While we loved both trips, it will likely be a while before we return due to the distance and jet lag involved in going from Chicago.

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    Flights can be a major expense for families, especially as you are multiplying the number of tickets you need to buy. There are a few sweet spots when flying to Hawaii. Again — if you’re in the Midwest or on the East Coast, it is going to be harder to book your flights. There is more competition for award seats on the long haul flights to Hawaii from Chicago or New York. You’ll need to be flexible when looking for options.

    Book on Southwest Airlines

    Southwest flies nonstop routes to Hawaii from 8 airports. Here is a map that shows these routes:

    Due to the times of connecting flights, coming from the Midwest or East Coast you may have limited options. With a long travel day to consider, one option is to fly to California, spend the night at an airport hotel, and then continue on to Hawaii the next day.

    We did this in reverse in 2019 — we flew from Kauai to Oakland and spent the night at an airport hotel (using points of course!). The next morning we continued on east.

    Points Needed to Book:

    Southwest award prices are tied directly to the cash price of the ticket. Using this strategy the number of points you need will be a moving target. But the advantage here is that if you don’t have enough points to cover the ticket prices for everyone in your family, it is easy to book additional tickets for the same flight in cash.

    Use Southwest’s Low Fare Calendar to find the cheapest dates to fly. And remember, if your flights drop in price, you’ll be able to change them for no fee to the lower priced ticket!

    If you earn a Companion Pass, your flights will be even cheaper since your companion will be able to fly for $5.60 each way! Earning a Companion Pass is our favorite way to keep our flight costs down.

    Southwest Companion Pass Tricks
    Learn the easiest ways to earn the Companion Pass!

    How to Earn the Points:

    There are three personal cards and two business cards that earn points directly with Southwest Airlines. If you have a Chase Sapphire Preferred card (or Ultimate Rewards) you’ll also be able to transfer points to Southwest from that card.

    If you earned a Companion Pass, in addition to the Companion Pass you’ll also have 125,000+ points to spend on flights!

    Southwest Priority Card
    • $149 annual fee
    • $75 annual statement credit for Southwest purchases
    • 4 upgraded boardings per year
    • 7500 points per year on your card member anniversary
    • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit, internet, cable, phone services, and select streaming
    • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
    • Check your Companion Pass strategy before applying
    Southwest Premier Business Card
    Southwest Premier Business Card – 60,000 point bonus
    • $99 annual fee
    • 2 Early Bird Check Ins per year
    • Free in-flight wifi
    • 1,500 Tier Qualifying Points for every $10,000 spent
    • 3x earning on Southwest flights; 2x on local transit
    • 6000 points per year on your card member anniversary

    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred – Learn how to apply
    • $95 annual fee
    • Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United, and more!
    • You can also redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel

    Book on American or Alaska Airlines (via British Airways Avios)

    This redemption allows you to leverage the OneWorld airline alliance to get a better deal on your flights. Both Alaska Airlines and American Airlines partner with British Airways through the oneworld alliance.

    While American will charge 45,000 miles for a round trip MileSAAver fare to Hawaii, you might be able to book the exact same flight using British Airways Avios for as low as 26,000 Avios.

    This sweet spot is most powerful for non-stop flights from the West Coast. That’s because British Airways prices partner award flights (on partners like American and Alaska Airlines) by distance and by segment. That means if you are on a connecting flight (Phoenix to LAX, LAX to Honolulu) you will be charged for two segments separately. Each segment is charged based on the distance flown.

    Here are the routes that fall within this sweet spot:

    • Anchorage (ANC) – HNL, OGG, KOA
    • Los Angeles (LAX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Phoenix (PHX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Portland (PDX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • San Diego (SAN) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • San Francisco (SFO) – HNL, OGG
    • San Jose (SJC) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Seattle (SEA) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA

    The best way to search for this would be to use American Airline’s website to do the initial search. You will need to filter for non-stop flights. Flights that costs 22,500 points each way on American’s website should also be available to book this way.

    In this example, I have filtered to Nonstop only and can see flexible dates for a month at a time that have available award seats for 22,500 each way.

    Points Needed to Book:

    If you are booking one of these sweet spot routes, it will cost 13,000 Avios each way plus $5.60 in taxes. That comes to 26,000 points for a round trip ticket per person.

    Remember, this is only the pricing for a non-stop flight on these routes:

    • Anchorage (ANC) – HNL, OGG, KOA
    • Los Angeles (LAX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Phoenix (PHX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Portland (PDX) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • San Diego (SAN) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • San Francisco (SFO) – HNL, OGG
    • San Jose (SJC) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    • Seattle (SEA) – HNL, OGG, LIH, KOA
    Price Example on BritishAirways.com
    British Airways Avios price for a flight from Seattle to Kauai.
    Price Example on AlaskaAir.com
    That same flight on Alaska Airlines website costs 20,000 points.
    Price Example on AmericanAirlines.com
    Again, the same flight. Booking through American Airlines would cost 22,500 points.

    How to Earn the Points:

    It is easy to earn British Airways Avios. British Airways partners with other airlines in the Avios program and you can transfer Avios between accounts for no charge. Every major bank credit card points (Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou points, American Express Membership Rewards, Capital One Venture Miles) can transfer to Avios. Sign up for our free Transfer Partner Cheatsheet to see which programs transfer.

    You may need to transfer your points to another Avios airline partner first and then to British Airways. Citi Thank You points, for instance, can transfer to Qatar Airways Privilege Club. Once there, you can transfer them to British Airways.

    Citi Premier Offer
    Citi Premier®: Limited time 80,000 point offer
    • $95 annual fee
    • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
    • Thank You Points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Avianca, Turkish Airways, Choice and more. Points double when transferred to Choice!
    • You can also redeem points through the Citi Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel BUT prices seem a bit inflated vs. directly booking with hotels
    • See my full guide to the card here
    Capital One Venture X
    Capital One® Venture X : Earn 75,000 bonus miles
    • $395 annual fee
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more.
    • Get our downloadable checklist here so you can max your benefits
    American Express® Gold Card – 90,000 point offer via referral (non-affiliate link)

    (not my referral link, this is just the best offer)

    • $250 annual fee (Terms Apply | Rates and Fees)
    • Earn 90,000 Membership Rewards® after you spend $4,000 on purchases on your new Card in your first 6 months of Card Membership.
    • $120 total annual Uber credits ($10 per month) and $120 total annual restaurant credits (to certain restaurants, $10 per month), enrollment required
    • 4x earning at restaurants worldwide, including Takeout and Delivery in the U.S.
    • 4x earning at U.S. Supermarkets, on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases
    Chase Sapphire Preferred
    Chase Sapphire Preferred – Learn how to apply
    • $95 annual fee
    • Ultimate Rewards points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Southwest, Hyatt, United, and more!
    • You can also redeem points through the Chase Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel

    Book on United (via Turkish Airways)

    This redemption allows you to leverage the Star Alliance airline partnerships to get a better deal on your flights. Turkish Airways prices all domestic routes on its partner airlines within North America the same — even flights to Hawaii.

    These flights are a steal — if you can find availability. They are best for people with flexible dates and who don’t mind a challenge.

    Hawaii for 15k points
    Read our full guide on this redemption sweet spot here

    Points Needed to Book

    If you can find availability, these flights will cost just 15,000 points round trip per person.

    You’ll need to find Saver level availability on United. We have a dedicated post with more details. Keep in mind, this is an advanced redemption.

    How to Earn the Points

    You can transfer points from a Citi Premier or miles from Capital One Venture or Venture X to Turkish Miles & Smiles. That means that *if* if you find availability to book, you will be able to book 5 round trip tickets to Hawaii with one bonus.

    Capital One Venture card
    Capital One® Venture Rewards – Limited time 75,000 mile offer
    • $95 annual fee
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Capital One Venture X
    Capital One® Venture X : Earn 75,000 bonus miles
    • $395 annual fee
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more.
    • Get our downloadable checklist here so you can max your benefits
    Citi Premier Offer
    Citi Premier®: Limited time 80,000 point offer
    • $95 annual fee
    • Earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening.
    • Thank You Points can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Avianca, Turkish Airways, Choice and more. Points double when transferred to Choice!
    • You can also redeem points through the Citi Travel Portal. 50,000 points = $625 of travel BUT prices seem a bit inflated vs. directly booking with hotels
    • See my full guide to the card here

    Book a Cheap Cash Fare

    Booking a cheap flight and using points to cover the purchase is another way to cover flights. This is best for when you find a cheap cash fare or if your trip is coming up soon and you don’t have points yet.

    Many banks have portals that allow you to book travel directly through them and use your points — or earn bonus points. These portals operate similar to Expedia and are powered by different search engines.

    When you book through the Chase, Citi, or Capital One portals, you will be able to use your points to cover all or part of your purchase.

    Rates can vary widely by bank portal and the value for your points will fluctuate based on the credit card you hold with that bank.

    Points Needed To Book

    The points needed to book will depend on the fare you’ve booked. With a Capital One Venture card, if you have 75,000 points you would be able to cover $750 of flight expenses.

    If you find a cheap fare and book through the Chase travel portal with your Ultimate Rewards, points are worth a little more than just for cash back. If you have 75,000 points you could cover $1000 of travel in the Chase portal. But as a warning, sometimes the Chase prices are inflated so be sure to compare to Google Flights.

    Use Points Before You Have Them

    With a Venture or Venture X card, you can actually plan to use your bonus miles and book your ticket before you even have them! That’s because you have 90 days to erase your travel purchase. You can see more on how this works in this video.

    Essentially you can get the card, pay for your plane ticket that costs $750. Then that money will count towards the minimum spending you have to do. Finish your minimum spending, get your points, reimburse yourself, and you’ve just saved $750 on your vacation!

    How to Earn the Points

    Two great cards for this are the Venture and Venture X card from Capital One. I personally prefer the Venture X due to the higher level of benefits you get!

    Capital One Venture X
    Capital One® Venture X : Earn 75,000 bonus miles
    • $395 annual fee
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • $300 annual travel credit when booking through Capital One’s portal
    • 10,000 points every year on account anniversary (worth at least $100)
    • Easy airport lounge access for your whole family
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more.
    • Get our downloadable checklist here so you can max your benefits
    Capital One Venture card
    Capital One® Venture Rewards – Limited time 75,000 mile offer
    • $95 annual fee
    • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
    • Miles can be redeemed to erase any travel purchase. 50,000 miles = $500
    • Can be transferred to a variety of partners like Jet Blue, Wyndham, Avianca, Turkish Airways and more
    • Also worth considering the Venture X which has more benefits and the same offer.

    Best Family Hotel Options with Points

    Don’t miss our other posts on how to cover hotels or vacation rentals in Hawaii!

    Hawaii Hotels with points
    Book Vacation Rental homes with points

    Editorial Disclosure – The editorial content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of the credit card issuers, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuers.

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