A free trip is the best way to travel to Hawaii.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Hawaii. In fact, I think the last time I was there was in 1996 when I spent several hours in the airport. It had probably been 7 or 8 years before that when I actually spent time in Hawaii.
But I’m back.
This week I’m spending the week in Hawaii with my wife and three kids.
Today, I’ll let you know how we managed to book free tickets for our family of five to Hawaii.
How to Add a Free Trip to Hawaii Next Time You Book International Award Travel
In today’s post, I’ll be using American Airlines as an example, but you can also do the same thing with United.
When you travel from the United States to another country or you travel to the United States from another country, Hawaii is categorized as the same region as all the rest of the United States. This allows you to add a stopover in or around your home city and make Hawaii your final destination at no extra charge.
Perhaps an example is the best way to illustrate this.
Back in May, our family traveled to Argentina. We flew from San Carlos De Bariloche to the States. We had some things we were going to do in Houston, and then we were going to fly up to Denver. We could have booked a flight from San Carlos – Buenos Aires – Dallas (stop over) – Denver.
However, without adding any extra mileage requirement, we could (and did) book San Carlos – Buenos Aires – Dallas (stopover for two months) – Hawaii.
It doesn’t matter if you fly to Denver or Hawaii because they are in the same region in terms of the number of miles required. Remember, if you are originating your travel outside of the US, you can fly to any part of the US with the same number of miles.
If you’re flying to Europe instead of flying back to your home, why not take a stopover in the closest gateway city, and then make Hawaii your final destination? Go home for a few months and get back to the gateway city, and you’ll have a free flight to Hawaii.
If your whole trip is within the US, then Hawaii is considered a separate region, and it will cost you to add on a Hawaii leg (which still isn’t a bad deal).
We did need to find our own way to Denver and then back to Dallas, but since you can fly for 9,000 Avois round trip between Denver and Dallas, it was not a hard choice to go to Hawaii.
Free trip to Hawaii Details to Note:
- On American, your stop must be in a US gateway city. Since we flew Buenos Aires to Dallas, that was our US gateway city. Our stop had to be there if we wanted to take one. If you are flying international through Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, or New York, that must be the place where you take your stop. United does not have the same restriction.
- You must complete your travel one year from your original booking dates. Your ‘layover’ cannot last for more than one year from the time you booked the tickets.
Since we were planning on traveling from the States to Quito, Equador, we just applied the same free Hawaii trip in reverse.
Flights from Denver to Quito require the same number of miles as a trip from Hawaii to Quito. So we just started our trip to Quito from Hawaii – with no extra miles required.
Thus, we’ve been able to add on a Hawaii stop with no extra miles (with the exception of getting from the gateway city home).
If you’re planning an overseas trip with either United or American miles, you might want to creatively think about how you can add at least a free one-way to Hawaii.