Love Hawaii? Everything to Know About the NEW Way to Fly With Small Money

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In case you missed last night’s fantastic announcementSouthwest will fly to Hawaii starting in 2018!

Southwest Hawaii Flights
Start Packing Your Sunscreen! Southwest Will Begin Flights to Hawaii in 2018

This is terrific news, because more competition on this route could result in cheaper fares for everyone.  And it opens up new opportunities for folks who collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points.  Or if you have the Southwest Companion Pass!

I’ll share more about the new routes and how it can get you Big Travel with Small Money!

Southwest Hawaii Flights

After much speculation, Southwest announced last night they’ll begin flights to Hawaii in 2018!  I luv the Aloha spirit in their big reveal:


Non-stop flights will begin from West Coast cities to Hawaii in 2018, pending government approval and aircraft ETOPS (Extended Range Operation with Two-Engine Airplanes) certification for the long flight over the water.

It’s not yet clear which cities will offer Hawaii flights.  But I expect we’ll see service from airports like Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, and Seattle.  And you’ll likely be able to connect from other Southwest destinations further inland, especially their busiest airports.

Here’s why this news is so exciting!

1.   More Competition = Cheaper Fares (Even Award Flights!)

The US mainland to Hawaii is a very popular route, so prices are usually quite high relative to other flights within the US.  More competition from a low-cost airline like Southwest means other airlines will likely have to lower their fares, which makes Hawaii more accessible for everyone!

It might even result in fare wars between Southwest and other airlines that serve Hawaii, like Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, and United Airlines.  Usually, round-trip coach tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii cost ~$450 to ~$550,  so hopefully these prices will go down.

Southwest Hawaii Flights
Save Money or Points! More Competition Means Cheaper Fares (and Inexpensive Award Seats on Southwest!)

And because the price of Southwest award tickets is tied to the cash price of the ticket, you’ll likely have to spend fewer miles and points to get to the Aloha State compared to many other airlines.  For example, for a $450 round-trip ticket, you’ll pay ~31,468 to ~36,000 Southwest points ($450 cash price / 1.43 to 1.25 cents per Southwest point).

To compare, here’s what other airlines charge round-trip in coach from the US Mainland to Hawaii:

  • Alaska Airlines – 35,000 miles
  • American Airlines – 40,000 miles (off-peak), 45,000 miles (peak)
  • Delta – 45,000 miles
  • Hawaiian Airlines – 40,000 miles
  • United Airlines – 45,000 miles

That said, the cheapest way to get from the West Coast to Hawaii might still be using British Airways Avios points for partner award flights on Alaska Airlines or American Airlines.  Or redeeming Singapore Airlines miles to fly Alaska Airlines.

But the biggest advantage to using Southwest points is there are no blackout dates on award flights.  With other airlines, it’s often difficult to find available award seats to Hawaii, especially in peak season.

2.   A New Way to Redeem Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Hawaii

This news gives you more flexibility using Chase Ultimate Rewards points (my favorite transferable points program) for Hawaii flights!

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Southwest at a 1:1 ratio if you have any of the following cards:

And if you have one of the cards listed above, you can combine your points from the Chase Freedom, Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Chase Ink Business Cash Credit Card and then move them to Southwest.

Southwest Hawaii Flights
Hang Loose! You’ll Now Have Even More Ways to Use Chase Ultimate Rewards Points to Fly to Hawaii

You can also book Southwest flights through the Chase Ultimate Rewards travel portal using Chase Ultimate Rewards points (but you have to call to book).

If you have the Chase Sapphire Reserve, your points are worth 1.5 cents each toward paid travel.  Otherwise, your points are worth 1.25 cents each if you have the Chase Sapphire PreferredChase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink Business Preferred, Chase Ink Bold (no longer available), or Chase Ink Plus (no longer available).

Check out this post on how to get the most value from your Chase Ultimate Rewards points booking Southwest flights!

3.   Fly 2-for-1 to Hawaii With the Southwest Companion Pass!

The Southwest Companion Pass is already the best deal in travel.  And Southwest confirmed on Twitter that you’ll be able to use your Companion Pass on Hawaii flights, just like any other Southwest flight.

With Southwest opening up flights to Hawaii, the Companion Pass is an even sweeter deal!  Because folks with the Companion Pass can bring a friend or family member for almost free on this typically expensive flight (even on award tickets!).

Southwest Hawaii Flights
Time for a Romantic Getaway for Two! Folks With the Companion Pass Can Save Big on Hawaii Travel

I’m especially excited for folks in California who were targeted with an incredibly easy way to earn the Companion Pass.  And for those of you who got in on the increased Chase Southwest card offers to easily earn the Companion Pass through 2018 or 2019!

To qualify for the Southwest Companion Pass, you must earn 110,000 Southwest points in a calendar year.  And the sign-up bonuses from the Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Credit CardSouthwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card, and Southwest Rapid Rewards® Premier Business Credit Card all count toward the requirement.

So by signing-up for a personal and small business Chase Southwest card, you’ll be most of the way to getting the points you need for the Companion Pass.  Here’s a post on how to earn the additional points you’ll need to qualify.

Bottom Line

Southwest will begin flights to Hawaii in 2018!  This will increase competition on this popular route and hopefully drive down prices among all airlines.

Booking Southwest award flights to Hawaii will likely be a good deal, especially because there are no blackout dates and it’s often tricky finding open award seats on other airlines.

If you collect Chase Ultimate Rewards points, you’ll soon have more ways to use them for flights to Hawaii.  And folks with the Southwest Companion Pass will get more Big Travel.  Because flights to Hawaii are typically expensive compared to other domestic routes.

Are you as excited as I am about Southwest’s flights to Hawaii?

Million Mile Secrets features a team of points and miles experts who have traveled to over 80 countries and have used 60+ credit cards responsibly to accumulate loyalty points and travel the world on the cheap! The Million Mile Secrets team has been featured on The Points Guy, TIME, Yahoo Finance and many other leading points & miles media outlets.

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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