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Hawaii is a popular vacation destination but it is expensive to get there, especially if you don’t live on the West Coast. Fortunately with points and miles we can get to any Hawaiian islands almost free! There are a few tricks for booking award flights to Hawaii, if your goal is to use the least amount of miles for your flights. We have written in the past about the best ways to book awards to Hawaii on Delta, Alaska and American Airlines. With this week’s announcement of United MileagePlus awards devaluation, United awards to Hawaii will be more expensive after November 1, 2017. In this post, we will show you how to book United awards to Hawaii, for as much as 40% off.
United non-stop routes to Hawaii
In June, United Airlines announced major expansion on 11 routes from mainland USA to Hawaii, as well as upgrading premium cabin services to Hawaii. That was definitely welcome news, especially if you live on the east cost and want to book the 10+ hour flight in United’s premium class with lie-flat seats.
United provides non-stop services to all major airports in Hawaii:
- Honolulu (HNL) – Chicago, Denver, Guam, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington-Dulles
- Maui (OOG) – Chicago, Denver, San Francisco, Los Angeles
- Kauai (LIH) – Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
- Big Island (KOA) – Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
- Big Island (ITO) – Los Angeles
To find United awards to Hawaii, you can search on United website. It is best to search each direction separately to see availability around your desired date. As of now, economy awards are plenty, but first class awards are nearly non-existent. Award price using United miles is 22,500 one-way in economy and 40,000 one-way in business class.
But starting November 1, 2017, while economy saver award will not change, one-way first class saver award will increase from 40,000 United miles currently to 50,000 miles!
Save up to 40% on United awards to Hawaii with Singapore Krisflyer
You can book the above United awards to Hawaii with Singapore Airlines’ Krisflyer program, and at a much cheaper cost too:
- Economy award: 17,500 Krisflyer miles, vs 22,500 United miles, a saving of 5,000 miles or 22%;
- Business class award: 30,000 Krisflyer miles, vs 40,000 United miles currently, or 50,000 miles starting November 1, a saving of 20,000 miles, or 40%!
- First class award: 40,000 Krisflyer miles, vs 50,000 United miles currently, or 50,000 miles starting November 1, a saving of 37.5%.
That is a huge difference, especially if you are booking business or first class award! Instead of using 100,000 United miles round-trip after November 1, you can spend just 60,000 Krisflyer miles, for the exact same flights!
But what is the catch? There really isn’t one! Singapore Airlines (and all other Star Alliance airlines) have the same access to the saver award space United releases to its members (except for the certain spaces that United set aside for its elite members or holders of United Airlines credit cards). Here are a few points to keep in mind:
- When searching for United awards to Hawaii, be sure NOT to log into your United account if you plan to book using Krisflyer miles.
- When you are ready to book, call Singapore Airlines North America Call center at 800-742-3333. The center is opened 24 hours.
- Provide the agent details of the flight you want to book (i.e. flight number, travel date, departure and destination) to speed up the process.
- Be sure to use a credit card without foreign transaction fees as the award taxes and fees are charged in Singapore dollars.
United First Class to Hawaii: Two vs. Three Cabins
The new United award chart shows three level awards to Hawaii – economy, business, and first class. But very rarely you will find a three-cabin plane on a United flight to Hawaii.
Majority of United’s domestic flights (including flights to Hawaii) have only two cabins and are sold as Economy and First. And for two-cabin flights including those with lie-flat seats, the premium class awards are usually priced as business class award by both United and Singapore. Very rarely, you will find a three-cabin plane on a domestic route. United will charge 50,000 miles (or 55,000 miles starting November 1) if any of the segment is in first class on a three-cabin plane, while Singapore Airlines will charge 40,000 miles.
My advice? stick to the two-cabin planes with lie-flat seats since it would only cost you 30,000 Krisflyer miles.
Using Singapore Krisflyer miles instead of United miles to book United awards to Hawaii can save you as much as 40%. Not only you pay fewer miles, you also pay less fees as Singapore doesn’t charge close-in booking fee, and only $30 for changes or cancellations.
Singapore Krisflyer miles are very easy to accumulate! It is a transfer partner with all four flexible rewards programs including Amex, Citi, Chase and SPG. But transfer is not instant and varies by program. From my experience, it takes anywhere between 24 hours to 3 days for the points to post into Krisflyer account.
Next time you plan to book United awards to Hawaii, consider booking your trip through Singapore Airlines!