Last Minute After Christmas Trip To Hawaii Part 1 – Getting There

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The daily rate for our hotel is $449 because of it being the busy Christmas season!
The daily rate for our hotel is $449 because of it being the busy Christmas season!

I just literally threw together a last minute trip to Hawaii a few minutes ago.  We are going to fly into Honolulu on December 27 and fly home on December 31.  While the trip will only be for four days, I was able to score the flights and hotel for free, so it will make for a perfect family trip.  Here is a quick breakdown of our flight to Honolulu and our hotel stay there.  I will post the flight home in a separate post since it will be used as a free one-way to start our Spring Break trip in April. (I will explain in that post what exactly the free one-way is!)

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American Airlines charges 22,500 miles to Hawaii for the same flight.

To start, the best value for direct flights to/from Hawaii to the West Coast is to use British Airways Avios.  This is a similar strategy to what we used for our flight home from Maui in June.  With this in mind, I was able to book three one-way flights from Los Angeles to Honolulu (LAX-HNL) for 12,500 plus $2.50 each.  Earlier this year Jasmine was able to get an American Express card that came with a bonus of 50,000 American Express Membership Rewards points.

Right now, American Express is running a 20% bonus on transfers of Membership Rewards to Avios.  The usual transfer rate is 1:1.  Until the end of the year it is 1:1.2.  While they have run bonuses as much as 50% in the past, something extra is better than nothing.

British Airways only charges 12,500 Avios from the west coast to Hawaii!
British Airways only charges 12,500 Avios from the west coast to Hawaii!

Here is how it worked.  I had a total of 500 Avios in my account.  This meant that I needed 37,000 Avios to reach the amount needed for the three flights.  Although the math is simple enough, the American Express website figures everything out for me.  I just simply type in the amount of Avios that I need and they tell me how many to transfer.  In this case, I needed to transfer 31,000 MR points to receive 37,200 Avios.  The best part of this is that the transfer is near instantaneous.  It took a total of two minutes and for me to logout of my Avios account and back in for everything to show up.

I input that I needed 37,000 Avios and the calculator figured out that I needed to transfer 31,000 MR to get 37,200 Avios. (They only allow transfers in increments of 1,000.)
I input that I needed 37,000 Avios and the calculator figured out that I needed to transfer 31,000 MR to get 37,200 Avios. (They only allow transfers in increments of 1,000.)

The next part of this trip is the hotel.  Once again in a similar way to our Maui trip in June, I transferred Chase Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for my booking.  The Hyatt Place Waikiki Beach has only been open about a year.  Essentially they took an older hotel and stripped it down and did a complete remodel.  This hotel gets great reviews and is only two blocks off of Waikiki.  In fact, its older sister the Hyatt Regency is supposed to be nicer, but most people prefer the Hyatt Place instead and as you can see from the first picture above, it is getting higher room rates.

The best part about this deal is that the Hyatt Place only runs 12,000 points per night or 48,000 points total for the entire stay!  With a room rate of $449 per night for the time we are going to be there, we are getting about $.04 per point which is a great value!

You can see the retail cost of each of our plane tickets was $448.
You can see the retail cost of each of our plane tickets was $448.

Since I am still working out the exact details of the return flight, I will write about that next time and show how it is setting up our Spring Break trip in April.  If you are keeping track though, just for the flight to Hawaii and the hotel we are looking at a retail price of around $3,500.  Our total cost at this point is $7.50 in taxes!

Here is the nightly cost breakdown if we were to pay cash for our hotel room!  Holy Guacamole!
Here is the nightly cost breakdown if we were to pay cash for our hotel room! Holy Guacamole!

I am feeling super blessed and am super excited for this trip.  I have long wanted to visit Honolulu and this will be Shawn Reece’s first time in Hawaii.  This means that he will have caught up to me in states visited.  Following this trip we will both only have Alaska left to go!  Thanks for being there!


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