Virgin America is a West Coast based airline that flies to several cities in the United States and a few cities in Mexico. Their flights are concentrated along the West Coast, and from their hub cities (San Francisco and Los Angeles) to the East Coast.
A lot of people like flying Virgin America since they’ve marketed themselves as a very “hip” brand! But most of us here care more about Virgin America points and what you can do with them.
How to Earn and Use Virgin America Points
- Part 1: Introduction to Virgin America Points
- Part 2: Earning Virgin America Points
- Part 3: Using Virgin America Points on Partners: Singapore Airlines
- Part 4: Using Virgin America Points on Partners: Hawaiian Airlines
- Part 5: Using Virgin America Points on Partners: Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia
- Part 6: Using Virgin America Points on Partners: Emirates
Part 4: Using Virgin America Points on Partners: Hawaiian Airlines
Link: Virgin America
1. Using Virgin America Points on Partners
While Virgin America’s frequent flyer program uses a revenue-based system on their own flights, they have mileage-based charts for their partner airlines.
You can use Virgin America points on these partner airlines:
- Singapore Airlines
- Hawaiian Airlines
- Virgin Atlantic
- Virgin Australia
In most cases, 1-way partner awards cost 60% of the required points for a round-trip ticket. The exception are inter-island flights on Hawaiian Airlines, where 1-ways cost 50% of the price of round-trips.
All partner awards must be booked over the phone. There is also no way to search partner award availability on the Virgin America website. However, there are other tools you can use depending on the partner airline!
2. Hawaiian Airlines
Virgin America partners with Hawaiian Airlines, and offers some good values on award tickets.
When booking award tickets, you can only book flights on Hawaiian Airlines (the price for a ticket does not include any connecting flights on Virgin America).
So if you aren’t located in a city served by Hawaiian Airlines, you’ll have to use more points to book a separate Virgin America flight to 1st get to a Hawaiian Airlines city. I’ve listed them below!
a) Where Does Hawaiian Airlines Fly?
Here’s a map of Hawaiian Airlines destinations:
- Honolulu (Oahu)
- Hilo (Hawaii)
- Kaunakakai (Molokai)
- Kailua-Kona (Hawaii)
- Kahului (Maui)
- Lanai City (Lanai)
- Lihue (Kauai)
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
- New York (John F. Kennedy)
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- San Jose
- Papeete (Tahiti)
- Pago Pago
- Tokyo (Haneda)
- Seoul (Incheon)
b) How Many Points Do You Need?
If you live in a West Coast city served by Hawaiian Airlines, you can find great deals for coach award tickets to Hawaii. Unfortunately, it costs much more for Hawaiian Airlines flights to or from New York.
A nonstop round-trip award ticket between the US mainland and Hawaii will cost 20,000 points + ~$11 in taxes (35,000 points from New York).
A non-stop 1-way award ticket between the US mainland and Hawaii will cost 60% of a round-trip, or 12,000 points + ~$6 in taxes (20,000 points from New York).
To make an inter-island connection flight, it costs 3,000 points + ~$6 1-way, or 6,000 points + ~$11 round-trip.
For example, if you wanted to fly from Los Angeles to Kailua-Kona, you would pay 20,000 points for the round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu plus 6,000 points for the round-trip between Honolulu and Kona.
However, there is seasonal (summer) non-stop service between Los Angeles and Kona. That flight would only cost 20,000 points round-trip.
Inter-island flights by themselves can be a good use of Virgin America points. You can usually find paid tickets for ~$80 to ~$90 1-way, while Virgin America charges 3,000 points + ~$6 1-way (or 6,000 points + ~$11 round-trip) for award tickets.
While you can usually get a better deal redeeming for flights on Virgin America, that’s only if their routes work for you (maybe you don’t live in a city served by Virgin America, and can better use points on partners!).
If you wanted to redeem flights for Hawaiian Airlines destinations in Asia or the South Pacific, you would add the price to the redemption price from the Mainland to Hawaii. Some sample pricing:
- Honolulu to Papeete (Tahiti): 25,000 points round-trip in coach + $58 (13,000 points + ~$6 1-way)
- Honolulu to Auckland: 35,000 points round-trip in coach + $63 (20,000 points + $21 1-way)
- Honolulu to Sydney: 45,000 points round-trip in coach + $129 (25,000 points + $34 1-way)
- Honolulu to Tokyo: 35,000 points round-trip in coach + $49 (20,000 points + ~$6 1-way)
These aren’t great redemption values if you live on the mainland, but if you live in Hawaii (or are planning a trip that begins in Hawaii), using Virgin America points for Hawaiian Airlines flights may be a good option.
c) Hawaiian Airlines Booking Example – Coach Class
You’ll have to search for Hawaiian Airlines award seats separately, since Virgin America’s website won’t show if any seats are available.
I like to use American Airlines’ website, since they are a partner that shows Hawaiian Airlines award seats. However, American Airlines also shows seats on American Airlines, US Airways, and Alaska Airlines, so you have to specifically look for Hawaiian Airlines flights.
You can use Hawaiian Airlines’ website as well, but they offer more award seats to their own mileage members than they do to partner members. So you would have to filter out which flights are available for partners.
If you are looking for non-stop, coach class award seats from the US mainland to Hawaii, I like to use Hawaiian Airlines’ website. That’s because Hawaiian Airlines has a calendar view that advertises the lowest mileage price available per day.
If Hawaiian Air shows an award seat for 20,000 miles between the US mainland and Hawaii (their lowest price), that means that it is available using Virgin America points as well! You would still pay the Virgin America rate, which is 12,000 points 1-way or 20,000 points round-trip!
Remember, you can earn 15,000 Virgin America points from the Virgin America Premium Visa Signature card after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
i) Finding Award Seats
Once you’re signed-in, click on “See a monthly view of fares.”
On the left side, select the route you’d like to search as well as the approximate date of your trip. Make sure to click “Miles” above the calendar to see award seats available.
The dates that show “20K” are dates that have “Coach SuperSaver” seats available, which are award seats that Hawaiian Airlines makes available to partner airlines (like Virgin America). Click on the date you’d like to search and click “Continue.”
ii) Booking Award Seats
In this case, I chose to depart San Francisco on August 19, 2015 to Honolulu on Hawaiian Airlines flight 11. I called Virgin America at 877-359-8474. They confirmed that they could book the same coach seat (for 12,000 points 1-way or 20,000 points round-trip).
e) Hawaiian Airlines Booking Example – First Class
If you want to fly Hawaiian Airlines First Class, you can also use Hawaiian Airlines’ website to search for available award seats. But you have to search day-by-day. If Hawaiian Airlines shows their price to be 40,000 miles 1-way for a flight in First Class, you can book that flight with partner miles (like with Virgin America points).
If I have flexible dates and am looking for First Class award seats on Hawaiian Airlines, I like to use the American Airlines website. They show Hawaiian Airlines First Class flights differently from other flights, so it is easier to filter out Hawaiian Airlines results.
First, go to AA.com and use the search feature on the home page. I wanted to search for a 1-way flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu in December for 2 people.
The 1st page will show a calendar view of available award seats. To help filter Hawaiian Airlines First Class, select “non-stop only” on the left side and select the purple “47.5K First MileSAAver” button on top.
Even though American Airlines prices Hawaiian Airlines at 47,500 miles 1-way for First Class, you would pay the Virgin America rate if you use Virgin America points, which is 30,000 points 1-way or 50,000 points round-trip.
I selected December 2, 2015, to see the flight detail.
Note: If you search for flights from the Bay Area (like from San Francisco), AA.com will also include searches from local area airports like Oakland and San Jose. Hawaiian Air flies to all of these cities, so you may find award seats from a different airport than the 1 you searched.
To book Hawaiian Airlines flights you’ll need to call Virgin America at 877-359-8474.
To confirm, I gave the agents the dates I searched and they matched what American Airlines’ website showed in regards to available award seats.
f) Hawaiian Airlines Booking Example – Inter-Island Flights
You can book inter-island flights on Hawaiian Airlines using Virgin America points. These can either be in addition to flights from the mainland or as flights on their own!
Virgin America charges 6,000 points + ~$11 for round-trip inter-island award tickets, or 3,000 points + ~$6 for a 1-way award ticket.
The best way to search for inter-island flights on Hawaiian Airlines is to use American Airlines’ website (AA.com).
Let’s say you wanted to book an inter-island flight for a family of 4 between Honolulu and Kahului (Maui) on the busy 4th of July weekend.
Click “Search” and you will see that Hawaiian Airlines has lots of coach class award seats available!
In fact, there are so many flights with open award seats, AA.com splits it into 2 pages!
Even though American Airlines shows 5,000 miles for a 1-way inter-island award ticket, that’s their price. Virgin America charges only 3,000 points 1-way for an inter-island flight or 6,000 points round-trip.
I called Virgin America at 877-359-8474 and confirmed that they saw the same number of available flights as AA.com showed.
You can use Virgin America points to book flights on their partner airlines, like Hawaiian Airlines. There are some good values to be had, especially for inter-island flights.
The number of points you need varies depending on the route. And you’ll pay ~$11 in taxes and fees per round-trip award ticket.
The easiest way to see if award seats are available on Hawaiian Airlines is to use the Hawaiian Airlines or American Airlines websites. If you find award seats, you should be able to book using Virgin America points. But you have to call Virgin America at 877-359-8474 to book the ticket.
In our next post, we’ll see how to book award tickets on Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Australia using Virgin America points.