The Big Travel Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards Points: Part 4 – Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii

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The Big Travel Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards Points: Part 4 – Best Ways to Fly to Hawaii

Million Mile SecretsThe Big Travel Guide to AMEX Membership Rewards Points: Part 4 – Best Ways to Fly to HawaiiMillion Mile Secrets Team

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You get lots of travel flexibility with AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Because if you don’t have set travel plans for a future trip, these transferable points give you the option to choose from multiple airline and hotel partners when the time comes.

Folks in the miles & points hobby know earning transferable points, like AMEX Membership Rewards points, are the best way to get Big Travel.  This can mean a First Class adventure around-the-world, family trip to Europe, or so many other options!  And it’s easy to earn AMEX Membership Rewards points from some of the best American Express cards.

The AMEX Membership Rewards points program has many direct airline and hotel partners.  Plus, you’ll get access to other indirect partners as well!  You can use AMEX points to book award flights on every airline that flies from the US to Hawaii!

Or you can keep it simple and use AMEX Pay With Points to book flights through the Membership Rewards travel portal and get a fixed amount per point.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
You’ve Got Lots of Ways to Visit the Aloha State With AMEX Membership Rewards Points

We’ll show you the best ways to use American Express Membership Rewards Points for flights to Hawaii!

The Ultimate Guide to American Express Membership Rewards Points:

Cards That Earn Transferable AMEX Membership Rewards Points

You can earn AMEX Membership Rewards points with the following cards:

American Express Membership Rewards Points for Hawaii Flights

We’ll share a few airlines that are great for flights to Hawaii that you can book using AMEX Membership Rewards points.  Even though the airlines might not be direct AMEX transfer partners, you can still book award flights thanks to alliances and partnerships.

For example, in the past Emily used American Airlines miles and United Airlines miles for a vacation to Kauai.  But you could book the same exact flights by transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways or Singapore Airlines.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Kick Back and Relax on Your Trip to Kauai!

The best transfer partner will depend on:

  • Available award seats
  • Hawaiian island you’d like to visit
  • Which airlines fly from your home airport
  • Your airline & alliance preferences

1.   Delta

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points directly to Delta or Flying Blue at a 1:1 ratio to book Delta flights to Hawaii.

For anyone who doesn’t live on the West Coast, using Flying Blue miles instead of Delta miles for Delta flights is a better deal.

There are non-stop Delta award flights to Hawaii from:

  • Atlanta
  • Los Angeles
  • Portland
  • Minneapolis
  • New York
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle

Flying Blue now has an award calculator tool to allow you to see how many miles a flight will cost, but you need to log into your Flying Blue account to get to it.

Lately, award availability on Delta’s Midwest and East Coast flights to Hawaii has not been very good, so we recommend not getting your hopes up on those flights.

Nevertheless, you can book a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Honolulu on Delta for only 15,000 Flying Blue miles and ~$6 in taxes and fees!

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Transferring AMEX Membership Rewards Points to Flying Blue Can Be a Terrific Deal for Delta Award Flights to Hawaii

You can book Delta award tickets using Flying Blue miles online or by calling their customer service at 800-375-8723.  But they charge a phone booking fee of ~$22 per passenger.

Of course, you can also transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points directly to Delta to book award flights.  Delta doesn’t publish an award chart, but we’ve found the cheapest one-way award flights to Hawaii cost:

  • 22,500 Delta miles in coach
  • 65,000 Delta miles in Business Class

Though, you’ll likely also see many prices much higher than these.  You might find more available award seats through Delta.  But if you can book through Flying Blue, you’ll get a better deal!

Flying Blue is making some changes to their program effective June 1, 2018, and we don’t yet know the full details on what these changes will look like, but it does look like flights to Hawaii are going to cost more miles.  So, if you’re thinking about booking a flight to Hawaii with your Flying Blue miles, we recommend that you book it now!

2.   United Airlines

Similar to award flights within the US, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada or Singapore Airlines to book United Airlines award flights to Hawaii.

You’ll actually get a discount by using Singapore Airlines miles for United Airlines flights to Hawaii.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Hit the Waves After You Save a Ton of Money Flying to Hawaii

Using Singapore Airlines miles to Hawaii, round-trip United Airlines award flights cost:

  • 35,000 Singapore Airlines miles in coach
  • 60,000 Singapore Airlines miles in Business Class
  • 80,000 Singapore Airlines miles in First Class

Compare that to using Air Canada Aeroplan or United Airlines miles for a round-trip award flight.  You’ll pay:

  • 45,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles or United Airlines miles in coach
  • 80,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles or United Airlines miles in Business Class
  • 100,000 United Airlines miles or 110,000 Air Canada Aeroplan miles in First Class

So you can use Singapore Airlines miles to book the exact same United Airlines flights with fewer miles. 

As an example, Million Mile Secrets team member Keith used 17,500 Singapore Airlines miles to book a one-way United Airlines award flight from Los Angeles to Maui.  He saved 5,000 miles this way instead of using United Airlines miles!

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Team Member Keith Used Singapore Airlines to Book a Discounted United Airlines Award Flight to Maui!

After you find available award seats on the United Airlines website, you’ll have to call Singapore Airlines at 800-742-3333 to book the flight.

If you prefer to book online, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to Air Canada.  Then, book a United Airlines award flight to Hawaii through the Air Canada Aeroplan website, but remember you won’t be saving miles this way!

3.   Alaska Airlines and American Airlines

You can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways to book American Airlines and Alaska Airlines award flights to Hawaii.

There are non-stop options available on American Airlines from these US cities:

  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles
  • Phoenix

And you can fly non-stop to Hawaii on Alaska Airlines from:

  • Anchorage
  • Bellingham (seasonally in winter)
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Portland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle

On all of these routes (except for Dallas) one-way flights cost:

  • 12,500 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 37,500 British Airways Avios points in Business Class

And for one-way flights from Dallas, you’ll pay:

  • 20,000 British Airways Avios points in coach
  • 60,000 British Airways Avios points in Business Class

While these prices are great, it’s been extremely difficult to find available award seats in coach and Business Class, especially on American Airlines in the past.  Things have been looking better lately, but that could change at any time.

To find available award seats to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines, we recommend searching the American Airlines website for low-level “SAAver” seats.  For example, we searched Los Angeles to Honolulu.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Find Available “MileSAAver” Seats in the Calendar on the American Airlines Website Before Searching on British Airways

You’ll pay 20,000 to 22,500 American Airlines miles if you book directly.

Instead, you can transfer AMEX Membership Rewards points to British Airways.

Then, book the same flight on the British Airways website for 12,500 British Airways Avios points.  It’s been difficult to get American Airlines flights to show up on British Airways’ search lately, so if you see a flight you want on American Airlines’ site but can’t find it with British Airways, just give them a call at the number listed below.  They will try to charge you a telephone booking fee, but if you let them know that you were unable to book the flight online it should be waived.

To book Alaska Airlines award flights using British Airways Avios points, you’ll have to call British Airways at 800-452-1201.

4.   Hawaiian Airlines

Hawaiian Airlines is a direct AMEX airline transfer partner.  You can transfer points to the airline at a 1:1 ratio.

Hawaiian Airlines offers nonstop award flights to Hawaii from these cities:

  • Las Vegas
  • Long Beach
  • Los Angeles
  • New York (JFK)
  • Oakland
  • Phoenix
  • Portland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Seattle
AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Hawaiian Airlines Offers Non-Stop Flights to Hawaii From 11 US Cities

The cheapest one-way award flights you can find from all these cities cost:

  • 20,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles in coach
  • 40,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles in Business Class

Available award seats at the low-level mileage prices can be limited.  There can still be award seats available, but the prices are double.

To search and book Hawaiian Airlines award flights, log-in to your frequent flyer account.  Then, enter the desired departure city and destination.  For example, we searched a one-way award flight from Los Angeles to Maui.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Use 20,000 Hawaiian Airlines Miles for a One-Way Coach Award Flight From Los Angeles to Maui

The results show a coach award flight available for 20,000 Hawaiian Airlines miles, which is a good deal!

You can also use redeem miles to book inter-island Hawaiian flights for 7,500 Hawaiian Airlines miles each way.

5.   Singapore Airlines

Due to a new partnership between Singapore Airlines and Alaska Airlines, you can now use your Singapore Airlines KrisFlyer miles to book flights to Hawaii.  AMEX Membership Rewards transfer to Singapore Airlines at a 1:1 ratio.

As of now, awards are not bookable online, so you’ll have to give Singapore Airlines a call at 800-742-3333.  If you want to have a go at checking award availability before you call in, you’ll want to head over to the Alaska Airlines website and look for flights to Hawaii that cost 17,500 Alaska Airlines miles each way.  This isn’t what you’ll be paying Singapore Airlines though; it’s only telling you what days have availability that Singapore Airlines will have access to!

The number of Singapore Airlines miles you’ll pay when flying Alaska Airlines depends on where in the US you are flying from (and also where you’re flying to!).  A flight from California to Hawaii will cost 12,000 miles each way, while a flight from Colorado to Hawaii (connecting in any of Alaska’s hubs) would cost only 11,500 miles.

Call center agents may not yet be fully trained about how to book Alaska Airlines awards, so be prepared to HUCA (hang up, call again).

Use AMEX Pay With Points to Avoid Blackout Dates

Instead of transferring AMEX Membership Rewards points to airline partners, you can redeem points for airfare using Pay With Points through the Membership Rewards travel portal.

When you use your AMEX Membership Rewards points towards air travel, you’ll get 1 cent per point towards your ticket.  And folks with The Business Platinum® Card from American Express can get a 35% points rebate using the Pay With Points.  You’ll get:

  • 35% of your points back for ALL First Class or Business Class flights booked through the AMEX travel portal
  • 35% of your points back for all flights, including coach tickets, booked with your selected airline through the AMEX travel portal

This can come in handy if you’re looking to avoid award flight blackout dates and is only one of a number of great benefits that the AMEX Business Platinum Card comes with.

For example, we searched the AMEX Travel Portal and found a one-way flight from Los Angeles to Kauai on a holiday weekend, when available award seats may be hard to find.

This flight costs $461 or ~46,100 AMEX Membership Rewards points.

AMEX Membership Rewards Points For Hawaii Flights
Redeem AMEX Membership Rewards Points for Paid Flights at a Rate of 1 Cent per Point – Without Blackout Dates

Depending on the paid price of the flight, this method could require a lot more points than transferring points to a partner airline for an award flight.  But it might be the only option for peak travel dates, like holiday weekends.

Bottom Line

You can use AMEX Membership Rewards points to book award flights on all 5 major US airlines that currently fly to Hawaii.  This includes Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines.

The best transfer partner depends on which airline has available award seats and the airline options you have from your home airport.

You’ll get the best deals by redeeming Singapore Airlines miles for United Airlines coach or Business Class award flights to Hawaii.  Or by using British Airways Avios points to book flights from the West Coast to Hawaii on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines.

During busy travel times (like holidays), you can also use AMEX Pay With Points through the Membership Rewards travel portal to book paid airfare to Hawaii.  You’ll get 1 cent per point towards your ticket on most AMEX cards.  But with the AMEX Business Platinum, you’ll get a 35% points rebate on all First or Business Class flights, or coach flights on your selected airline.

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The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

The Business Platinum® Card from American Express

  • Welcome Offer: Earn up to 75,000 Membership Rewards® points.
  • Earn 50,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $10,000 and an extra 25,000 points after you spend an additional $10,000 all on qualifying purchases within your first 3 months of Card Membership.†
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com.
  • Get 50% more Membership Rewards® points. That's 1.5 points per dollar, on each eligible purchase of $5,000 or more. You can get up to 1 million additional points per year.
  • 35% Airline Bonus: Use Membership Rewards® Pay with Points for all or part of a flight with your selected qualifying airline, and you can get 35% of the points back, up to 500,000 bonus points per calendar year.
  • You can also receive 35% points back on all First and Business class flights, with all airlines available through American Express Travel.
  • You can enjoy access to The American Express Global Lounge Collection℠ offering access to the most lounges across the globe, when compared with other U.S. credit card offerings. As of 11/2017
  • Terms Apply
  • See Rates & Fees

More Info

Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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