Today we wanted to talk about a great way to get to Hawaii using reward points. We’ll be sharing how we utilize redemptions later on once we get to traveling, so for now think of these type of posts as foreshadowing for some possibilities out there.
By no means is this article going to be all-encompassing. Indeed, the website Million Mile Secrets, has a much more detailed post on the subject. Instead, it’s simply going to be a demonstration of the type of thing that is possible.
Hawaii is a fairly expensive place to get to when you’re talking about intra-U.S. travel. For instance, a quick search for flights from say San Jose, California to Honolulu, Hawaii in July shows $320 or so on a one-way trip being about the lowest price.
Of course points can help us out here.
That $320 flight was on Alaska Airlines. If you search their website, you can see that you could book that same flight for 17,500 Alaska Airline points. That’s not a bad redemption value – $0.018 per point – but the problem is actually accruing Alaska miles.
There’s one main transfer program – Starwood – and Alaska has its own credit card, but you don’t need to go either route. There’s a cheaper, and seemingly round-a-bout way of reducing this price.
British Airways has a partnership with Alaska Airlines. And unlike Alaska, the point requirements for flights are based on distance rather than a set amount.
Using British Airways Avios points, it would only cost 12,500 to fly from the west coast to Hawaii.
Here are the west coast locations Alaska Airlines flies from:
- San Diego
- San Jose
And here are the potential destinations in Hawaii:
There are all sorts of combinations available for 12,500 British Avios points. Better yet, there are more reward partners to transfer from including Chase Ultimate Rewards, American Express Membership Rewards and Starwood.
Now usually British Airways charges fuel surcharges, but not with Alaska Airlines. So the “all in” price for a one-way ticket to Hawaii would be 12,500 Avios points and the $5.60 security fee.
A couple of notes. British Airways also has a partnership with American Airlines. So you can search for the award seats on American’s website as well. Indeed, many people prefer this method as you’ll be able to see both American flights (which will add a few departures) and Alaska Airline flights.
The rewards that you’d be looking for on the American website are “SAAVer” – which will come up as costing 22,500 American points. Which brings us to the second caveat.
For Alaska Airlines flights unfortunately it is not possible to book the seats online. The good news is that British Airways makes it pretty simple. You call in with the date and flight number you would like, and you can book it over the phone. Technically there is a fee for this, but you can ask for this to be waived since you cannot book it online.
Chase Ultimate Rewards transfer to British Airways instantly – which is handy if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred or Reserve. The redemption value can be pretty good here: coming in at about $0.025 per point.
Incidentally, this is the reason that points, and especially Chase UR points, can be worth much more than 1 cent each and more like 2+ cents.
One other note. Another way to figure out the cheapest way to get somewhere on points is to use the website Award Hacker. This shows you all sorts of programs and outlines where you can transfer points from.
As we mentioned this not a comprehensive post. Instead, it was meant to be a demonstration of some possibilities. It gives you an idea of the value points can play in travel. And it also highlights that the “best” use of points may require a bit of creativity or further investigation. In that vein, for a more detailed view, we’d recommend the Million Mile Secrets post linked above.