Amazing view of the Kalalau Valley and the Na Pali coast in Kauai.

8 Smart Ways to Use Your Airline Miles to Fly to Hawaii

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.

Hawaii is a dream destination for many of us. Whether you’re looking to relax and enjoy the beaches, snorkel, surf, or explore the lush tropical rainforests, getting to Hawaii using airline miles is a lot easier than you think.

While many airlines offer award redemptions to Hawaii, a few stand out as being an incredible value!

In this guide, let’s look at the ways to use your airline miles to fly to Hawaii and how to search and book these Hawaii award flights.

8 Smart Ways to Use Your Airline Miles to Fly to Hawaii

American Airlines Airplane on the runway
Use British Airways Avios to book flights to Hawaii on American or Alaska Airlines

1. British Airways for only 26k Avios from West Coast Airports

British Airways has a distance-based award chart, which means the number of miles needed to redeem for award flights depends on the distance flown.

And while distance-based pricing to Hawaii may seem counterintuitive, the west coast to Hawaii falls neatly into a British Airways pricing sweet spot.

British Airways Hawaii Award Details:

Getting to Hawaii from the West Coast of the U.S. costs just 26k Avios round trip in economy class and stands out as an awesome way to use your BA Avios.

But, British Airways does not operate or fly the route itself. Their Oneworld Alliance partners, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines do.

So, you’ll search, book, and pay with Avios through British Airways but fly on an American or Alaska airplane.

Depart on nonstop flights from west coast airports like Anchorage, Oakland, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Los Angeles, or Phoenix and fly to Hawaiian destinations like Honolulu, Maui, Kauai, and Kona.

British Airways charges per segment. Any connection will add to the price and should be avoided in order to book at the 26k Avios roundtrip rate.

How do I find the award seats?

You should be able to search and book directly on the British Airways website. If you’re finding no availability on BA, search on the American Airlines website to find SAAver space and then try to replicate the search on the British Airways website.

If you still can’t find the space you found on the American Airlines website, write down all of the flight information and call British Airways. Hopefully, the agent will see the award space on their end and book your ticket.

Be sure to remind them the ticket was not bookable online in order to (hopefully) avoid a phone reservation fee.

British Airways allows one-way redemptions, which works out if you can’t find a round-trip award and need to piece together your itinerary with different award tickets. You’ll use fewer miles to book your Hawaii dream vacation by using British Airways one way and another airline for the other way.

Hawaii - Where can Capital One Tranfer Partners take you?

How do I earn enough British Airways Avios?

The card_name co-branded credit card is a great way to earn more Avios.

If you need British Airways Avios, transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards Points or transfer Amex Membership Rewards points to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio.

Or for every 60k Marriott Bonvoy points transferred to British Airways at a 3:1 ratio, get an extra 5k Avios for a total of 25k BA Avios. 

Both Chase and American Express have done transfer bonuses to British Airways in the past. These have been as high as 40%!

If you took advantage of a 40% bonus, you’d only need to transfer 19k points to book this round-trip award to Hawaii!

ProTip: If you’re not exactly near a west coast airport but close, consider positioning yourself to the right airport. This option gets even better if you have a Southwest Companion Pass to fly another traveler for free.

2. Use Singapore Airlines Miles for United Flights to Hawaii

Singapore Airlines and United are Star Alliance partners. And, understanding airline alliances means realizing you can use miles from Airline A to fly on Airline B, as long as they are partners.

Each partner gets to make their own award pricing and rules. In the case of Hawaii award flights, Singapore has better pricing than United.

Singapore Airlines Hawaii Award Details with United Airlines:

Singapore Airlines prices their Hawaiian awards at 35k miles round trip for economy class and 60k miles round trip for business class. (Singapore’s business class is typically the same as United’s first class.)

There’s just one small problem. Singapore Airlines doesn’t fly to Hawaii. The good news is their Star Alliance partner United does! You can book your Hawaii award flight through Singapore Airlines using their cheaper award chart, but fly on United flights.

There are a lot of great ways to redeem United miles. But, for award flights to Hawaii, United charges at least 45k miles round trip for economy class and 80k miles for first class. Singapore Airlines is significantly less!

DP United Airplane
Don’t tell the people sitting next to you how few miles you paid for your United flight! 

How do I find the award seats? 

Search using United’s website. To ensure you see the correct availability, do not sign in to your United MileagePlus account. Singapore Airlines can only book Saver awards and, when you’re logged in, United might show you award flights that a partner like Singapore cannot book.

Remember, if your roundtrip flights aren’t available on your dates, search in one-way segments instead before changing dates or giving up. Even consider flying one way and using different miles to complete the trip.

Once you find Saver award space, write down the flight information and head over to Singapore’s website to book online.

ProTip: Because of United’s dynamic pricing, it’s become more difficult to know what’s Saver space and what’s not. Use another Star Alliance search tool, like Aeroplan, to confirm saver space availability if the award flights you think should be there are not showing on the Singapore Air website.

Does this look like paradise to you?

How do I earn enough Singapore Krisflyer miles? 

Luckily, Singapore miles are some of the easiest miles to earn.

Chase Ultimate RewardsAmex Membership Rewards, transfer to Singapore Air, as do Citi ThankYou points and Capital One Miles.

Travel rewards credit cards are great ways to earn these flexible, transferable points.

Marriott Bonvoy points can also be transferred to Singapore. For 60k Marriott Bonvoy points transferred at a 3:1 ratio, you’ll get a 5k mile bonus for a total of 25k Singapore miles.

Points can take a few hours or up to 2 days to transfer. 

This is obviously important to keep in mind because if the award space disappears, the miles cannot be transferred out of Singapore Airlines. You’d need to be flexible with your travel plans or have a Plan B to use them for a different award flight.

Once your reservation is confirmed, you can head back to United’s website to choose seats and store the reservation in your MileagePlus account.

3. Turkish Airlines Miles on United Airlines to Hawaii

As with the above partnership between United and Singapore, Turkish Airlines is also a member of the Star Alliance. This makes it possible to use Turkish miles to book flights on United.

This Hawaii award sweet spot is the lowest-priced option on this list and amounts to an incredible deal on flights from the continental U.S. to Hawaii.

Turkish Airlines Hawaii Award Details with United Airlines:

Turkish Airlines charges just 15k(!) miles round trip for nonstop flights operated by United to Hawaii. If you’re lucky enough to find it, a round-trip business class seat would be just 25k Turkish miles! Either way, it’s a prime example of how using partners for redemptions can save a lot of miles!

United Airlines has direct flights throughout the Hawaiian Islands from airports like Chicago, Newark, Denver, and San Francisco.

How do I find the award seats? 

First, you’ll need to sign up for a Turkish Miles and Smiles account. It’s free to join and you’ll need an account to search and transfer points into.

ProTip: If you need to create a Turkish Airlines account, use only numbers in your password. Otherwise, anything you type in the password box will delete itself as soon as you stop typing.

When logging in to your account, don’t include the “TK” at the start of your membership number.

Once you’re logged in to your Turkish Airlines account, click on your name in the top right and choose “Miles Transactions” and then “Book Now” under the Star Alliance booking option.

From there, you’ll be at the Star Alliance award search tool where you can enter your airports and dates.

If Turkish Airlines isn’t showing any flights or is giving an error message, check that the award space you’re looking for is showing on ANA or Aeroplan. If those partners see the United award space, Turkish should be able to see it, too.

If you’ve confirmed the space is available and the Turkish Airlines website is still acting wonky, you’ll have to call or use Skype to book the award with an agent.

How do I earn enough Turkish miles? 

The great news is you don’t need to fly Turkish Airlines to earn miles for their loyalty program. Turkish Airlines is a transfer partner of Capital One and Citi ThankYou Points.

You can earn these transferrable points with credit cards like card_name and Citi Premier.

4. Use Korean Airline Miles for Delta Flights

I’ll be upfront and say this is the most challenging Hawaii award flight of them all, but by no means impossible or one that should be forgotten. 

Korean Airlines has worked to simplify the booking process but still has several steps to follow. The upside is that if you can get everything to work out, you’ll end up with a pretty sweet Hawaiian redemption.

Amazing view of the Kalalau Valley and the Na Pali coast in Kauai.

Korean Airlines Hawaii Award Details:

Korean Airlines and Delta Airlines are both members of the Skyteam Alliance. Remember, though, each airline can price awards as they want.

Korean Airlines considers Hawaii to be in the same zone as the rest of the United States making their awards to Hawaii a real steal! For 25k Korean miles in economy class and only 45k Korean miles for first class, you can fly roundtrip to Hawaii on Delta!

This means you would fly the exact same Delta flights but pay the number of miles set by the Korean Airlines award chart. Not too shabby, right?!

In comparison, Delta prices its lowest award flights to Hawaii for at least 45k/80k/90k roundtrip for economy class, business, and first-class, respectively. And that’s when you can even find reasonable or close to reasonable award pricing on Delta’s website!

Pacific sunrise at Lanikai beach, Hawaii

How do I find the award seats? 

This is where it gets tricky because Delta does not make searching for awards easy. Using Delta’s website search for Hawaii award flights serviced ONLY by Delta. Flights on a partner airline will cost more.

Search one way at a time and look for awards priced at 22.5k Delta miles one way or the results marked “lowest.” If nothing shows up, change your dates and times. Flexibility goes a long way in finding you the award for which you’re looking.

If possible, have more than one roundtrip flight combination to increase your chances of finding availability.

Write down the flight information for several options before heading over to the Korean Air website to book. Be sure to select Skyteam awards when searching or else the website won’t understand the route you’re searching for.

Again, you’ll pay just 25k Korean miles for economy and 45k Korean miles for First Class.

Keep in mind Korean Airlines only lets you book roundtrip awards and will only let you book flights for family members listed and approved in your account. You’ll want to make sure any paperwork for family members is sorted out before trying to book an award.

How do I earn enough Korean Airlines miles? 

Unfortunately, Korean Airlines miles have gotten much harder to earn once they parted ways with Chase as an Ultimate Rewards transfer partner. However, having a Marriott co-branded credit card will help.

Marriott Bonvoy points are the only currency that transfers to Korean Airlines. You can transfer points at a 3:1 ratio. Keep in mind, points could take up to 2 days to transfer.

You could also consider a Korean Airlines credit card, using some of their travel partners to rent cars or book hotels, and even credit paid Skyteam flights to your Korean Airlines account. 

5. Use Southwest Rapid Rewards Points to Get to Hawaii

Southwest Airplanes at Phoenix AIrport

Southwest’s expansion to Hawaii was highly celebrated when flights began. The airline isn’t part of an airline alliance. However, it’s known for affordable airfare whether paying in miles or cash, as well as one of the most popular domestic airlines, hands down.

With routes from Oakland and San Jose, California to Honolulu and Maui, as well as inter-island routes between Honolulu, Maui, and Kona, Southwest makes for a solid Hawaii award redemption.

Southwest Airlines Hawaii Award Details:

Southwest prices its award flights based on the cash price. So award prices fluctuate and are better booked during Southwest sales. Another great thing about Southwest’s loyalty program, if there’s a seat for sale on the flight you can use your Rapid Rewards points to book the seat. 

During award flight searches, I’ve seen one-way flights from Oakland, California to Honolulu for as little as 10k points and as high as 44k points. This variation made sense based on a seemingly slower travel time versus the peak holiday travel dates around Christmas.

Tremendous value is added if you have a Southwest Companion Pass. You can book your award flight to Hawaii and then add your companion for free to the itinerary, paying only a few bucks in taxes.

How do I find the award seats?

Southwest’s search couldn’t be easier. Using their low fare calendar, search your route and Southwest will display the prices for every day in the month you select. Be sure to select points instead of cash to see how many Rapid Rewards points you’ll need.

How do I earn enough Southwest Rapid Rewards points? 

Southwest has several co-branded personal and business credit cards including the:

These cards have typically come with generous welcome bonuses. And, in addition, the Rapid Rewards shopping portal and travel partners offer additional ways to earn points for Southwest award flights.

Southwest is also a Chase transfer partner, so Ultimate Rewards points can be moved to your Southwest loyalty account.

However, this isn’t the best value for those Ultimate Rewards points. Not to mention, if you use Chase points to book a Southwest flight in the Chase portal, you’ll actually earn Southwest points for taking the flight. This is certainly a better value proposition when you look at the math.

ProTip: To book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal, you’ll need to call to book it over the phone.

6. Etihad for Hawaii Award Flights on American

Beautiful aerial view of spectacular Na Pali coast, Kauai, Hawaii

UPDATE: In March 2023, Etihad drastically changed its partner award chart pricing for the worse. Many of the sweet spots that once existed are no more. For now, look at the 7 other options for getting to Hawaii at the best price while this section is revamped to reflect a better option for using miles to get to Hawaii.

Etihad and American Airlines are non-alliance partners.

But what makes this partnership exciting is that American has made changes to their award charts and moved towards dynamic pricing, however, Etihad has not. They’re still using pricing based on the AA award charts before the increases in 2016.

Etihad Hawaii Award Details:

Etihad’s award pricing for flights operated by American Airlines lists Hawaii awards from the continental U.S. at 17.5k one-way in economy class during off-peak times. These time periods include January 12-March 8 and August 22-December 15.

At other times of the year (peak times) Etihad prices one-way economy awards to Hawaii at 22.5k Etihad miles one-way. Business class seats are just 37,500 Etihad miles each way.

How do I find the award seats?

You’ll need to head over to the AA website and search for SAAver availability during the off-peak times outlined by Etihad. Once you find what you need, write down the flight information and call Etihad to book the award.

How do I earn enough Etihad miles?

Etihad miles have become easier to earn. They are transfer partners with American Express, Citi, and Capital One.

Cards like the card_name, card_name, and the Citi Premier earn transferable points.

The time it takes for your points to land in your Etihad account has improved, plan on anywhere between instant and 24 hours for all 3 points programs.

7. Use Flying Blue or Virgin Atlantic Miles for Delta Award Flights to Hawaii

Virgin Atlantic Delta Hawaii

Flying Blue is the loyalty program for Air France and KLM. They are both part of the Skyteam Alliance along with Delta. Virgin Atlantic and Delta are non-alliance partners.

As such, Flying Blue miles and Virgin Atlantic miles can be used to book award flights to Hawaii that are operated/flown by Delta. 

Flying Blue & Virgin Atlantic Hawaii Award Details:

I’ve grouped these 2 Delta partners together for the simple reason that bookable awards are dependent on Delta saver space to Hawaii.

When you’re lucky enough to find space, these programs can be solid options. 

Flying Blue moved to a dynamic pricing model so the award pricing fluctuates. However, one-way awards in economy class are typically 17.5k Flying Blue miles or 35k round trip. 

Virgin Atlantic would charge 40k miles round trip in coach. However, these awards must be booked from Delta cities with nonstop flights to the Hawaiian islands like Atlanta, Salt Lake City or Los Angeles. Otherwise, the price rises for connections.

Why are these options on the list when there are cheaper award redemptions no matter where you’re based in the U.S? Transfer bonuses.

Both Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic have had transfer bonuses through Citi and American Express. At a 30% transfer bonus, that award booked with Virgin Atlantic but operated by Delta is suddenly very interesting, not to mention competitive with other options on this list.

How do I find the award seats?

You can use Delta’s website to search for their lowest-price awards. But, you can also search on Air France or KLM for award flights.

But, what’s frustrating about that is the Flying Blue website is glitchy and hit or miss as to whether or not it will show a calendar view. Without it, you’re stuck to searching day by day, which is tedious at best.

To search Virgin Atlantic for Delta flights, use their website or app. The calendar view will display any/all available award flights to Hawaii. 

How do I earn enough Flying Blue and/or Virgin Atlantic miles?

Flying Blue and Virgin Atlantic miles are super easy to earn because they are transfer partners with popular flexible points programs offered by Chase, Amex, Citi, Marriott Bonvoy, and Capital One. Earning flexibile points with a travel rewards credit card will help you earn points that you can transfer to Virgin Atlantic and Flying Blue.

In particular, the Citi and American Express transfer bonuses are ones to look out for if you’re planning a trip to Hawaii.

8. Use United Miles for Award Flights to Hawaii

DP United Airplane

You’re probably saying, “Wait, didn’t you say to go through Singapore Airlines to book United flights to Hawaii?” Just hear me out on this one.

United Hawaii Award Flight Details:

United charges 45k miles round trip in economy class to fly to Hawaii. This price is certain to fluctuate once United officially moves to dynamic pricing. And it’s certainly not the cheapest option on the list.

What makes it interesting is United’s Excursionist Perk, which lets you book a free one-way segment on round-trip award flights. You could essentially book your flight to one Hawaiian Island and depart from another and use the inter-island flight between these two as your Excursion or free one-way.

It’s important to also note Southwest’s cheap inter-island flight options, as well as JetBlue’s partnership with Hawaiian Airlines.

Using your JetBlue miles, for example, you could book an inter-island flight for just 6k miles. Both of these 2 options could work out cheaper than taking advantage of United’s 45k miles + a free excursion.

It could all come down to available space and timing, though. So, this option is good to have in your back pocket if you can’t find a cheaper alternative for your travel dates.

How do I find the award seats?

Search directly on United’s website. If you have any of the United co-branded airline cards, log in to see exclusive availability for cardholders. 

If you’re adding an excursion, use the multi-city search tool to build your itinerary. Search in one-ways if needed at first, and then piece together your itinerary.

How do I earn enough United miles?

Transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards or Marriott Bonvoy points to United. Travel rewards cards like the Sapphire Preferred and the Marriot Bonvoy Boundless earn these flexible points.

You can also earn United miles with a co-branded card like the card_name or card_name.

United also has a shopping portal, dining rewards, and the MPX to earn even more miles for your everyday spending.

Bottom Line

There are so many options for using your miles and points to get to Hawaii! However, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re booking through the most familiar airlines, American, Delta, and United.

Flexible points are your keys to success when you’re trying to maximize your miles to get the best possible Hawaii redemption.

How will you use your airline miles to get to Hawaii?

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24 thoughts on “8 Smart Ways to Use Your Airline Miles to Fly to Hawaii”

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Hi, Sunny! Search British Airway’s partner American Airlines website for availability. Both American and Alaska Airlines fly to Kona, either of which you’ll be able to book with BA Avios. Just make sure you find the light green or light blue SAAver space. Make a note of your flights and call into BA to book. Ask them to waive the booking fee because you weren’t able to book online.

      Which airport are you flying from? You can fly on either American or Alaska Airlines to Kona from Oakland, San Jose, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, and Los Angeles. You can also fly Anchorage or Portland to Kona certain times of the year.

      Hope that helps and good luck! 🙂

  1. You know, I never had as much interest with Hawaii as much as most people do. But recently, friends of mine just moved to Oahu and I’ve been drooling over their adventures. Will definitely keep these tips in mind!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      How nice that you’d have some friends to visit in Oahu, Erica! I’m sure they’d know a ton of great local tips to make for an excellent visit! 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      That’s right, Karla. As long as you have your Delta credit card account open, your Delta miles will not expire. Glad you’ve found a rewards strategy that works for you! 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Lotte, are you in the U.K? British Airways redemptions are useful because if you earn Avios you’ll be able to use them on any OneWorld Alliance partner.

  2. Sounds great. I haven’t collected miles before (haven’t don’t thaaaat much flying either) but I have started with Emirates last year. Soon it will be my second long distance flight within a year and it will take a while until I can redeem them 🙂 (Hawaii sounds not bad actually, haha)

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Emirates is a great airline to earn miles with. They partner with airlines like Alaska, JAL, Jet, JetBlue, Korean Air, Qantas, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, and Virgin America. You’ll be able to use these miles on any of these partners. 🙂

  3. This is brilliant advice! I’ve never thought of using my miles on international carriers for trips in the U.S. I have several credit cards that would allow me to do this. I’ll have to look into it for my next trip (when I’m not using my flight attendant benefits!). Sometimes it’s nice to have a confirmed seat. 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Oh, it must be nice to have flight attendant benefits, Mia! Definitely check which miles you have and who their partners are and alliances they belong to. For example, I’ve used my American Airlines miles to fly on Finnair and Air Berlin. Or my United miles to fly on Thai Airways. Good luck! 🙂

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      That’s exactly it, Mar! It always surprises people when they learn their miles are useful for a host of airlines. Alliances and partnerships between airlines have such amazing value!

  4. Thanks for these tips Jackie – I’m thinking I’m going to start trying to accrue points from Singapore airlines – I’m based in Canberra, Aus, atm and theyve just announced the first international flights from here. So pretty excited!

    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      That’s great, Meg! Singapore Airlines is so nice and such a great value…Award discounts for online bookings and a better award chart than other Star Alliance partners, like United. 🙂

  5. Hi,

    This sounds interesting! Its my dream to visit Hawaii with my wife. Next year I will definitely visit Hawaii since I have got brilliant affordable offer.


    1. Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie

      Thanks for reading, Vanessa. Airline miles don’t transfer to other airlines. Flexible points like Chase Ultimate Rewards or American Express Membership Rewards transfer to a variety of airline partners. Delta SkyMiles are always Delta SkyMiles. BUT, when you search on Delta for award space, you may see flights operated by a partner like Korean Air. But you’ll still pay whatever Delta’s pricing is because you’re paying with Delta SkyMiles, even if you end up flying on a flight by one of their partners. To take advantage of the Korean Air pricing, you’d need to have Korean Air miles and book through Korean Air.

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