While booking your flights before the holiday rush is always best, you can still book a last-minute bargain trip to Hawaii on miles. Delta Air Lines and United Airlines are both offering deals right now for last-minute trips.
With these deals, you can spend as little as 32,800 miles, or $397, on round-trip flights to Hawaii; this is a steal given that flights to Hawaii can cost thousands of dollars during the holiday season.
Remember that to access the best deals for miles with United, you need to have Premier elite status or a cobranded credit card. Delta doesn’t require status to access its discounts on mileage redemptions.
Airlines: Delta and United.
Routes: Denver, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco and other Delta and United hubs have discounted routes based on awards if you’re a United Premier member or own a United cobranded card. You don’t need to have any awards status to access the deal for Delta.
How to book: Directly on Delta.com or the United.com websites.
Travel dates: The week of December 26.
Book by: ASAP.
To maximize awards, you’ll have to play around with dates and times for United and Delta. We found the days following Christmas had some of the best deals for miles; Delta has one-way flights for as low as 13,000 miles and United has one-way flights for as low as 20,400 miles.
One of the flights we found with the lowest mileage cost was a Delta round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Kahului, Hawaii. It totaled 35,000 miles for a trip from Dec. 27 to Jan. 5. A Dec. 27 flight from Los Angeles to Kahului, Hawaii, was 13,000 Delta SkyMiles, and a Jan. 5 returning flight from Kahului, Hawaii, was 22,000 miles.
You can either book each flight individually as a one-way trip or a round-trip journey since miles add up to 35,000 no matter if you book it as a roundtrip or as two one-ways. A flight at 35,000 miles is a relative bargain since cash prices for Delta flights to Kahului, Hawaii, start at $654 on the same dates.
The best deals on United miles only apply if you have Premier status or a cobranded credit card. If you’re booking with United, we recommend searching for one-way flights in order to get a better sense of your options.
For a trip from San Francisco to Honolulu, United has flights for as low as 18,500 miles on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31. If you’re looking to spend as few miles as possible, the best date for a return flight to San Francisco would be Jan. 11, when flights are only 14,300 miles.
This round-trip journey totals 32,800 miles. If you were to book with cash, you’d spend at least $406 on a round-trip fare.
United also has other one-way options for maximizing your miles. For example, you can get one-way flights to Honolulu from Newark and Seattle for as few as 24,200 miles.
Maximize your purchase
Make sure to use cards that earn bonus points on airfare purchases like The Platinum Card® from American Express (5 points per dollar on airfare booked directly with the airline or through American Express Travel), on up to $500,000 on these purchases per calendar year, Citi Prestige® Card (5 points per dollar on airfare), Citi Premier® Card, Chase Sapphire Reserve (3 points per dollar on airfare), American Express® Gold Card (3 points per dollar on airfare when booked directly with the airline or through Amex Travel) or the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card (2 points per dollar on travel). Check out this post for more on maximizing airfare purchases.
The information for the Citi Prestige Card has been collected independently by The Points Guy. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.
If you’re looking to fit in a last-minute vacation, this deal is for you — especially if you have United status or Delta SkyMiles you’ve been hoping to use. If you book your trips with miles, you’ll receive a slight discount on airfare compared to when you book with cash.
Delta offers a far more hefty discount with its miles compared to United, but both are still worth booking — especially given that flights to Hawaii are expensive during this time of the year.