20k Avios or 25k Delta + $320 Delta visit Hawaii & San Francisco from Midwest!

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It is good to have points in many programs. It affords you the ability to do all sorts of creative things when it comes to trips. Mommy Points was kind enough to text me about a fare out of SFO-OGG, that is San Francisco to Maui Hawaii, for about $300 all-in. That sounds nice, but how does one get to SFO when I am in the corn fields of the midwest? Well look what we can do. I have a ton of British Airlines Avios points that I have yet to spend to go to Sweden or Europe due to the tax that the British government charges to land/depart on their island. But, we know you can use them with their partner, American Airlines, at good rates. To fly all the way from ORD-OGG will cost 45k round trip in coach on BA via AA and dates are somewhat hard to find. But, to fly from ORD-SFO is just 20k round trip and dates are not very hard to find. So check this out:

I could use my BA Avios as you can see above to fly to SFO. Spend a few days in this beautiful city. Check out fisherman’s wharf and maybe do a helicopter tour over Alcatraz (I have done both btw). Or, I could use 25k Delta to fly as well since it is very hard to find seats to Hawaii and it would cost at least 40k each round trip at low level!

Then, look what Delta has to offer if we want to go ahead and buy a ticket the rest of the way from the west coast to earn some RDM’s & MQM’s:

I could grab a triple connect on the way out to earn max MQM’s, and double on the way back, and for just about $300 all in visit Maui! Earning almost 7000 MQM’s and 14,000 RDM’s with Delta is possible on this trip and you can too if you have GM+ status! To me, that is worth at the very least $140! So can we see the value here?

This also requires us to think outside of the box a bit and I am finding similar  prices even in Jan and Feb 2013!  We need to think: OK, I see A-B is offered, but how do I get to A when I live in C? To be flexible in our vacations and say, why just go to one city when we can have fun in two. To collect air, hotel and car points in every program so we can put together a fun dream trip that would cost maybe $5000 for almost nothing. This is the real power of points if we are willing to do the work. Never think the frequent flyer game we play is simple and easy or everyone would do it. Learn, earn and enjoy! – René

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  1. Exactly – played with this myself this weekend (only with the UA fares) and due to the MR transfer bonus, it would cost just 15,000 MR points to position to LAX from IAH (though the LAX fares are slightly higher) or of course from DFW you have even more options. 15K MR + about $300 = Hawaii. 😉

  2. Great idea on how to approach this but I’m spoiled and would hate to fly that far in coach. Without elite status I’m struggling with this one.

  3. @DaninSTL – yeah, keep in mind with GM+ you would get many upgrades on many of the segments, but not the one to and from the islands (yeah I get that is the best part). But, if you need some MQM’s to make elite status, this is a very nice way to get them 😉

  4. If you don’t mind me asking, what is your main airport in the corn fields? I only ask because I am MSP captive

  5. Is there a reason that delta doesn’t allow free domestic upgrades for medallions to/from Hawaii?

  6. @Jason – sure, they can make more money selling those seats and since low level awards seats are almost zero, they can charge a ton of Skymiles too (if you notice a bit of attitude from me about this, you are right). But from a business standpoint I can not fault them. Still stinks and I can gripe about it just like you do! – Rene

  7. goes to show the value of being flexible. I just booked a December trip to Owahu. I was locked into the dates (because of my wife’s job)so we I paid hundreds more than if we’d been flexible. It kills me book that way. But at least I was able to utilize my status at Hilton and get into some great accomodations! 🙂

  8. Soo here’s what I’m thinking Rene… I’d love your input. A ticket from MSP-SJC is about 273 for a weekend that I would like to travel in October, and I’d like to use that as a positioning flight (after driving SJC-SFO of course) for my SFO-HNL trip. But I could also use 25000 Skymiles to go MSP-SJC, but I don’t find that to be a particularly good use of my skymiles… OR! Why not buy a refundable ticket using pay with miles, cancel a few days later and then use the resulting voucher to purchase my MSP-SJC ticket that also earns me miles?


  9. My husband and I are big fans of using the miles I accumulate through my job for trips from ATL to Hawaii. At 40K, it’s the best bang for your Skymiles buck. This year, we could not find a 40K flight to Hawaii for the entire 330 days that you see on the awards calendar. However, with a little sleuthing (okay it took me about three hours total to make it all work), I searched for 40K flights from the west coast and then matching 25K flights from ATL to those locations on coordinating dates, making notes of the ‘cheap’ flight times. Once I strung together the legs on my calendar, I put them into the Award booking engine as the four separate segments in a multi-leg configuration, and BAM, 40K + $10 flights to Hawaii! It was definately worth the work!

  10. @Karen – you have learned the lessons well. We should all understand what Karen did. Also, if we can not make the multi-leg hold correctly, we can hold them in one way segments and call Delta to make it all work! – Txs again Karen, Rene

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