It’s days like these when I wish I lived on the West Coast! I know that those who live on the West Coast get round trip fares to Hawaii around the $300 mark with some regularity, but it still strikes me as amazing being able to fly to Hawaii for $299. Here in the middle of the country we can barely get to the other side of the lower 48 for $299, so seeing transcontinental flights, or flights to Hawaii for less than we have to pay to basically get out of the great state of Texas, makes me a bit green with envy. However, don’t let my slight case of jealousy cause you to miss out on a pretty solid Hawaii deal.
Here is an example of some dates in October that are $299 from San Francisco to Maui and back. The $299 fares are good through mid-December with some dates at $331 valid through mid-March. I’m also seeing fares around that price from Portland, San Jose, and San Diego to a variety of Hawaiian islands.
According to this Flyertalk thread, Delta’s prices on some routes are at about the same price. With prices that affordable, it really wouldn’t make sense to use miles unless you were in dire need of a Hawaiian getaway, but didn’t have the cash for the flights. For an economy award ticket using United miles, it would cost 40,000 miles round trip for the flight. With fares at $300, that would mean you were getting less than one cent per mile value, and that is a terrible redemption value. You would do better just redeeming for gift cards or cash back at that rate. Even if you were just using 25,000 Avios from the West Coast to Hawaii or 35,000 KrisFlyer miles to fly on United (transferred from Membership Rewards), you would still be hovering around the 1 cent per mile redemption value.
I can guarantee if I could get from my home airport to Maui and back for $299 I’d be all over it!
Of course, if you are a United flyer, you will be purchasing these fares without being able to see the “Expert Mode” upgrade inventory as it had previously existed until last night. Though, as Frequently Flying points out, there is still a way to see which flights have R availability.