Through July 6, 2015, United Airlines has a discount of up to 25% off round-trip coach award tickets from the US and Canada to Hawaii.
I’ll tell you more about the promotion. And help you decide if it’s worth it to spend your miles!
What’s the Deal?
Through July 6, 2015, all United MileagePlus members (it’s free to join!) can use miles to book round-trip coach award tickets to Hawaii for 20% fewer miles.
And if you have a United Airlines credit card, like the Chase United Explorer, you’ll get an additional 5% discount.
There are a few limitations:
- You must travel between August 18, 2015, and December 15, 2015
- The discount only applies for flights on Monday through Thursday
- Black-out dates to Hawaii are November 19, 2015, through November 22, 2015
- Black-out dates from Hawaii are November 27, 2015, through November 30, 2015
- Must be a round-trip coach award flight
- Full terms and conditions are here
This can be a good deal to visit Hawaii!
You usually need 45,000 United Airlines miles for a round-trip coach award ticket to Hawaii. But with this promotion, you’ll only need 36,000 United Airlines miles. And if you have a United Airlines credit card or elite status, it drops to 33,750 United Airlines miles.
If you want to book more than 1 flight, the value can really add up!
Are There Drawbacks?
While this is a good deal from the East Coast, folks on the West Coast can get an even better deal by booking American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights with British Airways Avios points.
That’s because award flights are 12,500 British Airways Avios points for a 1-way coach award ticket, and 25,000 British Airways Avios points for a round-trip coach award ticket.
And American Airlines offers off-peak award tickets to Hawaii from January 12 to March 13 and from August 22 to December 15 each year. So the dates overlap the United Airlines promotion. And flights are 17,500 American Airlines miles each way.
This can be a better deal if you have lots of American Airline miles and not a lot of United Airlines miles.
In addition, you can book 1-way flights with both British Airways Avios points and American Airlines miles. But the United Airlines promotion requires a round-trip award ticket. This isn’t a deal breaker unless you don’t plan on coming back from Hawaii (which may be tempting!).
When I checked, there were lots of available award seats throughout the promotion period.
This biggest drawback is that you can’t fly around Thanksgiving weekend. And you can only fly on Monday through Thursday.
I do NOT recommend that you open a new credit card to earn miles for this promotion. Because you must book by July 6, 2015, you won’t have enough time to meet minimum spending requirements and get the miles posted to your account.
How to Get United Miles
I’ve written about many ways to earn United Airlines miles.
Transfer From Chase Ultimate Rewards
Link: Chase Sapphire Preferred
Link: Chase Ink Plus
Link: Chase Freedom
If you have the Chase Freedom or Chase Ink Cash and 1 of the cards mentioned above, you can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to airline and hotel partners, too.
This is a great way to top off your account. Because transfers are instant, you can book your award ticket to Hawaii right away!
Note: If you’ve opened 5+ new credit card accounts (with any bank!) in the past 24 months, you will likely NOT be approved for the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Ink Plus, Ink Cash, Freedom, or Slate cards. You MAY be approved for other Chase cards.
Transfer From Starwood Preferred Guest
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (personal)
Link: Starwood Preferred Guest Credit Card from American Express (business)
Another way to get United Airlines miles is to transfer Starwood Preferred Guest points.
The transfer ratio isn’t great because you get only 1 United Airlines mile for every 2 Starwood points. But there is a 5,000 point bonus for every 20,000 Starwood points you transfer to United Airlines.
So you’d get only 12,500 United Airlines miles for transferring 25,000 Starwood points (including the 5,000 point bonus).
The 2:1 transfer ratio does NOT make this a good deal. I recommend you only consider it if you really need to top off your account to take part in the promotion.
How You Can Book
To get started, go to the United Airlines website.
Enter your travel dates. Remember you must fly on Monday through Thursday from August 18, 2015, to December 15, 2015.
I checked flights from Denver to Maui in September. Be sure to select “Award Travel.”
If you don’t need exact dates, select “My Dates are Flexible” to see a calendar of open award seats.
Then I selected my flights. Sure enough, it showed the discount!
At the check-out screen, you’ll see the final price with taxes and fees.
I noticed the flights I selected would cost ~$862 if I paid for them with cash. So paying with miles can be a good value!
If You Have a United Airlines Credit Card or Elite Status
United Airlines will give you a further 5% discount if you have a United Airlines credit card, like the Chase United Explorer. Or if you have Premier elite status.
You don’t have to do anything to get the additional discount, because your credit card is linked to your United Airlines frequent flyer account.
I checked the flights in the example above. The discount appears automatically when you have a United Airlines credit card.
On the check-out screen, the final price was 33,750 United Airlines miles and ~$11.
If you have a United Airlines credit card, you’ll get even more value from your miles.
United Airlines is running a promotion where you’ll use 20% fewer miles on round-trip award flights to Hawaii from the US and Canada. But you must book by July 6, 2015!
And you’ll get a further 5% discount if you have elite status or a United Airlines credit card, like the Chase United Explorer.
You can travel between August 18, 2015, and December 15, 2015, from Monday to Thursday only. Thanksgiving travel is excluded. Be sure to read the full terms and conditions.
Folks on the West Coast can get a better deal by redeeming British Airways Avios points for flights on Alaska Airlines and American Airlines for 12,500 British Airways Avios points each way.
And American Airlines offers off-peak award flights for 17,500 American Airlines miles each way.