Continuing our winter pro tips for award travel to warm destinations, today we cover United travel to Hawaii at a discount using AMEX MR as well as Chase UR and Citi TY. United flies to both Honolulu and Maui from a large number of U.S. cities:
To Honolulu: from Chicago, Denver, Houston, Los Angeles, Newark, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.
To Maui: Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco
To: Lihue and Kona from Los Angeles and San Francisco
Star Alliance partners have access to United’s “Saver Award” space, and Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer program, which is a transfer partner of AMEX Membership Rewards, Chase UltimateRewards, and Citi ThankYou points, is an attractive alternative to using United’s own miles.
Cheaper Award Prices
While United charges 45,000 and 80,000 for a roundtrip ticket from mainland U.S. to Hawaii, take a look at Singapore Airlines’ award chart:
Singapore Airlines charges 35,000 and 60,000 KrisFlyer miles for Economy and Business class, respectively. Now, some people value AMEX MR points higher than United miles, but this still amounts to a pretty hefty savings!
Singapore Airlines allows one-way redemptions at half the round-trip price (some carriers are excluded, but United is not one of them). If you book a round-trip ticket, you are also allowed one open-jaw and one stopover. You can purchase a second stopover for $100.
For example, you can fly from New York to Honolulu, and stop in Houston on your way back, all for 35,000 KrisFlyer miles in Economy, or 60,000 KrisFlyer miles in Business/domestic First Class.
Singapore does not collect fuel surcharges for travel on United flights.
These tickets must be booked over the phone and you will not be granted Singapore Airlines’ 15% online booking discount. On the upside, Singapore Airlines does not charge a fee for telephone bookings.
For any changes made to your ticket, Singapore Airlines charges a $20 change fee. If you wish to cancel the ticket and redeposit the miles, there is a $30 cancellation fee. Any changes within 24 hours of departure time will result in a $75 close-in change fee. All of these fees are much lower than what United would charge, unless you are an elite member with them. Remember – Once you move miles from AMEX, Chase, or Citi to Singapore, you cannot move them back.