Best options for first class awards to Hawaii

If you’d like to fly first class to Hawaii (who wouldn’t?), it is often possible to pay fewer miles by booking with foreign carrier miles.  Below you’ll find business/first class award prices for AA, Alaska, Delta, Hawaiian Airlines, and United; along with the best options for using partner miles with each of them, and quick tips for how to get those miles.

Keep in mind that in all cases you’ll have to find saver level award space on the airline you want to fly before you can book that flight with a partner airline’s miles.

Also note that while all of these carriers except Alaska offer flat bed seats in business class on certain routes, it is extremely rare to find saver level awards on those flights.  Instead, you’re much more likely to find first class award space with standard domestic first class.  In other words, you’ll get a bigger seat and better service than in coach, but don’t expect luxury.

See also: Best options for domestic first class awards.

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

Fly AA Business or First Class to Hawaii

American Airlines charges 40K one-way for 2-cabin first class, or 47.5K one-way for 3-cabin business class.

Best miles to use for flying AA first class:

  • AA miles: 40K one-way for 2-cabin first class, or 47.5K one-way for 3-cabin business class.
  • Etihad Guest miles: 37.5K one-way for business / first class. 47.5.5K one-way for “Premium” (note: I’m not sure if premium in this case means transcon business class or 3 cabin first class. My guess is the latter). Etihad’s award chart for flying AA can be found here.
  • Alaska Airlines miles: 40K one-way for business / first class.
  • JAL (Japan Airlines Mileage Bank): 60K to 80K round-trip depending upon flight distance. Click here to view their partner award chart.

My take: There are no great alternatives to using AA miles for first class American Airlines flights to Hawaii.  Etihad offers slightly cheaper awards, but at the expense of a lot of likely frustration in the booking process.  And there are more valuable uses for Alaska Airlines and JAL miles, so I’d only recommend using these if you don’t have enough AA or Etihad miles.

How to get the miles:

See also: Top 10 shortcuts to earning SPG points; Amassing Membership Rewards.

AA Booking Tip:

Before trying to book with a foreign carrier’s miles, look for business/first class award space on AA.com.  Look specifically for Business/First MileSAAver award space:

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

Fly Alaska First Class to Hawaii

Virgin America first class. Alaska has taken over, but you may still find seating similar to this on routes featuring Airbus aircraft

Now that Alaska has taken over Virgin America, they have a better selection of flights to Hawaii than before.  Alaska charges 40K one-way for 2-cabin first class (which is all that they currently offer).

Best miles to use for flying Alaska first class:

  • Air France (only through April 30 2018): 30K one-way
  • Korean Air: 60K round-trip
  • American Airlines: 40K one-way
  • Alaska: 40K one-way

My take: Overall, Air France is the way to go, but their partnership with Alaska is expected to end on April 30 2018.  For round trip travel, Korean Air’s award prices are very good but you’ll have to find award space in both directions.  After that, I’d go with AA miles ahead of Alaska miles simply because Alaska miles can often be used towards even better value.

How to get the miles:

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

Fly Delta Business or First Class to Hawaii

Delta First Class Dining

Delta no longer publishes an award chart, so the best you can do to find their award pricing is use Delta’s award calendar to try to find the best rates.   At the time of this writing I’ve found that Delta first class awards to Hawaii start at 55K one-way.

Best miles to use for flying Delta first class:

My take: For round trip travel Korean Air’s award prices are incredible, but good luck finding round-trip award space on Delta.  For one-way awards, Air France is the way to go.  One caution: some people have run into issues with Air France when they opened an account and immediately transferred points in to book an award. I recommend opening your Air France account well in advance of any point transfers or bookings.

Flat bed routes (verify that your flight has flat bed seating in first by searching delta.com, and look for the flat bed seat icon):

  • Atlanta (ATL) – Honolulu (HNL)
  • Minneapolis (MSP) – Honolulu (HNL)
  • Los Angeles (LAX) – Honolulu (HNL)
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) – Honolulu (HNL) [Seasonal]
  • Salt Lake City (SLC) – Maui (OGG) [Seasonal]
  • New York Kennedy (JFK) – Honolulu (HNL) [Seasonal]

How to get the miles:

See also: Top 10 shortcuts to earning SPG points; Amassing Membership Rewards; Amassing Ultimate Rewards.

Delta Booking Tip:

Delta.com is not a reliable option for finding saver award space bookable with partner miles. The best option (even though it’s buggy) is to search for awards through Air France’s website.  Log into your Air France account, then click “PURCHASE AN AWARD TICKET WITH YOUR MILES.”  Enter the details of your desired trip and make sure to check the box “You are looking for a flight around these dates.” Select the class of service you desire (e.g. “business” for Delta first/business class), then click “Find a Flight”.  If Air France finds any available award flights, they’ll show a calendar of award prices.  Look for those marked “lowest fare”.

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

Fly Hawaiian Airlines First Class to Hawaii

Hawaiian Airlines flies their new first class (pictured above) on Airbus A330 aircraft.  Hawaiian Airlines charges 40,000 miles one-way for first / business class saver awards between North America and Hawaii.

Best miles to use for flying Hawaiian Airlines first class:

  • Hawaiian Airlines: 40K one-way
  • Korean Air: 60K roundtrip. More for extra segments.
  • Virgin Atlantic: 40K one-way between the west coast and Hawaii.  65K one-way from the east coast.
  • JetBlue: 45K one-way to/from the west coast, or 70K one-way to/from the east coast

My take: Hawaiian Airlines miles tend to be significantly less valuable than most other airline miles.  I’d use up those miles if I had them.  Plus I’ve heard that Hawaiian releases more saver level award space to their own members than to partners (I haven’t confirmed this).

Note that Hawaiian airline partners with other airlines (such as AA, ANA, Delta, and United), but miles in those programs can only be used for inter-island flights.

Flat bed routes (verify by searching flights online at hawaiianairlines.com and look for the words “Lie-Flat Seats” under the first class price):

To/From Honolulu (HNL):

  • Las Vegas (LAS)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • New York (JFK)
  • San Diego (SAN)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

To/From Maui (OGG):

  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle (SEA)

How to get the miles:

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

Fly United Business or First Class to Hawaii

United charges 40K one-way for business class or 2-cabin first class (or 50K one-way for flights between Hawaii and Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston Intercontinental, New York/Newark or Washington Dulles).

Best miles to use for flying United Airlines first class:

  • Singapore: 30K one-way
  • ANA: 64K round-trip
  • Lufthansa Miles & More: 35K one-way
  • Avianca: 40K one-way
  • Aeroplan (Air Canada): 40K one-way
  • United: 40K one-way for business class or 2-cabin first class (or 50K one-way for flights between Hawaii and Chicago O’Hare, Denver, Houston Intercontinental, New York/Newark or Washington Dulles).

My take: Singapore Airlines miles are the way to go, and you can now book United awards online at singaporeair.com!

How to get the miles:

See also: Top 10 shortcuts to earning SPG points; Amassing Membership Rewards; Amassing Ultimate Rewards.

United Booking Tip:

Before trying to book with a foreign carrier’s miles (especially when they don’t let you book United flights online), look for business/first class award space on United.com without logging in.  Look for First Saver Award space (or Business Saver Award space on a 3 cabin flight) that looks like this:

Jump To: Fly AA, Fly Alaska, Fly Delta, Fly Hawaiian, Fly United

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