Hawaii Award Booking – How To Save 130,000 Delta SkyMiles

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Award booking is back on in a big way here at Points, Miles & Martinis. After our monster day of flight award and hotel award bookings, I started to think about what was holding me back from using the rest of my points and miles. The fact that Baby Weekly Flyer’s first flight was a success is no longer a factor. But we knew the biggest challenge would be our ability to find low level award availability, especially for a trip back to Hawaii.

Ultimately our booking strategy and itinerary puls save us over 130,000 miles. We’ll illustrate our approach in this post with a step by step process.

Delta First Class Award- Too Many Miles

The first thing I did was look for low availability using Delta SkyMiles. But I couldn’t find a day in three months where low availability worked for our dates and preferred seats.

Our options to Hawaii on Delta would require 135,000 Delta SkyMiles at the mid level.

We would have to get creative in order to save miles on this award booking.

How You Can Save 130,000 SkyMiles

Since we have a big stash of miles and points to work with, we decided to look around at other options to mix and match an award that would work for us.

Our first leg flight could get us to Los Angeles on Delta using First Class awards at the low level. This is often a very difficult award to get on Delta for the days you’d like, so be sure to plan ahead and remain flexible on routing. The low level flight to Los Angeles in First Class only requires 45,000 Delta SkyMiles.

We saw that American Airlines had low level award availability from Los Angeles to Hawaii. So we fired up British Airways and verified we could use only 25,000 for Economy Class for a total of 50,000 Avios Points for two tickets.

Final Routing

The final itinerary to save miles would be to fly to Los Angeles on Delta in First Class for only 45,000 miles. Then, hop on an American Airlines Economy Class seat flight using British Airways Avios points for only 25,000 points per person. The total amount of miles per person to fly to Hawaii in First Class and Economy Class is only 70,000 miles instead of the 135,000 that Delta was asking.

Bottom Line

Awards can be booked all the way to Hawaii with SkyMiles in Business Class at the low level, but the are very hard to find. For better luck, try adding in Delta’s partner Alaska Airlines. As always, remain flexible and consider multiple awards, even in other classes, to help you minimize the amount of miles you spend and maximize your award travel value.

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About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. wasnt the 135K miles for first-class seating? Given that your current itinerary is in Y for the most part, I am not clear how this is a fair comparison (to arrive at the savings you quote).

  2. Cant you argue that you’ll save 50% off if you travel economy versus first? I think this is misleading.

  3. Yes. Wouldn’t the better comparison be whether low level in economy was available on delta or how much it would take to travel in first class with Avila.

  4. People are always touting AA and dumping on Delta but in the half dozen or so times I have compared AA to Delta I have always found AA to be more expensive points wise as FFI points out!!!

  5. Avios:
    ATL-LAX = 1946 mi = 10K/20K Y/F Avios
    LAX-HNL = 2556 mi = 12.5K/25K Y/F Avios

    ATL-LAX-HNL in domestic F is 45K Avios O/W or 90K R/T.

  6. I am not understanding this either. It seems you are comparing apples to oranges and calling them all apples. I am flying a AA round trip to Hawaii from CMH first class for 75,000 AA miles a person MilesAAver Peak. Looks like for my same dates first class it is the same 135,00 Delta Points you noted that might be a better comparision however I choose my dates around AA MilesAAver availability so the comparision still isnt fair to Delta.

  7. To clarify…

    The Original Routing / Price:

    Delta First to Hawaii – 135k in First at mid level

    New Routing / Price To Save Miles:

    Fly Coach From LAX Instead.
    1) Delta First to Los Angeles – 45k in First at low level
    2) British Airways Avios – 25k in coach to Hawaii from Los Angeles
    Total miles were 70k. Savings of 65k miles per person or a total of 130k miles all together.

  8. I agree going segments on different airlines might be cheaper, but why fly coach…changing airlines also means you need a longer layover to get you bags and recheck them on another airline. A good alternative (maybe not for F to HNL) is to use points and cash if you have a DL AMEX you can pick ANY flight and pay for it with miles. It worked best for us when we lived in ATL and were flying to Cancun or Jamaica…the ticket ran about $300…finding low availability at 30-35k skymiles was hard and even if you got an award ticket you had to pay about $100 in taxes….so instead I found a $300 ticket with prime times and used pay with miles feature, it wound up costing the same miles but covered the taxes as well, and no hassles with having to settle for the limited dates at “low” milage requirements…look into it if you have many skypesos

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