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We have known that Southwest is going to fly to Hawaii for more than six months, but we haven’t known the exact when’s or where’s of the situation. The full range of details is still forthcoming as the airline is still awaiting all of the proper certifications to operate those overwater routes, but you can continue your planning process now that we know where Southwest will operate within the Hawaiian Islands thanks to today’s announcement.
While Southwest plans to start with just one route from the West Coast to Hawaii, likely to kick-off in late 2018 or early 2019, they hope to then quickly ramp up to four Hawaiian destinations that will include:
- Honolulu (Oahu)
- Kahului (Maui)
- Lihue (Kauai)
- Kona (Big Island)
They have not announced the mainland airports that will operate these flights, though they will presumably be from some of their larger airports in California. I think it is great that they will be serving four different islands, instead of limiting service to just one or two different destinations. In today’s announcement, Southwest did not confirm or deny the rumors that they may operate inter-island flights between the islands at some point.
You will be able to use your Southwest Companion Passes on these new routes to Hawaii, effectively making Hawaii a buy one, get one free destination for pass holders. The sign-up bonuses from the Chase Southwest credit cards continue to count towards the 110,000 Rapid Rewards points you need to earn in a calendar year to trigger earning that valuable pass. However, Chase has made a recent change to which Southwest cards you obtain and hold at the same time.
The terms now indicate that you can’t receive a welcome bonus on a Southwest personal card while you still hold the other Southwest personal card. You also can’t have received a Southwest personal welcome bonus in the last 24 months. This means you can’t go for both the Southwest Rapid Rewards Plus and the Southwest Rapid Rewards Premier Card to use both bonuses towards earning a Companion Pass in a single year. However, the terms do still permit you to have a personal Southwest credit card and the small business card, so that is still a viable pathway to earning the Southwest Companion Pass a bit faster than normal.
Hawaii is a high priority for my own family as it is the spot of our big multi-generational family trip in 2019, so we may have a chance to try some Southwest Hawaiian hospitality out for ourselves once these routes take flight!
Are you also keeping a close eye on Southwest’s progress towards Hawaii? What do you think of these announced destinations?
Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.