- Part 1: Using points to fly to Hawaii
- Part 2: Using points to fly intra Hawaii
- Part 3: Points options for hotels
- Part 4: Business/First Class flights to Hawaii
This will be the final post for the Hawaii series. Don’t cry, we will make it. I’ve received a lot of emails with questions on how to fly in Business & First Class to Hawaii. Everyone wants to be pampered. Me, too!
Flying in a premium cabin makes sense to me since it can be a long flight, especially from the East Coast. If you’re hopping over to Hawaii from the West Coast, maybe you could suck it up and fly economy….Gasp! Not saying I would.
Note: Be careful when booking a premium cabin to Hawaii. Some routings will only have two cabins (business-first and economy) and not three cabins (first, business, economy all separate) on them, so it’s important that you don’t overpay, or get your hopes up too high. But there are some good Business and First Class redemptions to be found, and even some flat bed options. Sweet!
Let’s take a peek.
British Airways Avios miles are a great way to fly to Hawaii via one of their partners like Alaska Air, or American Airlines. Since they’re a distance-based system, it makes it very easy to fly First Class from the West Coast – but at 37,500 Avios each way. This might be a rare time when the Noob recommends opting out of First Class because, 1. it’s a short hop, and 2. the “premium” cabin isn’t guaranteed to be First Class if it’s a two cabin plane. Ouch. But Avios are easy to come by since they whore themselves out to all the points transfer programs; often with a bonus. To get there in the economy cabin, it will only cost you 12,500 Avios.
Anywho. You can fly either American or Alaska from LA, Oakland, Portland, San Diego, San Jose, Seattle, Anchorage or Bellingham, so you can ride in style.
To find availability, you can use Alaska Airlines’ or American’s award availability search. During my search on Alaska’s website, I came up with plenty of award availability in First from both Ontario and Burbank Airports!
Then, to get the miles needed, you can sign up for the British Airways Visa Signature® Card. You can also transfer from your Chase Ultimate Rewards, Membership Rewards, or from Starwood at a 1:1 ratio. Simply put, it’s easy to accumulate Avios. Too easy? Nah.
United is a key player in the First and Business Class flights to Hawaii because they feature fully-flat beds on certain flights form Denver, Houston, DC, Newark and San Francisco. You’ll know that it’s a three-cabin flight because you will see a First Class option (far right option, the third one) when you search for award availability. Flying in one of United’s premium cabins with fully flat beds is the way to travel to Hawaii. Noobtraveler style!
For two-cabin flights, Business/First class can be had for 80,000 roundtrip, and for three-cabin flights, roundtrip in First is 100,000 miles using Saver Awards. However, for now, you can still use US Airways Dividend miles for United flights, and it would only cost you 70,000 for a round-trip ticket in Business/First class. Sick deal.
Award availability search is easy on United.com. I found plenty of availability on the dates I searched:
The best co-branded United card offers can be found by clicking through United.com after logging into your account, or by visiting a local branch. Of course you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points earned from your Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, Ink Bold® Business Card, or Ink Plus® Business Card. It’s a sweeet thang.
The best US Airways offer is for 35,000 miles on first spend with the annual fee waived. There’s no mention of the offer on the landing page, so you will have to look at the terms and conditions on the landing page.
You can book American on its own, in addition to Avios. American offers full three-cabin service as well, and on the dates that I searched, First Class SAAver availability was there for the taking at 47,500 each way, slightly cheaper than United (three cabin) each way, but the product isn’t as good.
The best American Airlines rewards card offers can be found in this FlyerTalk thread.
American is also a transfer partner of SPG, and you can receive 25,000 points by signing up for the American Express Starwood Preferred Guest credit card. You may want to wait on applying for this card, though (maybe a month).
Flying in Business or First Class can make a huge difference, especially if you’re flying from the East coast or are a diva. Not judging. I would definitely seek out the fully lie flat seats on United, but that’s just me. If I lived on the West coast, I would go the Avios route and be perfectly content with economy – well, as least exit row.
Anyway, I hope this helps if you’re planning a Hawaiian getaway. Don’t hesitate to comment below or email if you have any questions.
(Disclaimer: I receive a referral credit for some of the cards mentioned in this post. Please only use my links if you’re satisfied with the service I provide. Thanks for the support if you do!)
— Geoff Whitmore