Since I am in the beginning stages of planning our Hawaii getaway in June, I’ve been keeping an eye out for award redemption opportunities, allowing us to visit Maui for a few days during our vacation.
Over the past few days, there has been a recent buzz surrounding a huge surge of award availability to and from Honolulu that’s currently being discussed on some of the blogs and forums. With that news, it definitely sounds like now is the time for us to book our flights to and from Maui.
A few days ago, Dan’s Deals had posted about a possible glitch on the Continental website that had produced an abundance of award availability for flights to and from Honolulu, departing from most major US mainland cities. There are flights available for as low as 20,000 miles one way for non-stop service to HNL (Honolulu) in economy and 40,000 miles for the same route traveling in business class.
Personally, I think that if you’ve been yearning to go to Hawaii for some time, now is the time to consider booking with your Continental/United miles, because apparently award availability in the “Saverpass” category is usually very sparse.
Kevin and I had already booked our Hawaii trip by purchasing one-way, non-stop service tickets from EWR to HNL back in November when Hawaiian Airlines had their mega sale for travel in June 2012 (by the way, I heard the sale sold out in less than 24 hours, figures…). We paid only $445.40 for both tickets including all taxes and fees.
As far as our return flight, we booked with my American Airlines miles. Since there was an extremely limited availability of flights from HNL – EWR in June (in fact, I only saw flights available for 37.5 miles or 45k miles one way, no thanks), we decided it would be best to book our flights using the HNL – LHR (London) route with a “stopover” in EWR for 30,000 miles per ticket.
Essentially, we will fly out of HNL on June 17, arrive back in EWR for our “stopover” and then “continue on” to London in October. American Airlines allows a free domestic stopover when flying internationally, so we were happy to take advantage of that and be able to score a free one-way ticket to London for a later October vacation.
Anyway, back to Virgin Atlantic here. With the Continental glitch, many travelers have jumped on the opportunity to redeem miles and travel to HNL in the coming months. I’m happy to hear that many people were able to successfully redeem their miles to make Hawaii part of their 2012 travels!
Once you’re in Honolulu, it’s easy to assume that you’d be tempted to explore more of Hawaii’s beautiful islands; it’s no surprise that there’s been much discussion about traveling between Hawaiian islands using award miles. (Dan’s Deals also has a great post summarizing his review of each Hawaiian Island).
Most airlines charge 10,000 miles for flights between the Hawaiian islands, but with Virgin Atlantic Flying Club points, you can get a round trip flight for 6,000 miles on Hawaiian Airlines. Even better news: Virgin Atlantic does not charge a fuel surcharge like most airlines do, so you’ll only be paying ~$5 in taxes (Hat Tip: Jared @ Online Travel Review).
I’m guessing you don’t have a collection of Virgin Atlantic points at the moment, but that’s OK. If you have American Express Membership Rewards points or Starwood Perferred Guest (SPG) points, you can transfer on 1:1 ratio to your Virgin Atlantic Flying Club Account. You may also transfer other partner reward points (including Marriott Rewards and Hilton HHonors) to Flying Club points. The complete list of transfer partners can be found here.
If you don’t have a Virgin Atlantic Flying Club account (I didn’t either until today), you can enroll here with my referral and you and I will both get bonus points after completing our first flights.