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I’m always looking for the best ways to travel to Hawaii using points. Ever since the first time I went to Hawaii and flew over the islands, I knew it was someplace special.
The drive from the airport to the hotel was magical. Everything was so green and tropical. I couldn’t wait to get to a beach, and with good reason!
Tip: For some of the best tips and tricks to save money on your next Hawaii vacation, check out this post and pin it for later!
- What is Travel Hacking?
- Should You Use Credit Cards to Travel Hack?
- The Perfect Credit Card Combination for a Hawaii Trip
- Let’s start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
- How to Search for and Book Flights to Hawaii through British Airways
- Booking Alaska Airlines Flights Through British Airways
- Step-by-Step Guide For Booking Your Hawaii Flights
- Hotel Nights
- Sample Hawaii Itinerary Using Credit Card Points
- Ready to Book Your Hawaii Trip?
- Pin this for later!
As soon as I dipped my toes into the perfect, salty, warm Pacific Ocean, I knew I’d found my new happy place!
Ever since that trip, I dreamed of going back to the lush, tropical Hawaii I had fallen in love with.
The thing was, I didn’t know how I could make it work financially.
Flights to Hawaii can cost upward of $500 per person. Factor in the cost of hotel rooms ($400+ per night!) for most resorts, and a Hawaii vacation can easily cost thousands of dollars, just in flights and hotel alone!
I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t have that kind of money just laying around, so I knew I needed to get creative!
I’d heard that it was possible to get flights and hotels on credit card points for free or super cheap, so decided to give this a try!
If you’re looking for how to plan the BEST vacation on a budget, check out the Ultimate Guide to Save Money Traveling. I cover all the tips and tricks that have helped me save money on hotels, flights, rental cars, food, and activities while I’m traveling. It’s a MASSIVE resource that you can bookmark for reference!
What is Travel Hacking?
Travel hacking is using airline miles, hotel rewards, and credit card sign-up bonuses to earn free and/or cheap flights and hotel nights.
Travel hacking maximizes your points and miles (including sign-up bonuses) to get you your dream vacation for the smallest amount of money possible.
My absolute favorite card for travel hacking is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It currently (as of 09/2019) comes with a $95 annual fee and a 60,000 point sign up bonus.
The great thing about this card is that it has a bunch of travel partners that you can transfer points to. And that points transfer capability is what makes this card so flexible and valuable.
Below I’ll walk you step-by-step on how you can get two roundtrip flights to Hawaii with this sign-up bonus alone. This is potentially worth hundreds of dollars, which makes this card worth having in my opinion!
Should You Use Credit Cards to Travel Hack?
I’m the first to admit, credit cards used to scare me! I’d heard (and seen!) the horror stories of people going into tons of credit card debt and wanted no part of that.
However, it’s not healthy to be scared of credit cards. Credit cards are helpful in building credit, and provide a lot of benefits, like fraud protection, that using a debit card does not.
If you KNOW you can’t use credit cards without overspending paying them off in FULL every month, you should not be using these to travel hack.
A free trip simply isn’t worth it if you end up stuck paying for a bunch of interest on a credit card down the line.
Having said that, I 100% believe that credit card sign up bonuses are one of the best ways to travel to Hawaii using points.
The Perfect Credit Card Combination for a Hawaii Trip
So you’re ready and excited to plan your Hawaii trip with credit card points! This is where you need to start:
Credit Cards Needed
Let’s start with the Chase Sapphire Preferred card.
As of 09/2019, the Chase Sapphire Preferred ($95 annual fee) comes with a current sign-up bonus of 60,000 points after you spend $4,000 in the first 3 months of account opening.
While this seems like a lot of money to put in a credit card, it breaks down to around $1,334 in spending every month. It’s a totally realistic sum for a family or couple (including groceries, bills, etc). Or, if you know you have a large purchase coming up, you can time it so you use that to meet the spending requirement.
In order to maximize the value of Chase points for booking flights to Hawaii, transfer them to British Airways. Why British Airways of all airlines?
Because British Airways has a partnership with both American and Alaska Airlines, allowing you to use British Airways Avios to book direct award flights on American and Alaska flights for 25,000 points for a direct, round-trip flight for FREE (plus mandatory $11.20 in taxes) from select US cities.
With just a single credit card sign-up bonus, you can get 2 round-trip flights to Hawaii for less than $25!
**Important: only direct (non-stop) flights can be booked for 25,000 miles. If your flight has a connection, they will cost more. Don’t make this mistake!**
How to Search for and Book Flights to Hawaii through British Airways
There’s a variety of ways to search for available flights that you can book with British Airways points. You can search directly on the British Airways website (my least favorite), or you can search through the Alaska or American Airlines websites (my favorite).
- Open the American Airlines booking website on one tab;
- Check the box for “redeeming miles” under “select booking type”
- Enter your travel information
- Under “Options” make sure you search by “MileSAAver” and “all airlines”
- Click Search
You should be taken to a screen that looks like this:
As you can see, American has award availability on nonstop flights from LAX to Maui to Hawaii in June 2019. The flights we want are the ones in light green, the Economy MileSAAver award. Go ahead and open the full award calendar and you’ll see the availability for the whole month – a great way to find dates that work for you!
Now that you’ve chosen your dates and confirmed award availability, go ahead and transfer your Chase points to British Airways. Once you’ve done that, head on over to the British Airways award booking website.
Search for the same dates you already know are available (through your American search) then go ahead and book the tickets. You should see a screen like this after you’ve chose your flights:
Booking Alaska Airlines Flights Through British Airways
Note that American Airlines doesn’t have direct flights to Hawaii from all California cities. In fact, in order to fly to Hawaii from the northern California cities for 25,000 points, you need to book through Alaska Airlines.
Here’s where it gets a bit tricky: you can’t actually book Alaska flights through the online British Airways portal. You have to first verify availability then call British Airways to book your flights over the phone.
There is an extra charge for booking over the phone, but you can ask for it to be waived since it’s impossible for you to book the flights online. Here’s an example of what this whole process would look like:
- Before you transfer any points to British Airways, ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS verify flight availability first.
- To verify flight availability, search for flight availability on the American Airlines website, here’s an example:
- Once you’ve verified that the flights you want are available, write down the Alaska Airlines flight number
- Transfer the needed points to British Airways
- Call British Airways and request to book an award flight
- Give the agent the flight number and all your information, and they’ll verify that there are seats available and will book the flight for you
- When the agent tells you that there’s a fee for booking via the phone, ask them to waive the fee since you couldn’t book those flights yourself online
**Don’t forget that there’s a mandatory $11.20 government fee for a round-trip award flight, there’s no getting that waived!
Step-by-Step Guide For Booking Your Hawaii Flights
- Sign up for the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, and meet the minimum spending requirement;
- Sign up for the British Airway rewards program;
- Search for available flights to Hawaii around your travel dates (the more flexible your dates, the better!)
- Transfer Chase points to British Airways
- Book your flights through British Airways
- Enjoy paradise!
I used to be a Marriott loyalist until I discovered the Hyatt property chain. Don’t get me wrong, I still love a good Marriott property and have the Marriott Bonvoy credit card. However, Hyatt hotels have become my first choice for hotel stays no matter where I’m traveling to!
The Hyatt card comes with a sign-up bonus of to 25,000 bonus points after you spend $3,000 during the first 3 months of account opening. There’s an incentive to earn an additional 25,000 bonus points after you spend $6,000 in the first 6 months of account opening (that includes the 3,000 you spend during your first 3 months).
That’s a HUGE sign-up bonus! Free Hyatt nights start at just 5,000 points per night, so you can get some great redemptions if you use those points right!
The card does come with a $95 annual free that’s not waived your first year, but it also comes with 1 free night certificate to use at certain Hyatt properties every year you keep the card open.
In Hawaii specifically, Hyatt has several properties in most of the islands where you can redeem points for free nights.
As you can see, how much value you get out of the Hyatt Credit Card sign up bonus depends on where you want to stay, but the 25,000 points alone will get you 2 free nights at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach for a $95 annual fee.
Spend enough to earn the 50,000 sign up bonus and you’ll be able to get 4 nights at the same hotel. Add in the additional 14,000 points from your Sapphire sign-up bonus, and that’s enough for one more night!
THIS is why I love this card so much. This card has a permanent place in my wallet despite the annual fee because I can get so much value out of Hyatt free nights.
Sample Hawaii Itinerary Using Credit Card Points
Using only the bonus points from (1) Chase Sapphire Preferred (64,000 points) card and the World of Hyatt credit card sign ups (50,000 points), you can do the following:
- Round-trip flight to Honolulu for two people on Alaska or American Airlines (50,000 Chase points)
- Five nights at the Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach (50,000 Hyatt points + 10,000 Sapphire points)
If you and your significant other both sign up for each card, you’ll end up with at least 128,000 Chase points and 100,000 Hyatt points which you can use for SO MUCH, including:
- Round-trip flights to Honolulu for four people on Alaska or American Airlines (100,000 Chase points), and five nights at the Hyatt Regency Kauai (100,000 Hyatt points + 25,000 Chase points)
Ready to Book Your Hawaii Trip?
Hawaii is breathtaking. If you’re itching to go to the Hawaii islands, but are balking at the prices (I know I was!) give travel hacking a try.
I’ve been travel hacking my way to free flights and hotel nights for the last couple of years, and taking vacations that I otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
Better yet, all of this is totally legit. It’s completely within the rules, you just have to put in a bit of work to get the rules to work for YOU.