Sweet spot: US West Coast to Hawaii with Avios

Posted bywp_12122045 Posted onMay 18, 2023 Comments0

Hawaii continues to be a TPG reader favorite with gorgeous natural scenery, friendly people and lots to do. The volcanic island chain in the Pacific Ocean offers famous beaches, rainforests and mountains, but Hawaii also provides outdoor enthusiasts with exciting surfing, hiking and snorkeling activities. Whether you want to unwind on the shore, experience the local traditions or explore nature, Hawaii is a fantastic destination that caters to all.

Lucky for readers, Hawaii happens to be one of the best sweet spots in award travel. You can fly there from the West Coast for as little as 13,000 points or miles one-way if you’ve got any of the following currencies:

Why it’s special


The British Airways Executive Club offers one of the cheapest ways to get to Hawaii using points and miles. The carrier’s distance- and segment-based award chart prices nonstop economy flights between 2,001 and 3,000 miles at just 13,000 Avios. On nonstop domestic U.S. award flights (including those between the West Coast and Hawaii) the taxes and fees are just $5.60 each way.

When you book these flights with Avios, you’ll fly on British Airways partners American Airlines and Alaska Airlines. As a reference, these programs generally charge the following for the same routes:

  • American Airlines — 20,000-plus miles.
  • Alaska Airlines — 15,000-plus miles.

Tickets to Hawaii frequently sell for $260 or more per person, so you shouldn’t have a problem getting outsized value for your rewards. When redeeming 13,000 Avios, you should average a value of 2 cents each. That’s a solid 33% more value than TPG’s valuation of Avios.

Related: These are the best ways to redeem 100,000 British Airways Avios

How to book this award

American Airlines and Alaska Airlines offer a handful of routes to the four main Hawaiian islands — though some are seasonal. Here are the nonstop routes under 3,000 miles that you can book for 13,000 Avios each way in economy class:

Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) Maui’s Kahului Airport (OGG) Kauai’s Lihue Airport (LIH) Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole (KOA)
 Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport (ANC). Alaska. Alaska. N/A. Alaska
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Alaska and American. Alaska and American. American. American.
Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) American. American. American. American.
Portland International Airport (PDX) Alaska. Alaska. Alaska. Alaska.
San Diego International Airport (SAN) Alaska. Alaska. Alaska. Alaska.
San Francisco International Airport (SFO) Alaska. Alaska. N/A. N/A.
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) Alaska. Alaska. Alaska. Alaska.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) Alaska. Alaska. Alaska. Alaska.

Related: How to get to Hawaii: Fly nonstop from 27 mainland U.S. cities

You can search and book American- and Alaska-operated awards on the British Airways website. Here’s how to do it:

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Step 1. Log in to the British Airways site

Sign in to your British Airways account and hover over the “Book” tab at the top. This is where you’ll find “Book a flight with Avios.”


Step 2. Enter your travel details

Enter your origin and destination according to the eligible routes outlined above. For this example, we’ll search from Los Angeles to Honolulu.


Step 3. Select your ideal flight

Hopefully, you’re staring at loads of availability for your desired date. If you can’t find any, you can head to the American or Alaska Airlines website and look for saver availability in a monthly calendar view, then return to the British Airways site once you find dates that work for you.


Related: The best websites for searching Oneworld award availability

Step 4. Click ‘Continue’ to pay for your flights

You’ll now see flight details and an award cost of 13,000 Avios plus $5.60. Click “Continue” to move forward with booking your award.


This exact flight costs 20,000 AAdvantage miles and $5.60. You could save 14,000 miles round-trip by booking through British Airways.


The Alaska-operated flight requires 22,500 AAdvantage miles — or 16,000 Alaska Mileage Plan miles.


But it’s not just the pricing that makes this such a great award option. It’s also because how accessible Avios are for a large number of U.S. travelers.

Related: How to book award flights using British Airways Avios

How to earn points for this award

A major reason this award is a sweet spot is because of how truly effortless it is to earn British Airways Avios. You can transfer the following flexible currencies to British Airways:

You can also transfer Qatar Airways Avios to British Airways at a 1:1 ratio. This is an important detail because Qatar is a transfer partner of Citi ThankYou points. Therefore, Citi ThankYou is a 1:1 transfer partner of British Airways by proxy.

Related: Why Qatar’s switch to Avios is huge news for Citi ThankYou points

There are plenty of cards that earn these types of points, such as:

On the other hand, American AAdvantage only partners with Bilt Rewards for transfer purposes, while Alaska isn’t a part of any transferable program.

In other words, you’re getting both a better price and a wider variety of opportunities to earn the rewards you need for the ticket.

Related: Here’s why you should care about British Airways Avios

Bottom line

Hawaii is about as international as you can get without leaving the country, and a stash of British Airways Avios is one of the best ways to get there for (nearly) free. You can even fly an open jaw to see two (or more) Hawaiian islands when using British Airways Avios since there’s no pricing advantage to booking a round-trip award with this sweet spot.

Just be sure to check cash rates before you book. Sometimes airlines publish flash sales that make booking through the Chase travel portal a better deal. If you’re unsure how to decide, check out our post on when to book travel through Chase and when to transfer points.

Additional reporting by Sarah Hostetler and Kyle Olsen.


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