Virgin America is currently having a 40% transfer bonus from American Express Membership Rewards. AMEX MR points normally transfer at a 2:1 rate, but until September 30, 2013 they will transfer at a 200 to 140 rate. Virgin America partners with Hawaiian Airlines, so you are able to book cheap Hawaiian award tickets with Virgin America Elevate points.
Virgin America charges the following from the west coast to Honolulu on Hawaiian air:
- 12,000 Elevate points one-way or 17,200 AMEX Membership Rewards points after 40% bonus.
- 20,000 Elevate points roundtrip or 28,600 MR after 40% bonus.
Another great deal are inter-hawaiian flights at 3,000 Elevate points after 30% bonus or 4,400 MR points. Here is their award chart for reference.
Virgin America charges the same amount from Honolulu to Papeete, French Polynesia. However, Hawaiian only flies to PPT on Saturdays and from PPT on Sundays. This is probably one of the best deals to get to French Polynesia if it fits your schedule!
Why Not Use Avios?
Using Avios for AA flights is still the best deal economically wise to fly from west coast to Hawaii at 12,500 miles one-way. However, from my personal booking experience it is also the hardest to find availability. Spring break and summer of 2014 already has very limited availability on AA.com.
Also, Hawaiian Airlines is the best airlines to fly to Hawaii, so paying a few more points might be worth it to most people.
The trick to booking a successful trip to Hawaii is diversification in points and miles. By having United, AMEX Membership Rewards, and Avios, you can have 3 different ways to get to and from Hawaii. I’ve had to use United miles one-way from Los Angeles to Maui because I could not find Avios availability anywhere close to my ideal date. Therefore, your dates become more flexibility especially when traveling during a popular time like summer. Here are the other possible Hawaii options to recap (one-way):
- 12,500 Avios from west cost to Hawaii (more if from other areas in US)
- 17,500 Singapore Airline miles on United to Hawaii
- 17,500 Hawaiian miles if you have Hawaiian credit card and 20,000 Hawaiian miles if you do not have the credit card.
- 20,000 United Airline miles from anywhere in US to Hawaii.
How to Book Cheap Hawaiian Award Tickets with Virgin America
Call 877.359.8474 to book your ticket. You can check for availability first on either Expertflyer.com or Hawaiianairlines.com. I called Virgin America and was able to put an award on hold for 3 days and they also charge no phone booking fees. It was weird that they couldn’t give me a confirmation number or anything though. Virgin America transfers should be instant, but could take up to 72 hours.
Consider booking cheap Hawaiian Award tickets with Virgin America Elevate points. This is another way to use up your AMEX Membership Rewards points. Hawaii is one of my favorite places in the world and getting to and from Hawaii should be easy with all the different options out there.