I decided early on this year that I wanted to go to Hawaii over the winter holidays. So this week I began looking for flight options. I thought I’d use a frequent flyer ticket, but just wasn’t finding anything that fit my schedule.
I wanted to go to Hawaii around December 16th (with some flexibility on the outbound) and had to return on January 1st. I found some pretty pricey one-way award tickets – upwards of 80,000 points. I also found a few round-trip award tickets that were very pricey – upwards of 160,000 points on various airlines.
I thought about giving up on Hawaii and using 120k miles to fly to Asia again. But then I started looking on Hawaiian Airlines and found some interesting options. Pricing out a trip from New York and Washington DC proved to be more expensive than I wanted (in first class.) They came out around $4000 round trip. Coach fares are extremely reasonable – but I have no status and no chances of upgrade. Then I started playing around with departure cities and found a $1700 fare from Phoenix to Oahu round trip in first tax including all taxes and fees. That’s a good deal compared to what the frequent flyer tickets would have cost.
Next I started looking for good fares from Charleston, Washington DC, Charlotte and Atlanta to Phoenix. I ended up finding a flight from Charleston connecting in Houston and arriving in Phoenix for $219 including all fees and taxes. Given my status, I should get upgraded to first on those flights. This trip will earn me 4422 miles.
So all in I’ve spent $1919 to fly from Charleston, SC to Hawaii. The most significant portion of the trip – Phoenix to Hawaii – will be in first class. So all in all I will earn 8,053 miles including first class bonus.
Over the next few days I’ll show you how I plan to spend 17 days in Hawaii, what I will use cash for and what I’ll use points for.
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