Here’s part two of the East Coast to Hawaii post I promised this weekend. If you need to catch up on part 1, here it is.
Part II: Booking Award Space Between the East Coast and Hawaii ACAP (as cheaply as possible)
Great! You found the ideal United economy award space or Delta First Class award space… Now don’t book it with United or Delta miles. Huh?
All the SAVER award space we found in Part I is bookable with the miles of the airline flying the planes and the miles of all its partners. If its partners let you book the same seats for fewer miles, take advantage.
It can get a bit tricky keeping the partners straight, so I’ve created a chart.
- MR: American Express Membership Rewards
- UR: Chase Ultimate Rewards
- TY: Citi ThankYou Points
- SPG: Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints
- AA: American Airlines
- US: US Airways
- AS: Alaska Airlines
- HA: Hawaiian Airlines
- ++ Avios charges per flight, the cheapest west coast flights cost these amounts. Flying from the east coast will cost at least twice this amount.
- * American charges the cheaper amount Jan. 12 – Mar. 8 and Aug. 22 – Dec. 15, and the more expensive rate the rest of the year.
- ** Delta charges the more expensive rate for flat beds and the cheaper rate for recliners.
- *** Hawaiian Miles cardmembers get a 2,500 mile discount on Super Saver economy awards
Using the Chart
Maybe it’s a bit backwards because you should start in the far right column. Locate the airline on which you found award space. If you found United award space, you can see that United appears twice, in the Singapore KrisFlyer row and the United MileagePlus row, which means you can book it with Singapore or United miles. (You can book it with a lot of other types of miles, but none cheaper than Singapore miles.)
You can compare the prices with each type of miles in the “Econ r/t” and “First r/t” columns, which show the prices of a roundtrip Saver award in economy class and first class respectively. The “One Way?” column lets you know whether that type of miles lets you book one way awards for half the roundtrip price.
The “Transfer Partners” column lets you know which types of transferable points can become the relevant miles. This is especially crucial for miles like Singapore and Flying Blue miles, which you are unlikely to earn any way other than with transfer partners.
Singapore miles are the cheapest option to fly United at 17,500 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles in two-cabin first class, including flat beds. You can book Singapore Airlines awards by calling (213) 404-0301 and giving the date, cabin, and flight number of the United flights with Saver award space.
Singapore miles are so easy to get because KrisFlyer is a transfer partner of all the major transferable points programs. You can transfer Ultimate Rewards you pick up from the Ink Plus, Ink Bold, and the Sapphire Preferred.
Flying Blue miles are the cheapest option to fly Delta at 15,000 miles each way in economy and 30,000 miles in first class, including flat beds.
Flying Blue miles are easy to get because you can transfer Membership Rewards, ThankYou Points, and SPG miles. You can transfer Membership Rewards you pick up from the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express.
American Airlines and British Airways miles
There’s a lot of overlap, but not total overlap because American and British Airways have relevant non-alliance partners.
American Airlines miles can book American Airlines, US Airways, Hawaiian Airlines, and Alaska Airlines flights. An itinerary can be all on one of those partners or any mix of the four.
British Airways Avios can book American, US, and Alaska, again either separately or combined. Avios cannot book Hawaiian flights.
US Airways miles can only book American and US flights to Hawaii. The other airlines are not partners of US Airways Dividend Miles.
Super Cards for Hawaii
Cards that earn transferable points are super cards for Hawaii because they can book awards on two or more alliances at the cheapest possible rates.
For instance, if you earn Starpoints on the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express, you can transfer them to Singapore miles, Flying Blue miles, Avios, or American Airlines miles to book space on any carrier that goes to Hawaii at its cheapest price.
You can rack up Membership Rewards on the Premier Rewards Gold Card from American Express and transfer them to Flying Blue miles, Avios, or Singapore miles and book on all three alliances.
Find award space to Hawaii, then use the chart in this post to figure out the cheapest way to book it. If the cheapest way is an obscure type of miles, use transferable points to get the right miles.
Booking awards from the East Coast to Hawaii is easy. Remember that flights during off peak times like winter and flights from the west coast have more award space, so why not go in February via California?
Also keep in mind that if your plans tend to change often like mine do, then it might be worth it to book your trips using the miles from the airline you have status with that allow free redeposits and date changes.
What awards interest you the most?