It is rare when a deal in the airline or hotel world is valid for everyone for everywhere. Most of the deals are location specific and benefit one part of the country or world more than everyone else. There’s no way around that reality, but sometimes it makes sense to position yourself in order to get in on the deal. Determining whether or not that is worth it requires some calculating…and some creative thinking.
As I posted here, there have been some pretty solid deals to Hawaii from the West Coast available for several days now. While the United fares are of the greatest interest to me personally given my location in a United hub and quest for status, I made sure Delta Points knew about the Delta fares in case they were useful for himself or his Delta readers. He has a post up today about how those in the Mid-West (like himself) can get in on the Delta fares from the West Coast. The post made me smile as I had been thinking the same thing over the weekend about the United fares.
He recommends potentially using 25K Delta miles or 20K Avios to get from the Mid-West to San Francisco, and then spend about $300 to get to Maui. He goes on to say that,
“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!”
As you can see, this deal is not just about getting to Hawaii, but for elite flyers it is also about earning both redeemable and elite qualifying miles. This isn’t a super lucrative mileage run (especially for those who have to position), but for those who care about miles and want to go to Hawaii, it really is a good deal.
My own brainstorming this weekend had brought me to the conclusion that the best way for those that live in the middle of the country to get in on this deal would be to transfer 15,000 Membership Reward points to British Airways at a 40% bonus. This would provide 21,000 Avios to book via British Airways on American Airlines or Alaska Airlines flights – 1,000 more than the necessary 20,000 to fly RT from DFW – SFO, IAH – LAX, ORD – SFO, AUS – SEA, etc. Avios prices awards based on the distance of each flight segment, so shorter flights without connections are going to result in the best deals on Avios. You can use Wandering Aramean’s handy calculator to determine how many Avios are required from your airport. If you have Membership Rewards, remember to factor in the 40% limited time bonus when transferring points.
From Houston it would require fewer Avios to position to LAX than SFO, since SFO would require a connection in Dallas on American Airlines, and thus 9,000 more Avios round trip. However, fares to Hawaii are a bit higher out of LAX than SFO. Since it is under 2,000 miles in distance, another option would be to fly Alaska Airlines on Avios from Houston to Seattle. It would also price at just 20,000 Avios round trip (15,000 Membership Rewards). From Seattle, you could then fly to Hawaii for just over $300. Don’t forget the Alaska Airways routes, especially since there are Hawaii fares around $300 from some Alaska Airlines cities like San Jose and Seattle. You will have to book Alaska Airlines flights using Avios over the phone with British Airways. Also keep in mind that if you decide to position yourself for a deal like this that you need to add in some buffer time in case your flights are delayed. Since you are on two different tickets, you could choose to spend a few days on the West Coast before heading on to Hawaii.
Potentially spending 15,000 Membership Reward points plus about $300 to spend time on both the West Cost and Hawaii (and earn elite and redeemable miles from the West Coast to Hawaii) is pretty enticing for those of us living in the middle of the country.